As a business, it’s important that you lead with the best representation of yourself. Most commonly, this personal representation is encapsulated through your brand image. The way which your business presents itself to the market, your brand image is the easiest way for fellow clients and potential customers to suss you out. If they’re looking for a professional company, they want to see content and copywriting that is clean, precise, and formal; if you’re an artist who wants to show you have a punk attitude, you need to prove that to your audience through your art.
While brand image is important for any business, it is essential to the success of any corporate entity. Any enterprise business affiliate marketing strategy requires an easily identifiable brand image that can stand out from the crowd, allowing for a brand to be instantly recognizable.
For enterprise corporations, an essential that requires answering is “How do we develop and curate a brand image?” While there are numerous ways to create your brand image, there are a few foolproof ways which make it easy to fortify your brand to the common consumer. One such way is through the implementation of corporate social responsibility.
Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model that aims to self-regulate corporations such that they are held socially accountable. Rather than relying on government-mandated regulations, CSRs outline corporate rules and dictates that hold a company accountable toward itself, its stakeholders, and the general public.
Decisions made in the outline and creation of a CSR depend on the brand itself and their industry of business, but aspects will usually involve upholding and meeting characteristics of economic, environmental, and social mandates and expectations. The idea behind a CSR is that a corporation will engage in best practices, under the CSR ordinance, to ensure that they are positively engaging with the world around them, providing nothing but positive results—whether environmental or economic—rather than negative.
Why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Matters
Corporate social responsibility, as it is implemented from business to business, is a broad device that is meant to involve charitable actions that boost a corporation’s brand image. The way in which a company implements that CSR, whether through charitable drives or future environmental benchmarks, is varied, but it means ultimately working to provide a more humanistic perspective toward enterprise business.
A well-established CSR is as important for the company as it is for its consumers, as it helps boost inter-company cooperation, employee morale, and business-to-consumer relations. Consider a company like Starbucks, with a CSR program that is an example many other companies have followed, providing educational support to its employees, paying coffee farmers fair wages, and working to improve the green retail space from year to year. Not only is it beneficial for consumers, who now know they are buying from a responsible company, but it reflects positively on Starbucks itself—making it apparent that they are trying to better themselves and the world around them.
How Corporate Social Responsibilities Pay Off
While it should be said that CSRs should be normalized across industries, some companies are still wary of putting in time where there’s an unknown payoff—it is not apparent whether such time and money spent will be financially successful for them. For some cases, the results will be clear: they’ll garner headline news regarding their environmental efforts, they’ll boost employee morale by providing them with better financial support, they’ll use branding focused on their CSR efforts that can gain the attention of customers who might have been on the fence prior to converting.
But for companies and enterprise businesses still unsure of CSRs benefits, a recent report from IO Sustainability and Babson College’s Lewis Institute for Social Innovation noted that the creation of a CSR program has been found to have a positive impact on a company’s brand image and reputation—outcomes include an increase in market value, a reduction in staff turnover, and increases in price premiums. Ultimately, it could help your company save money.
Creating Your Own Corporate Social Responsibilities
First, follow best practices
Before you set out to create a CSR program, your company should begin by outlining best practices that can be implemented throughout the rest of your business. This includes planning how the rest of your company will work to ensure that things are streamlined before you begin diverting your attention to the creation of a CSR program.
Adopt a code of ethics
Once you have best business practices in place, it’s time to develop a code of ethics. This will outline your company’s ethics and values regarding employee conduct, customer service, company diversity, and environmental regulations.
Create a workplace health and safety program
Your employees are your business, and it should be apparent that you’re working to protect them at every corner. To improve employee safety, you should have clear, outlined health and safety programs implemented that improve employee protection, prevent workplace accidents, and comply with government regulations.
Set environmental protections and guidelines
Show your surrounding community that you care about the world you live in and are doing your best to protect it for both you and them. Bi-annual sustainability reports will let consumers, community members, government agencies, and fellow businesses know what environmental goals you are reaching for and meeting throughout the year, all while aligning with your CSR.
When crafting a CSR program, some companies will go about advertising or marketing their efforts through what is called “greenwashing,” a process that is intentionally manipulative by overstating what is being done internally. Remain authentic and true to your efforts. State what you’re doing honestly, avoiding overstatements. It might protect your company from potential backlash.
Keep It Simple
Corporate Social Responsibility programs don’t have to be overly complicated. When it comes down to it, it’s all about putting your best foot forward, working to improve the efficacy of your company while improving the world around you.
While it will have benefits for your company, you should consider implementing a CSR program more to improve the quality of life for your employees, consumers, community, and environment.