Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer the “greenwashing” of the early 2000s. In fact, what was once considered an environmentally-fueled mandate has now become a socially-driven mission. Now more than ever, businesses are turning to CSR to make a positive impact on their bottom line. It turns out, the decision to do some good in our communities is actually a really good business decision too!
So, what is Corporate Social Responsibility? Simply put, CSR is the act of any business to effect social change with their beliefs, practices, or profits. This may take the shape of environmental stewardship, yes, but also charitable contributions, ethical labor practices, advocacy and awareness events, and volunteering. And while giving back is an important part of any community-oriented business, you might be asking: can we really make money on CSR? For this, let’s dig into three “Good To Know” facts:
1. People actually care about CSR.
A 2017 study by Cone Communications showed that 87 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they would purchase a product from a company that supported an issue they cared about. But the impact doesn’t stop there. A recent quote from Susan Cooney of Symantec Technologies explained how CSR has become a primary discussion topic for recruiting top talent. “The next generation of employees is seeking out employers that are focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and revenue.”
2. It’s not For-Profit vs. Non-Profit.
Too often, businesses think of CSR as a charitable “handout” from us (with money) to them (without money). But when CSR is done well, it yields a fruitful partnership focused on “The Four T’s”: both partners provide one another with invaluable Time and share their Talent via their own unique expertise; the for-profit partner is likely to share some financial Treasure, but benefits equally from the cause-marketed sales; and perhaps most importantly, both partners provide access to their valued Tribe, providing unparalleled access to followers, influencers, and change-agents.
3. CSR doesn’t have to cost a lot!
In fact, a lot of today’s best CSR campaigns are digital…meaning, cheap compared to other traditional marketing channels. Furthermore, these partnered activations bring your business message to a broader and incredibly networked audience. For example, by selecting the right partner (say, a local Tinnitus Association Foundation) a practice can benefit from highly targeted communications to an eReadership of hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective patients that are directly impacted by issues of hearing loss. And did we mention… 66 percent of consumers in a 2015 Nielsen study said they are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies!
The results are clear: a well-managed, sector-specific CSR program can yield differentiation that businesses cannot otherwise buy, producing short-term patient leads, as well as long-term revenue generation. If you’re interested in learning more about how your practice can build a corporate social responsibility strategy, reach out to a Fuel team member – we’re here to help you do some serious good with CSR this year!