CSR: A Trend You Can’t Afford Not to Follow

Think you can’t afford to increase your philanthropic involvement and cause marketing?  Maybe you can’t afford not to.  Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is more than just a feel-good trend: it’s a smart business tool, as well.

According to a 2010 study by the Kenexa Research Institute, employees who see their company investing in a successful CSR campaign are over  three times more likely to positively rate their pride in the organization, willingness to recommend it as a place to work, and overall satisfaction. Since it is these inside stakeholders who can truly create a company that flourishes, a successful CSR campaign will pay for itself in terms of increased productivity, retention, and a positive corporate culture.

It’s not just your sales team who want you to do good.  Customers also want to know you are looking at more than profits when you do business!  In fact, according to the 2012 Goodpurpose Study by Edelman Inc., 87% of consumers expect companies to give the interests of society equal weight to business concerns. And they will put their money behind that belief: 73% of consumers are willing to switch from one brand to another brand that is about the same in price and quality, if the other brand is associated with a good cause.  Furthermore, 71% are willing to promote a brand associated with a cause they support, and 72% will recommend that brand to others.

Cause marketing is how you let consumers know about the good work you are doing. It’s important to realize that cause marketing has two distinct parts: supporting a cause, and educating your potential customers about your efforts.  Your company may already be supporting a cause, but unless you are advertising that support, consumers are unlikely to know about it. When you use your marketing dollars to highlight your patronage of a cause, you aren’t just tooting your own horn.  You are also raising awareness of the cause itself, which is another great way to support it.