Corporate social responsibility header
Cheryl Johnson

Why is corporate social responsibility important?

Why is it so important for your corporation to add ethics and social responsibility into its core brand? The answer is simple: consumers prefer to spend money with businesses that stand for something. Beyond this, corporate social responsibility initiatives can also improve employee morale, engagement, and productivity.

According to Forbes, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues. Today's marketplace is crowded, and consumers have exposure to more options due to digital media. It's likely that whatever type of business you are in, you have competitors who offer comparable products or services. Therefore, it's more important than ever to compellingly answer the question: "Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors?"

Give yourself a powerful foundation to create an effective corporate social responsibility initiative. Learn:

  • Why corporate social responsibility is important

  • An example of a successful corporate social responsibility program

  • The importance of corporate social responsibility to consumers

  • How to start a corporate social responsibility program

Why is corporate social responsibility important?

This is not an entirely new concept. Corporations have long had internal foundations and social responsibility initiatives. Bring corporate social responsibility to the forefront of your brand communication to attract and retain today's more socially aware customer.

Trends are moving in the direction of a socially conscious marketplace. If consumers know that by choosing your company they will also contribute to a cause or need, they'll feel good about doing business with you. As Deloitte's recent study tells us, establishing an emotional connection is an essential part of gaining loyal customers. 60% of long-term customers surveyed used emotional language to describe why they like their favorite brands. At the end of the day, people remember how something made them feel. Make the feeling a positive one and gain a loyal customer for life.

The benefits of corporate social responsibility initiatives go beyond the consumer. NS8 VP of Communications Jim Holborow points out other practical and attractive benefits:

"CSR programs often play a significant role in bolstering a company's image and building its brand. They increase staff morale, contribute to employee retention, and drive productivity. Many workers want to align themselves with organizations that practice corporate social responsibility. NS8 started its philanthropy and career development program, NS8 Cares, in 2018. It's played an important role in attracting talent and supporting a diverse range of organizations and causes in the communities where we work. We have received excellent buy-in from all our employees, from C-Level on down."

Successful corporate social responsibility example

As Jim mentions, corporate social responsibility initiatives have a tremendous impact on employee morale and retention. Starbucks's retention rate is up to six times greater than other quick-serve restaurants, according to QSR Magazine. The company has always shown a dedication to its employees through its corporate social responsibility initiatives. These include employee benefits like healthcare, stock options, and compensation even for part-time employees.

Starbucks successfully establishes trust and loyalty through corporate ethics and corporate social responsibility. To show their commitment to the environment, their stores are green and provide fair trade coffee options. Starbucks made a commitment to consumers by making stores ADA accessible. They also adjust their prices based on consumer feedback and needs. By publicly committing to these issues and following through, the company "dominates the industry and has created a brand that is tantamount with loyalty, integrity and proven longevity. Starbucks is not just a name, but a culture" (MBA Knowledgebase, 2017). Starbucks actively listens to and follows through on consumer interest. By doing so, they've created a dedicated customer base, assuring longevity for the brand.

The importance of corporate social responsibility to consumers

According to Forbes, 87% of people polled would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity. People are looking for products that support a cause they care about. As trends shift toward corporate social responsibility, consumers expect it. Beyond their initial purchase, 88% of customers are more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues. Create loyal customers and brand advocates for life. Give your customers a reason to do business with you. Establish an emotional connection. A loyal customer will yield a higher value for your company over time.

How to start a corporate social responsibility program

Understanding the importance of corporate social responsibility is key. To get a head start, have a good plan and learn how others started similar programs. Jim Holborow, NS8 VP of Communications, says this of the best way to start a corporate social responsibility initiative:

"In today's progressively conscious business environment, it is easy to craft a meaningful community initiative. It usually boils down to basic matchmaking. If you can identify the resources that your company or team is best suited to offer, you can find one or more nonprofit organizations that can benefit from all that you have to give. In the case of NS8, we began our first few programs with a focus on volunteerism. Our startup was not quite financially mature enough to provide the large sum funding you might see from a more capitalized business. Then, we researched local organizations that aligned with our CSR strategy and quickly created a manageable list that fit our strong suit. Nonprofits are increasingly adept at crafting turn-key volunteer outings that are clearly defined and easy to schedule. Finally, we talked to our people - our staff, our peers, those who seemed most passionate about getting involved - to achieve consensus on which to do and which to do first."

Takeaways:

  • Why is corporate social responsibility important? Use corporate social responsibility initiatives to improve employee morale and retention. Showing your commitment to corporate social responsibility helps solidify customer trust, loyalty, and longevity.

  • How much do consumers really care about corporate social responsibility initiatives? Consumers care. Remember the numbers. 87% of people would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit. 88% of people will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues.

  • What is the best way to tackle starting a corporate social responsibility initiative in your company? Matchmaking is your friend. Think about the causes your company is best suited to help with. Reach out to nonprofit organizations that best align with your causes.

  • Who's doing it well? Starbucks is a great example of a company with a successful corporate social responsibility program. By publicly committing to the issues their consumers care about and following through, the company dominates the industry and has cultivated a loyal tribe of consumers.

About the author
Cheryl
Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl is a Content Marketer at NS8. She helps to direct the company's content marketing strategy, and works with the team to provide valuable and informative content.

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