Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Marketing Corporate Social Responsibility

In the 21st century any marketing consultant can testify to the fact that social responsibility has become a necessity for medium to large sized firms and corporations. Whilst being socially responsible can be extremely beneficial to a company’s brand image a failure, or even perceived failure to be so is potentially catastrophic.

There a whole host of factors to corporate social responsibility, including sustainability, environmental considerations and corporate philanthropy and for a company to be seen as socially responsible each of these must be addressed. Moreover, each factor needs to be carefully marketed to create the double victory corporate social responsibility can allow.

First of all, and most importantly, a social responsibility policy must have its foundations in the core principles and beliefs of the company involved. This ensures the ethos spreads throughout the entirety of a business and is consistent between different departments and branches of a firm. Failure to do this can lead to a mismatch of practises between difference departments, causing truly responsible acts to come across as disingenuous.

On a similar note, a well marketed corporate social responsibility story is only as good as the actions and ventures that make it. The public quickly see through projects that are executed solely for the benefit of a company’s brand image or share price. In fact, a story with solely selfish intentions can quickly escalate into significant bad press.

The good news is, however, that by being genuinely green a company can expect an increase in popularity and even share price according to a number of studies in the US and USA.

Similar studies also show that by being transparent a company can also benefit both financially and in terms of reputation. By opening up to scrutiny a firm can address its shortcomings and easily allow the public, investors and media to examine their operations and corporate responsibility record.

Transparency and corporate responsibility story alone however will not do the trick. As any marketing consultant knows, the key to any business is marketing and corporate social responsibility is no different. A company should create a brand image that ties in their social responsibility with their day to day operations and ensure it is visible to as many audiences as possible.

For a company relatively new to social responsibility the road to achieving ‘nirvana’ can seem daunting. As is often the case however, becoming a champion in one or two aspects can be far more effective than attempting to master every facet of social responsibility. This is not to say that every factor of social responsibility should not be addressed, but that championing those close to the company’s core principles can be far more effective than spreading resources too thin.

Once this ‘champion’ status has been achieved there is no reason for a company to reinvest the rewards back into an expansion of the social responsibility policy and further philanthropic ventures.

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