“Research indicates that 50% of consumers, surveyed worldwide, would be willing to pay more for goods and services from socially responsible companies. Customers reward companies that include authenticity, inclusiveness, kindness in everything from company culture to marketing campaigns,” – Bobby Jones
Modern customers represent an enlightened constituency, one that wields enormous power in modern markets in terms of decision making that directly impacts corporate bottom lines. These customers are informed and aware of the latest trends and offerings; therefore, brands and businesses must be socially responsible in terms of their choices and actions. Corporate captains and business managers should be sensitised to such trends because what is good for the natural environment is good for customers. These facts should be used to inform corporate social responsibility paradigms because this approach to conducting business can help commercial entities to win customer appreciation and to boost business margins and annual profits.
Companies can choose to be socially responsible by initiating a number of actions that boost their commercial appeal in competitive markets. We may state that this is the equivalent of the ‘soft power’ that accrues genuine gains to nation states in the realm of international diplomacy and geopolitics. For instance, a paper manufacturer can plan and execute actions that replenish the natural environment by planting trees and vegetation. The primary raw material for a paper manufacturer emanates from wood pulp, which is extracted from the wood that grows on mature trees. This technique of extracting raw materials systematically depletes the natural environment. Therefore, planting fresh saplings can ameliorate the deleterious effects of harvesting wood from natural forests. The socially responsible act of planting new trees in a sustained manner is likely to win the company mass appreciation and new customers. That said, we must note that the said manufacturer must spotlight its systematic efforts through marketing campaigns in order to raise public awareness about the need to preserve the natural environment.
Reviving traditional arts and crafts can form the heart of a business strategy designed to boost the socially responsible credentials of a corporate organisation. This approach to doing business may help companies to gain a wide following among customers that prize philanthropy. Ethically conscious start-ups and companies can choose to promote a traditional craft in order to create a niche among business competitors. We note that many traditional arts and crafts are on the verge of extinction owing to a paucity of funds and a manifest lack of interest from governments. Therefore, a business can create products that highlight such crafts and build in the traditional techniques into its modern products. Business processes can be put in place wherein, traditional craftsmen can be invited to partner with a business and use their unique skills to design new products. A certain percentage of sales can be donated to socially responsible causes. We note that this strategy may invite wide acclaim and may help to focus public attention on new methods to practice corporate social responsibility.
The creation of jobs for local communities and building medical infrastructure can be viewed as bona fide socially responsible actions on the part of corporate enterprises. For instance, a prized local product can be sourced from certain regions for further processing and incorporation into beauty products that enjoy steady worldwide demand. The corporate organisation that drives this value chain can choose to invest in local communities in the region in order to build infrastructure that boosts earnings and complements local lifestyles. Over time, such efforts will likely create an outsize but beneficial impact on local communities. The company should share these outcomes with all stakeholders and its customers in order to portray itself as a sensitive member of the global corporate fraternity. These actions will likely attract legions of new customers thereby enabling the company to expand the scope and remit of its business operations.
Climate change is a significant topic that attracts global interest in these modern times. Any brand or business can work to offset the damages by incorporating certain mechanisms into its business processes. For instance, an enterprise can set for itself a goal to power its operations purely with renewable energy within a certain time frame. This strategy essentially highlights its socially responsible credentials and gains momentum when the said firm sources a portion of its power requirements from community-supported wind farms. The firm pays the community for the clean energy and these payments can be utilised to power local community initiatives that benefit society at large. These actions serve to fulfil a part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility benchmarks, while creating emphatic benefits for the said community. The likely outcomes of such socially responsible actions can be an enhanced brand presence, an expansion of the customer base of the business enterprise, and a smaller carbon footprint generated by its business operations.
Environmentally friendly consumers represent a growing customer segment in modern markets. In response, brands and businesses can adopt novel approaches to woo the said customer segment. For instance, a grocery business can choose to be socially responsible by handing out carry bags woven from natural fibres, such as jute and cotton. The business investment should be negligible but the eco-friendly image generated by such actions can create a disproportionate impact on brand reputation and business profits. In a similar vein, a commercial transportation service can leverage the use of eco-friendly fuels in a bid to impress its clientele and reduce the carbon footprint of the business. Certain businesses can choose to donate a percentage of their annual profits to charity as part of their CSR activities designed to boost the business image. All the actions outlined above can boost customer confidence in a business enterprise and expand the customer base, while reducing the impact of business operations on the natural environment.
A socially responsible company should enthuse its workers and staff members to actively participate in brand building exercises. To achieve this end, corporate managers may consider encouraging staff members to offer volunteer services for a range of activities. These activities may include volunteering at education centres that work with underprivileged children or working in community kitchens that feed the less privileged and marginalised members of society. The intent behind such actions lies in fulfilling certain aspects of corporate social responsibility programs, as also in creating mind sets that encourage socially responsible behaviour. We must note that the net outcomes of such activities will boost brand reputations, attract additional customers to a business enterprise, and the on-going achievement of socially equitable outcomes.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that can enable brands and businesses to attract customers through socially responsible agendas for action. We must bear in mind that a single minded pursuit of the profit motive may prove detrimental to commercial outcomes in modern times. Therefore, businesses should work to attract customers by demonstrating their intent to give back to society and to preserve the natural environment. These actions can be varied in their scope and intent but outcomes will generally include impressed stakeholders that will vouch for the veracity and bona fide intent of a business enterprise. Senior management personnel should invest their time and effort to seek additional avenues to fulfil a socially responsible business agenda in the wider interests of sustaining a brand or a business into the future.