Beyond CSR: Why Doing Good Is Good For Business

Mitchel White
January 7, 2019

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, but as consumers and employees demand more transparency are traditional CSR policies enough?

Big consumer brands have been using CSR driven advertising for a long time with varied success.

But how often do we actually believe the stories we’re told by these brands?

Is doing good just a way to generate PR?

Going beyond CSR for PR

We’re not saying CSR isn’t a good thing.

Far from it, CSR delivers a positive impact on key issues from sustainability to employee health but often these programmes are short lived and rarely deliver in the long term.

Why? CSR programmes often fail because of a lack of internal communication and buy in from employees.

So, what’s the answer? How can business make doing good more sustainable and long lasting?

Stand for something!

Consumers and potential employees can see through CSR initiatives that are little more than a way to get column inches.

At Reward we work with brands to identify the issues that employees, customers and other audiences are passionate about, then look at how we can embed these causes at the heart of the brand.

By finding the thing you stand for – something we call “Purpose Beyond Profit” – every decision you make is driven by that purpose. Marketing, hiring and buying decisions are driven by how closely they fit with your purpose.

Hiring is based on culture fit.

Marketing becomes effective because it speaks to your engaged audience.

Buying decisions aren’t just price driven, but made dependent on how well suppliers fit with your purpose and beliefs.

How is doing good good for business?

  • Attracting & retaining talent

Having a purpose beyond profit is a driver for attracting the best talent.

A survey by Deloitte found that 73% of employees that work at a purpose-driven company feel engaged.

As the workforce average age lowers this is even more vital with Millennials being more likely to choose their employer by how closely their values align with those of the company.

  • Loyal connected customers
55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to having a positive social and environmental impact.

Having a social cause at the heart of your brand builds a loyal customer base connected on a more emotional level, keeping them engaged and much less likely to shop elsewhere.

  • Innovation as part of your culture

2018 was littered with examples of businesses being lost to innovative technology and business. New entrants to markets are shaking up sectors at a quicker pace than ever seen before.

Innovation isn’t just a nice to have in 2019. It’s a necessity.

When you’re so closely connected with your audience they’re more likely to share their thoughts and feedback with you. The closer you are the easier it is to listen.

Listening to feedback is the easiest way to innovate and stay ahead of your competition by acting on that feedback in a continuous improvement cycle.

  • Sustainable growth

Investors love a brand with purpose.

Deborah Meaden is probably one of the best examples of an investor who invests in brands who marry with her outlook on business and sustainability.

Of course the business needs to be financially sound and attractive financially but investors are increasingly taking sustainability and ethics into consideration when making investment decisions.

By embedding a social mission at your core, you’re more likely to attract the funding your business needs to grow and thrive in the future.

Can you afford not to go beyond CSR?

It’s an exciting but challenging time to be starting or running a business.

Industries are being shaken up by new entrants and technology is bringing about change faster than most thought possible even 5 years ago.

Brands with a purpose beyond profit are finding it easier to attract the right talent, grow connected customer bases and unlock sustainable business growth.

They’re also more likely to be profitable.

Yes, really.

Can you afford not to embed a social cause in your business?

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