Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a dominant factor in the way companies operate. The question facing the number crunchers at a company is whether or not CSR has a tangible benefit for a business or is it just a PR exercise. The answer is probably a combination of both.
The moment a corporation steps outside of its sales mode to support a charitable organization or promote community friendly policies they are, in effect, strengthening their brand. There might not be the kind of immediate payback in sales that would occur after a TV ad or coupon drive, but these kinds of measures go a long way towards fostering that positive image that is so essential for a successful business. There are other factors to consider when developing a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy as it applies to a return on investment.
When a company goes “green” they are essentially adopting eco-friendly policies with regard to things like recycling and energy use. On the CSR front, that company can promote the use of those policies. What they’ll discover is that these environmental changes can have a direct impact on a company’s operating expenses. If they can lower energy costs then the bottom line is improved.
Strengthens brand awareness
Even a national company generating millions in sales can have a positive impact through their CSR campaigns on where it matters most: directly in the communities. This type of giving back can benefit a wide range of local organizations and clubs. It’s also an opportunity to cross promote that charity and a company’s products. For instance, a laundry detergent maker can sponsor a cleanup of a local beach or vacant lot. Along with providing supplies, the company could also hand out commemorative T-shirts and samples of their detergent. That would help a neighborhood and increase awareness of the product.
Boosts staff morale
If a company throws its corporate muscle into a good cause they have the ability to enlist their employees in that cause as well. This often translates into supplying volunteers for a particular event. During these events those same employees will benefit from bonding over the experience. This in turn can help with productivity. In other words, if an employee feels like they are working for a socially responsible company, they will go the extra mile to insure that company’s continued success. Recently it was reported that Microsoft employees have contributed over a billion dollars to the company’s charities. That’s certainly going to make those workers feel great!