CSR, or corporate social responsibility, is critical for businesses today. With the advent of the internet, customers want to support brands whose beliefs align with their own. However, businesses also benefit greatly from giving back. A strong CSR programme pays huge dividends by improving a brand’s reputation- “strong” is the keyword here! Incorporate these 5 approaches to strengthen your brand’s reputation through CSR:
Build a team that supports the dream.
It’s no secret that an organisation should be made up of individuals that align with a company’s values, vision and strategic direction. The same is true for CSR. To build a socially responsible company, start with the people you hire and partner with. Ensure your company is equipped with the types of people and skills who will make your CSR programme tick.
Start at home.
Much like the saying “charity begins at home”, look in your own backyard first. Your brand’s areas of improvement provide low hanging fruit for CSR. For example, what are some of the ways your brand is impacting people or the environment in neutral or even negative ways? What are you doing about your own labour practices, gender equality or the community around you? How do you manage your own emissions or waste?
Engage your stakeholders.
Every stakeholder your brand has, has unique needs and challenges. What can your brand do to alleviate some of their pain points? Implementing a CSR programme that impacts and benefits your stakeholders strengthens relationships and partnerships, creates new opportunities and improves your reputation.
Look to your branding.
Your branding says who you are, and your CSR should align with that. For instance, what does your positioning say your brand stands for, and how can you apply that to your CSR strategy? Who does your brand serve and what matters to you? Remember, there is no credibility without authenticity. Your CSR activities should feel like your brand. The strongest approach is one that is supported by who the brand says it is. Don’t be afraid to stick to a lane, instead of trying to be everything to everyone.
Be as strategic about CSR as you are about your revenue.
CSR is not a haphazard effort; it is strategic. The idea isn’t to donate to your boss’ child’s school or an organisation your CEO participates in a hobby with and call it a day. After assessing what makes sense for the brand, plan ahead. Create schedules and allocate resources- including people, time and budget. Monitor the impact your programme is making and get feedback from those you have worked with and for. Create the right partnerships that create growth and ensure sustainability. Credible CSR is more than a photo opportunity or courting the media.
Stephanie Taderera is a Content Executive at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. To learn more about how we can help your brand’s reputation, contact us today.