In a world where making the most money from your business seems to be the most important factor in your success, you may wonder why so many companies invest hours, energy, and dollars into “CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility”.
After all, those funds are not really helping your bottom line, or are they? Contrary to what your instincts might tell you, giving money to charitable foundations, sponsoring community incentives, and investing in a positive environment for your employees could actually help you make more money. A knee-jerk response to the question, “Why should my business invest in Corporate Social Responsibility,” is that it’s the right thing to do. A realistic look at the way our economy works will also tell you it’s a good business move.
The Eye of the Beholder
Contemporary business is centered so much on buyer perception that the term “reputation economy” is often used to describe the way many consumers make decisions today. This means that having a good reputation for interaction with the community, providing a fulfilling work environment, and giving back all impacts the way that a customer feels about using your company. It has been shown that most consumers look at the quality and performance of a business even more that they examine the product that they make when deciding where to buy. Consumers are impacted more by the reputation of a company than the product of their wares. This means that if you have been spending all of your ad dollars on convincing the world at large that your product is better than that of the competition, you might do well to invest some of that money into philanthropic work. It will likely have a greater impact on your public image.
Corporate Social Responsibility can benefit your company beyond raising public awareness for your good work. It can help you make a connection within your community and your industry. These types of connections can boost B2B lead generation, which is often more promising and lucrative than consumer leads alone. Working with other business on community projects or charity events is a good way to rub shoulders people who could boost your sales. Corporate Social Responsibility also helps you connect with your community on a genuine level. Sponsoring a yearly event or a health care research project makes your business a household name among those in your area, which cannot hurt.
Observe the Masters
Look at Fortune 500 lists and count how many successful companies also run successful Corporate Social Responsibility outfits. This is not just because they have loads of extra cash to spend–it’s because Corporate Social Responsibility can lead to business success. Google, for instance, provides its employees with one of the best work environments in the world. Sure, that makes top candidates want to work there, but it also contributes to the public perception that they are innovative thinkers who understand people’s needs and put them first, in spite of tradition and common practice–all of these elements help sell the Google product and brand as something that is intuitive, innovative, and people-centric. Microsoft donates vast sums of money to education, and this has helped the company align itself with important educational movements and campaigns. When people think of Microsoft and Bill Gates, they automatically think of education and philanthropy, both of which are positive.
Whether you are a small company or a rising star in the business arena, Corporate Social Responsibility should be on your agenda as a top concern. It helps customers establish a meaningful connection to your company, gets your name out, and associates your business with a positive image.