Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and cause marketing initiatives have become the new way of doing business and one of the most powerful and effective growth strategies companies can engage and implement. Cause marketing and CSR initiatives have many benefits for companies that range across a spectrum that surprises most executives once they take the time to do the research. Benefits such as improved employee morale, increased customer loyalty, attracting top talent, creating powerful strategic partnerships and generating viral content that engages passionate followers and new customers. Ultimately if done properly, businesses can come together to become one of the most influential sources of change for good in the world while supporting their communities, improving workplace culture and growing their business.
Before a company commits to creating CSR strategies and partnerships they must ask themselves a few questions and understand that the main ingredient for success is to establish authenticity. Today’s informed, socially conscious consumers know the difference between a brand that is passionate and sincerely committed to a cause and a brand that is not. Studies have proven over 80% of consumers will choose the brand that supports a cause for good when presented with a choice. CSR and giving have become the new way for doing business.
Time + Commitment = Authenticity
Ideas for social initiatives, strategic cause partnerships and giving can come from anyone or anywhere in the business, but ultimately the commitment must be from the top down in order to be authentic and effective. In order for authenticity to be established throughout a company and its brand it needs to come from the leadership. A strategy that aligns best with the businesses current objectives needs to be created and implemented effectively making it part of the fabric and culture of the company. Once commitment from leadership is established a strategy to engage the entire company and the public can be developed, implemented and shared.
There are multiple approaches, strategies and technologies that are available to engage the entire company, public and create awareness. Businesses and charities are like people in the sense that they all have their own unique personalities and cultures. Each CSR and cause marketing strategy needs to be highly unique and if done properly will energize a business and create a sense of meaning and community for employees and customers. Companies like Givngo.io help guide CSR initiatives, businesses and teams along this path to ensure the best strategic synergies are combined with the most effective technology and campaign strategies.
Authenticity creates loyalty across multiple channels. Loyalty from your customers, employees, partners, charities, causes, the press and future generations of new consumers. Your cause marketing strategy needs to be more than just one campaign over one quarter, companies need to dig deep. Companies need to build giving and the support of causes into their brand, culture, technology and operations in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and maximize the full effects of cause marketing. This is how companies will win new generations of passionate socially conscious caring consumers. In order to ask for loyalty companies must first become authentic.
So how does a company establish authentic CSR initiatives and cause marketing campaigns? What is authenticity? How is authenticity implemented and displayed? How is it measured?
Authenticity is determined by asking yourself what are my intentions and expected outcome from taking this action. Leaders must genuinely care about affecting change for good in the world, workplace and community. You can not fake passion and without true caring and dedication you will not be able to sustain the challenges along the path to true authenticity. There are 2 key questions business leaders must ask themselves in order to commit and ensure authenticity.
Q1. Will my company’s alignment with this cause or charity have a measurable positive impact for my business ?
Q2. Will my company’s alignment with this cause or charity have a measurable positive impact for this charity or cause ?
If your answers to both of these questions are yes then you are on the path to becoming authentic. It is important to remember that you ask these questions first or you will just be donating to a cause which is philanthropy and not authentic CSR and cause marketing initiatives. In order for cause marketing and CSR partnerships to have long term success and become authentic it must be beneficial for both parties, an old school win-win.
Catching the right trend at the right time can change the trajectory of a company, campaign or cause. Obviously it would have been a great idea to have integrated your brand and business with support of the environment and climate change initiatives years ago. Knowing that authenticity increases with time, it is never too late to start giving which is why the best time to start is always now. Companies must demonstrate a sincere commitment over the long term. As the ancient Chinese proverb says “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Effective cause marketing begins with finding the cause or charity that best aligns with your company’s brand, culture, industry, services and or products. It is a good idea to engage with established professionals from the charity, CSR and giving technology communities that have relationships and insights with multiple organizations and understand how to integrate caring in companies. CSR professionals will help your company align with one or more charities or causes that will strategically engage with your company’s mission and create enthusiasm. CSR and cause marketing professionals will also help you develop and implement strategies and campaigns that integrate giving into your business, brand and culture making your company a CSR leader and community supporter.
The cause or charity you support needs to make sense to the public, customers and employees or it will be met with a certain degree of skepticism. Finding a cause or charity that can engage in a meaningful way while creating campaigns that reach the right audience takes investment, resources and time. The effort is worth it and now is the time to start giving.
Givngo.io is a team of CSR, charity, cause marketing and giving technology experts that provide solutions for charities and businesses. Givngo.io works with charities and businesses ranging from startups and community charities to some of the worlds largest and best known brands. Ginvgo.io is based in Toronto, Canada. If you are an hr professional or want to help implement CSR and employee engagement initiatives at your company reach out to a givngo CSR specialist today.