Social responsibility is a huge part of marketing strategies today – consumers want to see that your company cares about what they do.
Issues like cancer, heart disease, gender equality, gender identity, environmentalism, poverty and starvation need continual attention so that the messages around awareness and support can stay relevant. Many companies use strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations to get involved with specific causes and bolster their brand identities. This mutually beneficial relationship is called “cause marketing,” and can increase engagement with employees and consumers, alike.
Before choosing a nonprofit organization to partner with or support, however, companies need to make sure their brands align with the selected nonprofits. Employees and consumers need to understand why a company values a specific cause easily. No one questions why brands like TOMS or Warby Parker donate shoes and glasses to people in need. Patagonia has made clear that environmentalism and sustainability are at the core of its brand, so it’s no surprise that the company supports cloth recycling.
If you’d like to develop your brand’s social responsibility strategy, start here.
Look to the industry. Start with what you know and look at what causes relate to your work. You might find that your company already has a relationship with a related cause. Candle makers may donate to fire safety groups. Construction groups may volunteer services to build homes for the needy. Every industry has at least one obvious way to give back.
Look to employees. Ask leadership and other employees what they’re passionate about. Find out what boards and organizations you already have team members involved in – many of your employees’ concerns probably overlap with the company’s core values.
Look to consumers. Consumers are always on top of hot-button issues. Get in touch with your target audience and find out what causes resonate with them. If you have a diverse client list, you could support several causes with different events or a rotating list of relevant organizations.
Regardless of where you find your inspiration for a social responsibility strategy, remember that authenticity and transparency are the most important. Consumers should be able to see what you care about, why you care about it and how it fits into your brand’s identity. Sincere efforts to support a cause that aligns with your brand can reinforce core values with good deeds.
Does your business practice social responsibility? Let us know in the comments.