The discussion of social responsibility has typically revolved around how big-business practices are ethically justified. Now the term has also come to describe how companies, big or small, are creating campaigns to support social causes. Read our six reasons below that explain why your business should start a social responsibility campaign right away!
1) Secure Tons of Financial Support
Whether you’re an individual or a small business, you have access to numerous foundations that can help fund your cause. Ashoka and The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship are two of many not-for-profit organizations that sponsor innovative and social-minded initiatives among private, philanthropic, and civil sectors.
2) Encourage Customer Loyalty
Customers may not care about your brand beyond the value they get from your service or product. Market your social responsibility campaign through social media, an interactive website, or set up campaigns that call for consumer opinions. That way you get customers to interact with your brand and with a cause that defines your company values. Check mate.com, an online background check service, supports Together We Bake, a nonprofit that helps previously incarcerated women develop professional and personal skills. While the company reduces criminal victimization by giving users access to public records, the organization helps previous criminals avoid reoffending, and strives to end the cycle of incarceration. The two serve very different communities with the same overall purpose. When customers know that part of their money has funded a worthy cause, they’re more likely to continue supporting your brand.
3) Expand Your Consumer Base
The extra press you’ll get from your publicity campaigns will help you reach a broader consumer base. Also, when you find something that hits home with your customers, they’ll spread the word to their social networks. Engaging your customers actually encourages them do the legwork.
4) Do Good
This one’s obvious. Your business should develop a social responsibility campaign because it’s, well, responsible. Since your company’s intention is to better your customers’ lives in some way, your brand should support a worthy cause that also improves lives.
5) Avoid Bad Publicity
Despite all the do-gooders of the business world, there are plenty of companies that need a campaign to do major damage control. In 2010, PepsiCo decided to divert what it would have spent on a Super Bowl ad to support community causes instead. Using a social media marketing campaign to solicit consumer ideas, the company donated $20 million to initiatives that garnered the most votes each month. PepsiCo also conveniently boosted product sales by giving people extra “Power Votes” if they purchased specially marked Pepsi beverages. The move was an ingenious publicity stunt, especially in light of New York’s proposed ban on large-sized sugary beverages. As their marketing officer so keenly noted, the Refresh Project is “putting the DNA of doing and feeling good at the core of a brand marketing effort.” Whatever the motive, at least PepsiCo could dish out some dollars to noble causes.
6) Inspire Creativity and Initiative
When Ford sponsored Mark Horvath’s cross-country drive to promote his “Invisible People” campaign, people took notice. Horvath wanted to publicize the plight of America’s homeless population and has since become an influential voice on the issue. Through Horvath’s media coverage, Ford garnered a positive public opinion and plenty of product exposure. Inspire your audience, and they’ll come up with creative ways to market your brand.
Look To A Greater Cause
You don’t have to be raking in millions to support a program you value. With some effort and creativity, you and your business can be supporting a cause that boosts more than company profits.
Alyssa Butler works for a women's health initiative in Scottsdale, Arizona. She likes to combine her interest in health, well-being, and social justice with supporting non-profits that have the same focus.