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Corporate Social Responsibility Drives a Booming Business

How Corporate Social Responsibility has began to shape a company's image


By: Jordyn Johnson



A diagram showing the benefits of corporate social responsibility
A visual representation of aspects of corporate social responsibility

There should always be more to an organization than what meets the eye of the consumer. When we address the relations between the company and the public, there are foundational codes of ethics that have shaped how PR teams strategically work together to achieve goals and build the company's relationship with the public. We always hear of companies starting new and innovative initiatives, working through crises and interacting with its publics. However, one foundational aspect has always been lacking. The sense of corporate social responsibility within an organization is one of the most avoided aspects of a company because of the fact that it is one of the most telling. The world is only growing more demanding of leading companies, asking them to stand for and speak for something bigger than themselves. To me, it's a company's responsibility to communicate and be transparent with its publics about its ethical foundations, showing them how its CSR shapes its message and what it stands for.



The Meaning


Corporate social responsibility has to do with the acts an organization takes in order to contribute to social, environmental and other forms of change not involved within its primary product or sales. In order for a company to be operating as a socially responsible organization it's are actively participating and speaking out for social justice, environmental justice, social changes and any relevant subjects that have challenged ethical codes. The point of being socially responsible spans from the idea that a company cares for more than making a profit off of its consumers or growing personally. Incorporating this aspect can benefit a company in many ways if done genuinely and displayed accurately. The following are ways corporate social responsibility can contribute to a brand's success, including:

  • Established trustworthiness between the company and public

  • Positive impact displayed on behalf of the organization

  • Boosts in company engagement

  • Increased profit for the company

By creating a socially responsible environment within your company, you are bound to drive all of these effects and become foundationally fruitful. Overall, it's easier to communicate with your consumer and connect with them in ways other companies can’t when you're understanding more than what concerns your personal mission.




A chart illustrating the CSR initiatives of popular clothing company Patagonia
A chart illustrating the CSR initiatives of popular clothing company, Patagonia

Implementation Leads to Evolution


Today, corporate social responsibility and ethics within a company are two of the key things that can make or break its success. Especially with this generation of millennials and Gen Z individuals leading change, they are drawn to companies that are speaking up for what they view to be important. A company can start by assessing how the goals or values it promotes can correlate to a relevant cause. By aligning a mission you have already established within the company with a relevant topic related to social, environmental or economic change you are not putting too much on the plate of the company.


Choosing one topic to actively advocate for displays a genuine sense of care for the issue at hand. As a PR team, you have to start small instead of diving head first into a sea of change if you want to create impact within your community. That leads to the next evolutionary step to becoming socially responsible, a CSR team. Creating a team outside of your primary PR team is essential to the incorporation of corporate social responsibility within an organization. The team should be tasked with brainstorming tactics that will be implemented in order to support the issue the company is advocating for. By doing this, you establish positive initiatives and actions that show your contribution to the change you speak of.



The Point of CSR


The point of a CSR-focused PR team is not only to establish the steps the brand will take to remain socially responsible, but also to promote how the brand is doing so. A number of the present issues being discussed in the media are displayed on social media. The role of the PR team should also be to positively promote the good deeds the organization has carried out as it relates to their social responsibilities.


One example of good CSR is by the clothing brand, Patagonia, due to its proactive involvement in environmental issues. The brand display calls of action directly on their website and actively work towards environmental change. More specifically it's an advocate for grassroots environmental efforts and donate 1% of all sales to environmental organizations.


Ben and Jerrys is another organization effectively practicing CSR initiatives. One of its primary campaigns is the 1% for Peace campaign founded in 1988. The brand launched ‘peace pops’ in attempts to raise money to fund peace promotion activities for the national defense budget. It openly advocates for this social issue, constantly contributing CSR in an innovative way. "Certainly not everybody agreed with the stand Ben and Jerry's was taking," Greenfield said in an interview with Business Insider, "but even people who didn't agree with it respected the idea that the business was looking out for the common good."


Samsung also had an interesting CSR campaign that demonstrated its commitment to CSR called, "Bringing light to Ethiopia." This campaign involved Samsung partnering with Korea International Volunteer Organization to bring solar powered lanterns to areas where electricity is scarce. These efforts can be found directly through all of its social media platforms as they actively post initiatives it has successfully carried out and plan to introduce to its audience.


Some of the most successful brands today have gained exposure from partaking in corporate social responsibility. This is not to say that doing this tactic should solely be used to gain exposure though, because if not done authentically and genuinely, your audience will see straight through you. Today's issues are quickly turning into tomorrow's movements, and it is important for brands to hop on board unless they want to be pushed to the sidelines.



About the Author

Jordyn Johnson is an up and coming public relations student in Denton, Tx. Jordyn is currently studying journalism, with a focus in Public Relations at the University of North Texas. She is working to obtain her Bachelors degree in Public Relations with a minor in sociology.







Sources:

https://www.prweek.com/article/1712523/six-comms-trends-mena-region-grew-significance-during-covid-19/

https://growensemble.com/socially-responsible-companies/

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4679-corporate-social-responsibility.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/basecamp-tech-ben-and-jerrys-cofounders-corporate-activism2021-5

https://prowly.com/magazine/pr-trends/#csr

https://www.socialmediabutterflyblog.com/2020/12/an-important-trend-to-incorporate-in-your-2021-marketing-efforts-being-socially-conscious

https://onlineprograms.sacredheart.edu/resources/article/benefits-corporate-social-responsibility-pr