In this area of globalization, the world of business is getting smaller. And that means that the global marketplace is more competitive than ever. To survive, business leaders must keep pace with the rapid pace of market change.
One of the most important aspects of this is the ability to define and respond to ever-evolving customer needs and expectations.
And in today’s market, it is, increasingly, the demand for corporate social responsibility that is significantly shaping consumer behavior. But what, exactly, is the connection between consumers and corporate social responsibility?
Why It Matters
Once upon a time, the relationship between most businesses and their target customers was largely transactional. Businesses offered good products and services at reasonable prices and that was sufficient to attract and retain customers.
Nowadays, however, consumers want more from the businesses they support. In particular, they want to be able to feel good about the purchases they make. They want to put their hard-earned money toward organizations whose values they feel align with their own.
Indeed, studies show that 77% of consumers state that they are more likely to buy from companies that they believe are working to make the world a better place. And that consideration is even more important for younger consumers, with 94% of Gen Zers looking to support businesses engaged in socially and environmentally responsible practices.
Despite the intense consumer demand for social responsibility in the marketplace, devising strategies for incorporating it into your business may seem like a formidable, perhaps even an impossible, task. After all, margins are often thin and the market remains quite volatile.
But there are ways that you can build your socially responsible brand without jeopardizing the bottom line. For instance, partnering with non-profits will enable you to expand your market reach, increase brand recognition, and support a positive brand identity. And each of those elements is a powerful driver of both sales and consumer loyalty.
When you partner with a non-profit, however, it’s imperative to assess the organization’s accounting practices. Ideally, the non-profit will employ a highly trained accountant, such as a Master’s degree holder.
Such advanced accreditation is often a prerequisite for success when providing accounting services for non-profits, as the standards, processes, and regulations relating to charitable organizations differ widely from those in for-profit enterprises.
Without the ethical and skilled practice of trained professionals, errors may be made and fraudulent activity may go undetected. And that can spell disaster not only for the non-profit but also for your company through its affiliations with the charity.
When you think of corporate social responsibility, one of the first things that will likely come to mind is the donation of a portion of your company’s proceeds to a charity of your choice or that of your target consumer.
But the reality is that there are many ways to be socially responsible n your business, including a myriad of opportunities to support the non-profits that are meaningful to your company and your customer.
For instance, rather than making a financial commitment to the charity, consider donating some of your company time. You and your employees might volunteer to work a designated number of hours per month at a local non-profit, at local charity events, or even in serving the community, from planting trees to picking up debris to serving food at a local soup kitchen.
You can also lend some of your business skills to your chosen charity. For instance, non-profits can sometimes struggle with important functions such as social media marketing. After all, this is a highly specialized role that can also often be quite labor- and time-intensive. Many non-profits may struggle to find the financial and human resources to maintain an effective social media marketing presence.
And this is where your company comes in, because you can easily tie your social media marketing with those of your chosen charity. This will align your brands, expand your outreach, and enable you to build your socially responsible cred through social media, where those all-important Gen Z’ers are most likely to be found!
The business world is perhaps more competitive than it has ever been. Today’s entrepreneurs must not only contend with rivals the next street over, but they must also differentiate themselves from a host of competitors who may be half a world or more away.
One of the most important tools for attracting consumers, though, is by cultivating a socially responsible business ethos.
Consumers are increasingly looking to put their money where their heart is and may well refuse to do business with companies whose values they feel conflict with their own.
The good news is that building a socially responsible brand does not have to be difficult. By partnering with reputable non-profits, you can grow your customer base and feel great about yourself and your company while you do it!