It is important that executive leaders and the marketing department determine an organization’s internal culture on social responsibility. This will in turn help to guide decisions and resources regarding external projects. Businesses should strive to make serious commitments to charities and social projects that align with company culture, rather than simply trying to preserve a good reputation. Consistency is important when it comes to these commitments.
Social Programs within a company correlate with increase productivity of employees and increased satisfaction for customers. They also help in attracting and retaining talented recruits. These factors all affect the company’s bottom line at the end of the year.
The financial crisis of 2009 ultimately ended up putting pressure on companies to more clearly identify and represent the core values of the organization. No longer could a business gain commercial benefit from low-hanging fruit strategies, like the reduction of their carbon footprint. Different departments within organizations must realize that strategies need to be customer-centric to be truly effective.
This means that market research and focus group will only continue to gain importance in determining what programs to pursue. Also, while some of these programs may be viable and provide value, others will not. Local businesses can partner with one of the Chicago Charities, like Gateway Green to sponsor a greening project.
In any case, it is crucial that marketing be involved in all discussion and decisions regarding social responsibility. The Marketing Department has the skills and understanding to promote effective campaigns and best measure ROI. These campaigns will also give the Marketing a powerful way to differentiate products/services from competitors and strengthen the image of the brand. Barriers to entry are low for businesses looking increase brand awareness through social responsibility.
By Joe Bongiovanni