Sometimes ‘doing the right thing’ and speaking out on current social issues such as mental health and online bullying can mean businesses are socially responsible. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) allows businesses, big and small, to enact positive change. Choosing to address these topics and raise awareness can help businesses integrate with society rather than remaining silent and separate. Striving for positive change builds trust and respect with consumers.
Consumers want to ‘buy into’ an entire brand today, not just buy the products. They want to feel that companies are caring, are doing their part and are supportive of communities. We have put together some reasons why businesses should adopt socially responsible values today and how they can stand out by speaking out in their digital marketing.
Show what you stand for as a company: business values
All businesses need to have core values that they uphold in their day to day operation – the “fundamental beliefs upon which your business and its behaviour are based.” These shouldn’t be a list of generic ideals, but rather should be specific to your company and align with your company’s goals. And today, one of these values should always be related to social responsibility.
The younger generation: It’s cool to be kind
Businesses need to emerge from the dark ages of sales-focused messaging in which they remain silent in the midst of social crisis. Now more than ever, consumers want to interact with brands that are willing to speak out and make things happen rather than post the same old, same old marketing that focuses on achieving the next sale.
Socially responsible businesses are very important to millennials and Generation Z. Many of the issues today are relevant and close to the lives of the younger generation such as social media and mental health issues. Younger consumers strongly believe that companies should be invested in improving society and actively looking for solutions that will assist in those improvements. Otherwise, they ain’t worth paying attention to, full stop. This means that brands need to consider how they can get involved in making change, whether that be on a local, national or global scale. Marketing should reflect their thoughts and actions in the fight towards making a positive impact, so consumers can see the pro-social initiatives they are making.
As well as this, a lot of millennials are pro-active themselves and want to take part in initiatives, and this is a great way to interact and connect with them. Businesses should get behind a charity, do some good work and encourage others to participate in volunteer work and make donations.
Stay ‘in the know’: Ever-evolving social issues
Relevancy remains important in marketing today – you don’t want to seem outdated or behind the times. And what better way is there to stay relevant than to raise awareness of a current or trending social crisis? Having a say on important issues shows you are modern, human and evolving as a business.
…But make sure you know exactly what you’re talking about!
Remember, tread carefully when it comes to more delicate issues. It’s great to speak out and show a human side, but make sure you know exactly what you’re talking about. Some topics might be more sensitive, such as mental health awareness, and so the tone of voice and wording of your content needs to be more careful and sensitive to the subject, whilst also not translating as ill-informed, insincere or condescending.
A big step toward trust and community building
With the growing number of click-bait articles, ‘fake news’ and disingenuous online content, sincerity and kindness has never been more refreshing. Businesses can build strong and long-lasting relationships with consumers by working on trust. This could mean openly and directly joining and interacting with consumers and answering questions to encourage conversation on certain issues, for example the current #BeKind campaign. There is a consistent flow of conversation on social, and it might be worth joining in so that brands can show solidarity as part of a community who all share similar goals in making a positive difference.
Sometimes something simple is enough
Businesses don’t need to have a say on every single issue – that would be overcompensating. Instead, think about target customers and what matters to them, and the issues they might support. And this doesn’t mean making big statements constantly – whilst it is great to donate to charity (and businesses should consistently be doing so!), telling people on social media about it isn’t enough to prove you are socially responsible, as this tactic can become a bit see-through and lose its meaning. Something simple is enough sometimes – a short post on World Kindness Day, a blog on how to fight climate change or even teaming up with other local businesses to raise money or awareness for a charitable cause. Showing consumers that you can integrate your brand into the heart of a community is a great way to encourage them to pay attention to you.
Use your influence: Raise awareness & make change happen
Conversation on social issues is currently rife on social media. It may seem like a dangerous tactic to ‘pick sides’ and speak out, but consumers will appreciate and respect a business more for standing with what they think is right, than for staying silent and avoiding the real world. After all, how can businesses connect with those consumers that they wish to buy from them, if they do not stand with them as a real entity with real morals? As the saying goes, action speaks louder than words. Get out there, do something good and let your actions show your customers that you are a caring, considerate and socially responsible business that can use their influence for good and make positive change happen. Take a look at some great examples here.
Think about how adapting your strategy to reflect your business’ values is fundamental to the strength of your connection with consumers. Corporate social responsibility can take the form of relevancy, kindness, conversation and action – it is a big, valuable step forward in building trust and creating change.
If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.