Corporate Social Responsibility: Part 2 Combining Marketing & CSR
Hey there Do-Gooders!
In part 2 of this 3 part series, we’re going to look at how doing good through your business, aka, corporate social responsibility, is great for your marketing. I want to look into this because a lot of people think doing good needs to be an extra step, when, in reality, you can be a lot more successful by combining marketing and corporate social responsibility.
Let’s start by getting something out of the way… We’re going to call Corporate Social Responsibility CSR. There are too many boring words in Corporate Social Responsibility that make your eyes glaze over. Corporate, social, and responsibility all sound like work. CSR sounds much more fun and easier to say (and type!). Now, back to business...
What are we trying to achieve through marketing? We’re trying to get people to notice us. We’re trying to stand out and tell people how we can help them. We’re trying to find the right people and share with those people why we’re valuable. That sounds good and noble and all, but what happens when every single business is trying to do this? Of course, people get overwhelmed at all of the messaging coming at them.
This is why CSR is so important. Because we’re all so overwhelmed with messaging, we’ve gotten really good at ignoring. Now messages have to be really stand out to catch our attention. One way to stand out is by resonating with people’s beliefs and values. What could be more special than hearing from someone who cares about the same causes as we do? It engages us. We, as a society, are becoming more aware of social issues and we like when we see business tackling these problems with us. That’s why including CSR in marketing can help you appeal to the right audience.
So what are some practical applications of this? Check out these four ways
There’s always nonprofits and other organizations who need sponsorships. This is nice for business because it’s easy. You write a check, the receiving group puts your name and logo on their materials, and it’s done. It’s easy.
Give a portion of sales benefit a special cause.
Many companies donate a portion of sales to certain organizations on specific days. This helps you do a donation and it helps bring sales into your store. Recipients help promote your business because the more sales you have, the more they benefit. You can also be strategic and use this approach to increase sales during your slower times. Many restaurants, for example, do this on Tuesdays because Tuesdays tend to be the slowest day in the restaurant industry. It’s a win for businesses and it’s a win for nonprofits
Host an event to benefit a cause.
This is great because not only are you inviting people to something, which can improve your relationships, you’re also creating opportunities for media to step in and share your event. I had a lot of success with this a few years back promoting a new program we had incorporated. This program helped people with dementia, through music, and there’s a great documentary about it. We did screening of the documentary and the profits were donated to two local nonprofits who serve seniors so they could start the program at their places of business. I see lots of other companies doing this with things like dinners and golf tournaments.
Do something creative.
Find a creative way to give back to your favorite organization and really get people’s attention. When you get creative, media companies start getting involved and are interested in sharing what you’re doing, which helps you simultaneously reach more people and spread the message of the organization you care about. One of my favorite projects I worked on was creating a calendar to benefit the local organization who runs Meals on Wheels. I was working with seniors and we partnered with the local police department to create a cute and funny calendar featuring seniors and police officers. We were able to raise money for Meals on Wheels, demonstrate goodwill and gratitude for our local police officers, and our seniors were featured on several local news stations talking about their starring role in the calendar. It was a win for the nonprofit, a win for the police department, it was a win for our seniors who felt like stars, and it was a win for us.
Okay Do-Gooders, these are four examples of ways you can use CSR for marketing. Traditionally in marketing, we pay for ad space, we pay to schmooze for sales, we pay for lead generation. With CSR marketing, instead of paying for these things you’re using your marketing budget to promote the good work of others in your community.
I’ve been able to help so many people by using CSR for marketing and I’ve created really strong relationships with our audience. So don’t be afraid of this tactic! When your genuine desire is to help people, and you have a business that creates more good in the world, the more people you can reach the better.
So keep doing good and putting more good into the world, Do-Gooders!
I’ll see you next week with the third and final post about CSR and to get more into how CSR can improve your engagement.