Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been an important topic of conversation for the past few years, and a topic that brands and businesses have taken initiative to implement at the forefront of their mission. CSR, especially in today’s political climate, has leaped in significance, particularly, in B2B branding because of its heavy impact on B2C brands.
CSR has become vigorously incorporated in company missions because of the ease of available information from the Internet and news, which has impacted the way, mainly, Millennials make purchases. They are more likely to switch to a brand that supports a certain cause, and Gen Z will most likely be even more supportive of this idea. This may seem like a factor exclusively for B2C brands, but these B2C brands ensure that their whole supply chain is actively practicing CSR. In turn, CSR for B2B brands is exceptionally crucial. For example, Beka Communications, a wireless solutions provider, donated urban property to Fresh City to build and maintain a 4,000 square foot vegetable greenhouse for fresh locally grown vegetables. Beka’s CEO, John Marion, says, “Companies want companies with a great reputation. If I have a choice, I’d rather deal with a company that’s got a better report card on social responsibility.” This is a huge testament to the correlation of CSR to B2B branding.
Not only is CSR attracting other businesses but also potential employees. Potential hires, mostly Millennials, are now focusing on companies whom fit their desired work culture and work environment, and these Millennials particularly look at how these companies give back. Millennials will also undoubtedly become decision makers and are already influencers on social media. They are the pioneers of expressing their concern about issues via social media. So having these Millennials on your team showcasing your company’s CSR will benefit the branding indefinitely.
It is crucial to market CSR in an authentic and organic way. When it comes off as artificial it can back-fire and negatively affect branding because it seems like a desperate attempt for CSR attention. Like a brand on Facebook proclaiming, “Hey! Look, we’re helping the environment! Like us now!” Companies should also pick an issue or type of CSR that is special and distinguishing they can own for themselves. They should seek issues and change that can benefit their community and provide true impact to employees. If the brand’s passion for the CSR topic is at the forefront of their pursuit, branding will illuminate to other businesses resulting in success.
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