By Sharon Kreher & Barb Harris, principals of teamworks communication management
Corporate social responsibility isn’t a new concept. Many companies participate in charitable giving; some even do “cause marketing.” But do most do enough to let their customers know about their giving? Do they give their customers opportunities to join in supporting the chosen cause? Does their charitable giving program involve their employees? Are they getting enough “upside” to warrant maintaining or even expanding their giving?
Corporate giving, of course, starts with a donation to a worthwhile cause. But too many companies, large and small, fail to incorporate additional levels of participation that can directly impact their own bottom line. For example, companies can incorporate a local, regional or national communications campaign to interest existing customers in the cause and to attract new customers. Together, they can help the cause and be part of the change. PR events in markets around the country can direct customers to their stores, wherever they are located (think of the Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign). Sponsoring and promoting local charitable events, with appropriate PR support in traditional and social media, can play a vital role in attracting more customers and in making a further impact on the cause they support.
In a November 2011 article by Geoffrey Lean in The Telegraph, Sir Richard Branson was quoted talking about how he wants his companies to do more good. “If companies become a force for good, the people working for them will be that much more motivated and their brands will shine that much brighter amongst others.”
The same article also quotes a study by LeapCR, conducted across 10 of the world’s largest countries by GDP, which revealed that 93 percent of consumers say they would buy a product because of its association with a good cause.
At teamworks communication management we’ve noticed a definite trend toward smart and compassionate business and charitable partnerships that are a “win-win” for both parties. We’ve matched up new business ventures with charity partners for their grand openings; provided local market media support for national corporations and their chosen charities; and incorporated charitable components to retail store events and social media outreach. We believe that doing good is good business. Don’t be afraid to let your existing and potential customers know how your business is impacting the causes and communities they care about.