In recent years, corporations have taken an increased interest in how their business activities affect society. Due to a range of influences, more organizations are practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR) – and boosting their bottom lines in the process. Some easy-to-recognize examples would be when major corporations team up with non-profits such as the NFL and American Cancer Society’s Crucial Catch program for early recognition of cancer, but CSR is generally a good move for businesses of any size. When a local restaurant sponsors a park clean up and brings buckets and gloves for everyone to use, the city gets cleaner and the restaurant gets its name on a few more signs and gets a community tip of the hat. A true win-win!
The Changing Tide: New Generations Driving Change
It’s no secret that the majority of Millennials and Gen Z (or “Post Millennials) are viewed by older generations as being more environmentally and socially involved than those prior. Whether the views are positive or negative is certainly up for debate, but statistics strongly back using CSR “stereotypes” to market to Generation Z & the elder Millennial generation, and from a business standpoint, this voice of the people must be objectively considered and successfully marketed to.
How Companies Practice Social Responsibility
The power of corporation-sized businesses is obvious, and to most seems inescapable. The younger generations took a logical step in taking some of the power back… use the corporations! Knowing that CSR could be a trend, and their peers would gravitate to companies with social involvement in line with their beliefs, became the model for “using” corporate power for the good of all.
One of the many obstacles is the fact that Millennials and Gen Z tend to spread their environmental and societal concerns around, so staying on top of trending issues, and getting involved in said issues, is very important for a successful CSR program.
Businesses must also recognize that Millennials and Gen Z aren’t just a nice chunk of consumers but also the largest generations in the U.S. labor force, according to a Pew Research Study. With that in mind, keeping the younger generation in charge of CSR marketing is a great way to ensure the topics of involvement are relevant. As a bonus, this breeds proud employees, and proud employees work harder!
Doing Your Part
As an employee, take note of your company’s CSR initiatives (or lack thereof) and see if you can share some ideas or even time if it’s something you’re very passionate about. As a consumer, “doing your part” is easy in the sense that you can choose where you spend your money.
If a company’s CSR initiatives align with your own, then let the almighty dollar speak! Executives certainly notice when similar companies are having more success (it’s their job), and if the masses are flocking to Company A and Company A is highly invested in corporate social responsibility, then it is sensible for them to follow “suit” and start pouring more of the marketing budget into CSR.
If you’re looking to help expand your company’s CSR program, taking small steps is a good way to avoid too much critiquing from naysayers. Starting with local programs such as the aforementioned park clean up is a safe bet for positive feedback. Annual giving programs are another measurable avenue for CSR impact. There is sure to be some common ground within a given company when it comes to charitable donations, and showing consumers that your company means well by society and the environment is the second most important thing, according to a recent CSR study. As with any marketing style, successful CSR strategies are learned, but with some practice and measurable results, CSR marketing is truly a win-win.