Tue, September 06, 2022
Our image and how others perceive us is something many of us think about. Whilst some may say this doesn’t play on their minds day-to-day, others are actively looking at ways to improve a positive image and make changes. For brands, image has always been important and the link between brand reputation and revenue will always be close. However, whilst profits have historically been the main driver for many companies, social responsibility is becoming evermore crucial.
How a brand fits into wider society is extremely important for its long-term success and impacts perceptions from both its customers and employees. So, what should a brand be doing in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), what initiatives are there, and what are the benefits of CSR when approached effectively?
With a focus on having a positive influence on the wider world, CSR refers to the bigger picture a brand finds itself in. Rather than focusing solely on revenue and their own success, it helps to align best practices and policies that impact different aspects of social responsibility. In essence, a company’s approach and attitude to CSR has an impact on its brand image and reputation.
Those with clear business ethics and social responsibility awareness are able to give back to society more effectively. Showing their peers, customers, and employees that they are aware of their role on the global stage and are actively contributing to wider society. This is something all organisations whether large corporate players or SMEs should actively implement and believe in.
The social responsibility of businesses is a hot topic and one that is not just actively in the minds of their consumers, but also their employees. An employee survey showed 91% felt their company’s purpose has made them feel they were in the right place during the pandemic and ongoing global economic uncertainties. This shows that many companies are managing the balance between CSR and brand values well despite a challenging last few years.
With 77% of consumers motivated to purchase from companies that are committed to making the world a better place organisations that fail to develop a plan for CSR that resonates with their customers risk loss of revenue and loyalty.
There are four main types of social responsibility that are well established, helping guide organisations to fulfil their CSR:
Environmental – being as environmentally friendly as possible drives companies to seek to reduce pollution, our reliance on fossil fuels, funding renewable energy projects and offsetting their carbon footprint.
Ethical – the way a company operates in terms of ethical practices, ensuring they conduct their business in a fair and ethical approach. They should embrace ethical responsibility from where they source materials for products, ensuring no modern-day slavery or child labour is involved in processes, that pay is fair and they work to free trade standards.
Economic – ensuring all decisions made in terms of finances are done so in commitment to CSR, helping to positively impact society, the environment and both their employees’ and customers’ wellbeing. This should be rather than prioritising and maximising profits over everything else.
Philanthropic – how active businesses are in helping to change the world in a positive way, making society better and using profits to help charities or non-profit organisations, not just the pockets of shareholders.
Here at Ventrica, one initiative we are extremely passionate about is Treedom, whose mission aligns with our own values on social and environmental responsibility. Their idea and message is simple; let’s green the planet.
Treedom helps organisations to plant a tree from wherever in the world they are and follow its journey. They have helped plant more than 3 million trees since they were founded in 2010 in locations across the globe from South America to Africa. Each tree has a story that can be followed online, right from the day it is planted, and you can choose from diverse species such as Cacao to Avocado. You can actively see how your donated tree is making a difference within agroforestry projects that Treedom funds, and help contribute to the social and economic benefits of rural communities.
“We are delighted to announce that we have planted over 100 trees and our colleagues have given us excellent feedback,” said Jo Regan Iles, Ventrica’s Chief People Officer. “Everyone is enjoying watching their tree grow. Not only are we proud to be supporting the growth of our colleagues but to be making a positive impact on our environment.”
Ventrica CEO, Iain Banks, commented: “I am absolutely delighted with our partnership with Treedom. As a growing, people first organisation, it is part of our DNA at Ventrica to take care of our employees and our environment. We pride ourselves on our corporate and social responsibility and working with Treedom we will be able to support farmer communities around the world and play a key role in contributing to making the planet greener. We want to ensure that all the ambassadors within Ventrica take individual and collective responsibility for making our world a better place.”
We are very excited to see how each tree we help contribute through Treedom will make a difference, and we are part of a growing community of over a million users and 9,000+ companies that have partnered with them.
Taking a stand and ensuring your brand is actively working on its CSR efforts can have multiple advantages affecting various aspects of your organisation. Some of the benefits of CSR can include:
Brand Recognition – the more socially responsible your brand is, the more it will be recognised for its efforts and provide positivity around your brand for doing the right thing for society.
Organisational Growth – with an improved reputation and better recognition, brands can expand into new markets and grow their business exponentially.
Align Brand Values – focusing on CSR ensures that you’re actively following your brand values and are serious about the wider impact your company has on the world.
Improve Brand Reputation – Along with more recognition from CSR efforts, your brand reputation improves not just with your market but also with your staff. With people researching brands more than ever, having a positive brand reputation is a huge competitive advantage.
Attract Talent – people want to work for socially responsible companies, meaning recruitment becomes more effortless when you become a company that aligns with someone’s own values. As many as 50% of millennials would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
Better EX – improving the employee experience (EX) is just as crucial as a brand’s CX, with many employees seeking the opportunity to give back to society. Providing CSR initiatives to employees to do so ensures better retention and happier, more engaged, employees.
Corporate social responsibility will continue to play a major role in the fortunes of brands across many different industries, and taking this seriously is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.
To learn more about our role in the wider society at Ventrica and how we provide omnichannel solutions for forward-thinking brands, please contact us.