The large and most recognized companies in the market share a common point: corporate social responsibility. And this is directly linked to the approach strategies with an increasingly aware and engaged public. corporate social responsibility in business
More than a marketing issue, any company’s concern with social well-being and the environment is a matter of humanity.
That’s why, in this article, we’ve brought you everything you need to know about corporate social responsibility and how it can affect your business. Check out!
What is corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility is nothing more than a set of actions and initiatives taken by companies seeking, on a completely voluntary basis, to contribute to issues of ethics, the environment and society.
These initiatives integrate the aspects mentioned with the parties involved, such as employees, suppliers, the government and citizens.
Corporate Social Responsibility, or SER, aims to achieve business objectives that are converging with sustainable and responsible development practices, in a relationship with the community of mutual benefit for both parties.
Unlike donation and financial contribution policies with charities and social assistance, corporate social responsibility goes far beyond philanthropic actions.
It deals with an ethical relationship in all its actions, practices, policies, values and even in the way a company communicates.
In this way, unlike donation practices, which happen sporadically and at strategic periods, corporate social responsibility is a value that is put into practice in a perennial and constant manner at all times and in all modes of operation of the company. corporate social responsibility in business
The importance for a business to survive
The issue of corporate social responsibility is seen by many companies as an obstacle. After all, in times of intense competition and possible crisis scenarios, investing with social commitment can seem like a real burden.
This thought is completely understandable, since socially responsible practices demand certain expenses that, without strategic management , may seem unnecessary.
So, thinking together with the permanent scenario of crisis and predatory competition that dominates the current market, it may seem paradoxical to invest in social responsibility, but, in fact, this type of investment can be the fundamental step to guarantee the company’s survival.
In recent times, people’s perception of brands and companies has changed considerably. If a few years ago marketing objectives were focused only on increasing profits and sales, today it is necessary to think further.
This new public perception brought the need for a social concern to override purely financial aspirations.
Investing on the social side is, today, a way of investing in the growth of the company’s consumer audience. It is to ensure that more and more people have the right and the possibility to consume such products, generating a situation of mutual benefit.
For some time now, the corporate image has been undergoing a strong change. Today, especially with the growing importance of online activism, a company’s negative attitudes gain as much or more prominence than its positive aspects.
That’s why the understanding of social marketing is gaining so much importance.
A term coined in the 1970s by the father of marketing, Philip Kotler, Social Marketing emerged when he realized that the main aspects of traditional marketing could also apply to social causes and in the propagation and dissemination of ideas and behavior.
Thus, every social marketing campaign has as its main objective to alleviate situations of inequality or even to eliminate problems of a social nature.
In general, they are linked to issues such as public health, transport, housing, hunger, work and education.
Already very common in non-profit organizations and public bodies, social marketing presents campaigns aimed at raising awareness among the population.
Blood donation campaigns, vaccinations and other social causes are frequently advertised in marketing pieces.
Some institutions, such as Doctors Without Borders, often use social marketing campaigns to get donations that help fund their missions. corporate social responsibility in business
No doubt you have seen, at some point, a commercial for this international NGO on television.
For companies that do not have an ultimate goal aimed purely at social assistance, social marketing is a tool used to publicize and disseminate corporate social responsibility practices.
In other words, the idea is not to revert the reach of these campaigns to an increase in sales and business profits, but rather to draw attention to some social cause or even to some program or action carried out by this business.
This type of campaign takes place, mainly, when companies (generally the larger ones) publicize their foundations, with the objective of increasing the reach of the beneficial actions carried out by them.
Indirectly, this type of marketing works as a positive strengthening of the branding of the business, which associates its name with this type of social action.
The differences for environmental responsibility
When we talk about a company’s social responsibility, we usually refer to the practices and actions that a business can take to positively impact society. This is generally linked to people’s well-being, as a commitment to ethical behavior and aimed at the economic development and quality of life of its employees, the community in which the company operates and society as a whole.
Thus, the quality of the products sold or the services provided, the ethics and morals involved in the actions taken by the company, and even acting on issues sensitive to society, all these aspects relate to a company’s social responsibility.
When we talk about social well-being and responsibility for sustainable development, it is impossible not to mention the issue of the environment. Environmental concern is inherent to corporate social responsibility, encompassing such importance that it can also be seen as a universe apart.
A business with corporate environmental responsibility is, indirectly, also being socially responsible. Adopting practices that do not harm the environment, being sustainable and focused on Green Marketing is a way of acting in this regard. corporate social responsibility in business
However, just like social responsibility, environmental responsibility needs to be present in all spheres of the company. It is crucial that there is planning that focuses on serious environmental strategies and policies, which really put into practice the ideas of environmental preservation. In this sense, it is necessary to act from the abolition of the plastic cup to the non-performance of animal tests in the laboratory.
Thus, it is necessary that social and environmental responsibility practices are aligned, in order to benefit each other, maintaining consistency within the company’s environment.
It is noteworthy that, especially concerns of an environmental nature, have gained strong prominence in society in recent years, with the work of groups and NGOs that work in this sphere, such as Greenpeace. Thus, adopting environmentally sustainable practices is becoming practically a must for any company these days.
While environmental responsibility practices can exert a certain influence in the social sphere, it is essential to understand the differences between them. Despite “going hand in hand”, the two spheres of corporate responsibility act differently.
This is because the social side is directly applied to the well-being of the public, while environmental concerns must be inserted throughout the production chain, generating sustainable results.
The advantages of having a socially aligned brand
Companies that have a true sense of corporate social responsibility reap the rewards throughout the entire process, in addition to gaining prestige from the population and the market. Below, we mention the main advantages of being a socially responsible company.
A company is, in the market, the way the public sees it. Presenting an attitude of social responsibility makes this image extremely positive, after all, this is to demonstrate a concern for the society in which this business operates.
As we presented in the topic on environmental responsibility, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the good and bad practices of companies, choosing those that truly care about social well-being.
In this scenario of constant evaluation of the actions taken by companies, by consumers, those that demonstrate to be socially aligned with good policies end up retaining those customers who value social responsibility. And there’s nothing any company wants more than loyal customers. corporate social responsibility in business
positive social contribution
More than a marketing strategy , to be a company that presents socially responsible attitudes is to be a company that truly contributes to the society in which it operates. It costs nothing to remember that we are all on the same planet and it is everyone’s duty to act to make the world a better place.
Retention of the best employees
Regardless of the size of the company, it is a fact that everyone wants to have the best team of collaborators and employees possible. And being a socially responsible business means prioritizing citizens’ rights, the population’s quality of life and the well-being of all.
The result is easy to understand: the best members of your team will think twice before accepting any proposal from the competition, as they value the actions taken by your company.
Just as corporate social responsibility helps retain the best people on your staff, it also helps enormously in maintaining high morale and motivating staff. And a motivated team yields much more.
Employees who value the actions of the company they work for and feel motivated can only mean one thing: increased productivity. A good working environment that values internal and external well-being is the key to making it possible to produce much more, generating an indirect increase in profits.
All this positivist scenario makes the company manage to behave in a much stronger way in the market, especially against its main competitors. In a world where every detail becomes weapons in competitive warfare, presenting a socially responsible posture makes all the difference to an engaged and aware audience. And that’s having competitive intelligence . corporate social responsibility in business
Attracting good partners
No business works well if it cannot rely on good partners and suppliers. Making your corporate social responsibility actions public makes those partners who have a mindset in line with your company and who want to collaborate with the social cause in question to come even closer.
In a virtuous cycle, each of these points contributes to the growth of the business itself. Thus, while it is possible to say that the company really contributes to the improvement of the world, whether on a local or global scale, we can see that, commercially, the brand can benefit enormously from this type of action.
Returns on short and long term branding
Now that you know what the main benefits of applying a socially responsible posture internally and externally are, it’s time to understand how it impacts your company’s branding.
Unlike branding, branding includes a much broader universe. It concerns brand management, another name by which we know branding here in Brazil. In strategic marketing planning , branding includes the set of actions and strategies that contribute to building a much greater public perception of the company’s brand.
It is nothing more than your brand identity, which concerns not only the graphic symbol that represents the company, but also the way it works and how it relates to the public. Do you see the similarities with the application of corporate social responsibility actions?
The truth is that, in the same way that branding is the brand idea applied in all aspects of the company, social responsibility must be applied in all these scenarios. corporate social responsibility in business
Therefore, they are closely linked and interact with each other when planning is put into action. The returns of a social responsibility policy on branding can, therefore, happen in the short or long term.
Among all the benefits mentioned above, we can highlight the improvement in the work environment, team motivation, retention of the best employees and productivity as aspects that change in the short term. This is because they are more quickly perceived indoors, which results in a package of easily observable benefits.
On the other hand, the scenario of external advantages, especially towards the consumer public and other companies, tends to be long-term. Therefore, it is essential that the policies and strategies designed and developed aiming at the practice of social responsibility are practiced daily and truly, in order to build a positive perception of the external public about the brand.
It is precisely for this reason that sporadic philanthropic actions do not usually work effectively as an attitude of social responsibility. After all, they don’t happen often enough to be perceived as a change in attitude, not resulting in a long-term payback.
social responsibility actions
Now that you know what corporate social responsibility is — and what benefits it can bring to your business — it’s time to understand how it can be put into practice. For that, we list here some actions that can be taken by your company.
Environmental responsibility practices
As we explained, the social and environmental sides go together and contribute to one another. Therefore, it is only fair to start by citing some environmental actions that can be taken:
- disposal of disposable cups;
- reduction of paper prints;
- draft reuse in notebooks;
- conscious consumption of water and energy;
- use of more economical light bulbs;
- separation of recyclable waste.
Recreation practices are a great way to make your company engage in social responsibility actions, bringing benefits to the community in which it operates and captivating the closest population.
This can be done by taking advantage of special dates, over the years, to carry out events and campaigns in partnership with other companies or even independently. The most used date is Children’s Day, with the creation of “Recreation Streets”, which make the little ones happy. corporate social responsibility in business
In the company’s internal environment, we can mention the encouragement of cultural practices, such as the creation of its own library with an exclusive space dedicated to employees. Depending on the size of the company, this can even be done externally, with support from public libraries, for example.
Support home support
Orphanages and nursing homes face a very difficult reality in Brazil. Surviving through donations and the solidarity of the population, these needy institutions need not only financial support but also humanitarian care.
Promoting visits to children and elderly people who live in these support homes and who face abandonment and lack of love and affection can make a huge difference for them. Doing good for these people is more than acting strategically within the company, it is demonstrating an extremely necessary human side these days.
How to include social responsibility in your planning?
As the topic already says, everything is a matter of planning. And the application of corporate social responsibility actions must also be very well planned. First, it is essential to understand its importance and what are the duties and benefits that will come with its inclusion in the company’s routine.
Thus, before waiting for any public agency to demand social responsibility actions, it is necessary to structure itself to apply this concept in a real and sustainable manner within the company. Therefore, aligning this socially responsible posture with the vision, mission and values of your business is the first step in planning these actions.
Even if the expectation is only to improve the company’s image before the public, it is necessary to align social responsibility with corporate governance , so that there is a generalized understanding of its importance. After all, the actions that will be taken will directly interfere with the governance rules, causing the work routine to change. corporate social responsibility in business
As with any business planning, the inclusion of social responsibility in a company demands a perfect synergy between strategic communication teams . It is through them that social actions will be disseminated internally and externally.
Thus, to include socially responsible practices in strategic planning, they must be seen as part of the company’s fundamental activities, including them in the calendar and in the work routine. Only with the naturalization of these actions is it possible to understand them as something beyond any obligation or compensation for the demands of the population or public bodies. corporate social responsibility in business