Do consumers really care about corporate social responsibility?
In our previous blog, “Climate Change and how marketers can contribute to helping stop the climate crisis”, we highlighted several key reasons why marketers should look to increasing their corporate social responsibility to the planet not just behind the scenes, but within their marketing campaigns and creative ideas. This is further expanded on in an earlier blog where we looked at how social issues undeniably affect the supply chain and ethical consumerism continues to grow as a concern amongst consumers globally. In this blog we explore whether social responsibility in business really is going to change the way we do things in the near and distant future. We think the answer is YES!
People prefer supporting brands and businesses who value their employees
The first thing we want to highlight is that social responsibility is not exclusive to the charities companies support with the purpose of handing over big cheques in front of a large red ribbon for journalists and photographers to capture and publish in the media.
Consumers are looking to support businesses and brands that go beyond these typical and archaic public relations tactics. For example, businesses that openly demonstrate that they care about their employees, fair compensation, reasonable working hours, fair treatment and good working conditions will be more valued by their customers than ever before. Read this McKinsey report on this topic.
Supporting businesses who care – consumers are willing to pay more for ethical business
Forbes reports that in 2021, eighty three percent (83%) of customers were willing to pay more for an ethically sourced product. were more likely to spend more money if a business’s values and ethics aligned with their own. In this context, ‘ethics’ includes whether businesses support social movements, if their production lines are considered to be fair-trade, if their products are vegan and cruelty-free, and more.
This consumer trend is not new. So the question is why ate so many brands not actively influencing their organisations to implement real, tangible social responsibility initiatives that can in turn be used in marketing messaging to reposition the business as socially responsible and in turn advance their sales?
So as a marketer, note that brands can represent anything they want in their communication and campaigns, but consumers are not stupid. They are increasingly concerned about the integrity and authenticity of the brand’s ethics and will stop supporting brands that say one thing and do another. Consumers want to trust the brands they buy from.
A company that is doing it right
If corporates will open up to CSR on a larger scale, not only will we see more productive employees pushing out great work, we will also see increased sales and revenue for businesses. In January 2022, Selena Gomez, founder of Rare Beauty published a public letter to her employees for their hard work throughout the turbulent 2021 year. Fans and followers of the brand globally have poured in their support and admiration for both Selena and the brand for continuing authentically on their mission to bring a beauty brand into the market that champions natural beauty and values mental health protection, healthcare and research. What Rare Beauty’s mission has brought to the fore has seen nothing but major support and a ripple effect of sorts as the company continues its mission to bettering the world around them, and in turn, increasing sales as customers choose to support them (read more about it here).
In conclusion, marketers need to realise that social responsibility is a key factor in a brands longevity and desirability today. People are choosing to support brands who support people. It’s as simple as that. When looking at the role marketers play in this instance, it’s important to reflect on how we can continue our mission to supporting others within our campaigns and strategies. For more on how companies can improve the world through CSR, click here.