Posted by Emily Taraborrelli on November 18, 2015
The animals in those Telus ads are adorable.
Did you know that Telus abides by a strict animal-advertising code that they developed for themselves? It requires the following:
“It (Telus) only work with reputable owners, accredited zoos and sanctuaries when filming animals for its advertisements. Telus also requires that a professional advocacy representative oversee the ethical treatment of animals during its productions.” (view source)
This is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – defined as the voluntary activities undertaken by a company to operate in an economic, social and environmentally sustainable manner.
Why does CSR matter? It matters because adopting systems that promote and support our environment and our community, be it locally or internationally, demonstrates that an organization is conscientious of how they operate and utilize their resources. It demonstrates they care and genuinely want to give back.
Building CSR initiatives into business values and operations is common practice within large corporations nowadays, and is opening the eyes of smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to do the same. It is expected that you are conscious of and support at least one social cause, or sustainable practice. And why wouldn’t you? There are a number of beneficial reasons to do so:
- Giving back - People like to do good. Large or small companies including individual entrepreneurs are made up of people who have found success in their work life and often reach a point when they want to allocate portions of their funds to causes that are close to their heart. Things like building schools in third world countries, feeding the hungry, or volunteering time to initiatives like food banks, or fundraising events. CSR gives people the chance to shift the use of their resources to do something that extends beyond the scope of the everyday business objectives - and that touches the lives of many.
- Use less, save more - A foundational idea around CSR is sustainability, and an easy way for a company to embrace that concept can involve things like using less energy, or less packaging. Sustainable practices are not only ethical but they often cut costs too.
- Innovation – Companies are always looking for ways to offer innovative solutions to their audiences. At times, this type of problem solving leads to exciting product developments. For example, Whirlpool major appliances now offers a self-cleaning oven feature called AquaLift® Self-Clean Technology. Its low heat approach uses less energy, and is odour free. Without a concern for sustainability, the company’s research and development efforts possibly wouldn’t have led to such a product.
- Brand differentiation – Companies are always looking at ways to differentiate their brand. Supporting a cause, on a corporate level, is a way in which brands can further define themselves and resonate with their target audience.
- Customer engagement – This is a big one. Consumers no longer engage with a brand based on product or service alone. They want to know the type of good work the brand is involved with on a social, environmental or ethical level. Talking with your customers about your CSR initiatives provides yet another way to engage with them and gives them more reason to stay loyal to you.
- Employee engagement – Along similar lines, if your own employees don’t know what’s going on within your organization, you’re missing an opportunity to inform and energize them about the "good" that comes from the work they are part of.
Abiding by CSR efforts improves how your audience and even your vendors or affiliates perceive and engage with your company, and can strongly influence whether they engage with you at all. For example:
- More than 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment
- 83% of consumers think companies should support charities and nonprofits with financial donations.
- The average American consumer will drive nearly 11 minutes out of their way to buy a cause-marketing product.
CSR affects your human resource recruiting efforts:
- 83% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their employer used child labour in sweatshop factories
- 65% would seriously consider leaving their job if their company harmed the environment
- 32% would seriously consider leaving their job if their company gave no / little money to charity View source
Giving back to your community shifts the focus from driving the bottom line to investing in the current state and future of our world, by demonstrating to your audiences that working together for a common goal is a necessary good. CSR efforts will tell your consumers and fellow businesses who you are and what you care about, and establishing a reputation of goodwill in your community most often inspires people to want to work with you and to be your cheerleader.
Below are some examples of impactful CSR:
Whirlpool Canada - The Every Day Care Project. Among additional initiatives, Whirlpool helps families by supporting Habitat for Humanity. Learn More
Solutions Stores - Supports a greener world with their Plant a Tree Initiative. Learn more
ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen - Partners with local charities like Soup Sisters, Made by Momma, Breakfast for Learning and E4C to strengthen their communities through food and household education. Learn more
BTI Brand Innovations also supports various organizations that work to improve our world. By providing pro bono work or donations on an annual basis, we support United Way, The Shayam Kaushal Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Without Shelter, Credit Valley Hospital, Eden Food for Change food bank, and other organizations.
Are you effectively communicating how your company contributes to the social good?
Don't keep it to yourself. Share it with your audience and staff so they can appreciate your efforts, and even get involved!
Call on BTI to help you create awareness and excitement around the causes that mean the most to you!