Beyond the Buzzwords: How Socially Conscious Businesses Make a Real-World Impact
The most powerful acts of corporate activism start within a brand, lasts for the long-term, and remains positive in spite of turmoil.
Your business doesn’t exist inside a vacuum, it lives within the ever-changing social climate of the day. And at the time of writing, we’re all currently living and working through drastic social and political change. Many might consider this a trying time. And yet, businesses have a crucial role to play amongst all this. They start by carefully choosing when, how, and what to contribute to the conversation.
While you may not want to put your two cents into every social cause du jour, it makes sense — and dollars — to stand for something. 55% of global consumers say they’d pay more for products and services from businesses that advance social and environmental causes. 68% of gen z teens said companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.
After learning a company supports a social cause, 69% of teens say they trust the company more, 62% said they are more likely to purchase the company’s products, and 66% said they pay more attention to the company’s marketing/advertising. As for millennials, 42% favourably view CEOs who take public stances.
Being socially active reflects on a company’s public image. The more people like what your brand stands for, the more likely they are to do business with you.
How To Start and Support Social Causes
To support a social cause effectively, look inside your company for causes you and your customers are already facing. Make sure it aligns with your company’s mission statement, so your brand identity can make an impact.
Consider Tim Hortons and Camp Day. The community-minded company, loved for being the coffee that you take to your kid’s Saturday morning hockey games, supports a social cause that impacts families. That connection makes sense to the public who flock to the restaurants for send-a-kid-to-camp smile cookies.
Or look at Lego’s “Build the Change” campaign in support of the World Wildlife Fund. It’s designed to inspire children to create sustainable societies with—you guessed it—Lego bricks. Building social change with LEGO? It just works. Or check out AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign on Wattpad (PDF). The mobile service provider took a stand on an issue their customer base cares deeply about—distracted driving.
“Coalescing efforts behind a single cause allows for a more powerful contribution and, presumably, impact,” says Ryan Scott in Forbes. While it may be tempting to jump onto every cause that needs your help, you can do more when focusing on one. Through this, you will be better known for your consistent effort. Corporate giving makes a huge impact on society. $18.45 billion was raised in 2015 alone — that’s a lot of communities helped. Those who made their community efforts known likely saw some of that returned, since 90% of shoppers will choose a company aligned with a social cause when debating between products of equal value. Contributing to social causes benefits both communities and businesses.
When companies advocate for social causes through charitable donations or public statements, the ever more politically and socially engaged public takes notice and sways in favour. When choosing how to become socially active don’t overburden yourself by tackling every issue, focus on ones that are intuitively connected to your company’s mission statement. When in doubt, don’t call people out — look outwards, and highlight a positive example.
Learn more about the billion dollar opportunity to represent the underrepresented.
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