Incorporating a social cause into your brand identity can help boost multiple facets of your business, both externally and internally. In addition to the personal fulfillment that comes from running an ethical and socially responsible business, integrating a social cause can help bring more humanity to your brand, build goodwill in the community, engage employees and attract loyal customers. Being recognized as a socially responsible company has many advantages.
In fact, consumers are increasingly choosing to spend their dollars at companies that align with their values. Research from Union+Webster found that 77% of consumers would rather buy from businesses that exhibit community responsibility and will even pay 5% to 10% more for their products and services.
This uptick in conscious consumerism gives companies the perfect opportunity to align with a social cause. Here’s why your business should give it a chance:
It’s not uncommon for customers to rally together to support businesses they believe in, whether it’s keeping local restaurants afloat, or shopping at stores with ethically sourced products — more and more consumers are choosing to vote with their dollar for socially responsible companies.
A study from Cone and Porter Novelli found that 66% of Americans would switch from buying their regular product to something new, if it was from a purpose-driven company. That customer loyalty gives businesses more confidence to enter new markets or experiment with product lines. Other research found this to be even more prominent among millennials.
As consumers increasingly seek to back companies they believe in, you’ll want to make sure your cause is also promoted on your social media channels.The Cone and Porter Novelli study reported that 68% of those surveyed were more willing to share content by purpose-driven companies with their social networks, over that of regular businesses.
Showing your client base that you’re looking out for them, through things like making a greener product, giving back to your community or using your resources to help an important cause, will garner customer support, even if it comes with a higher price tag.
Research from Mintel found that 51% of American consumers felt that a product from a socially responsible company was worth paying more for. That number increased to 62% among adult “iGeneration” consumers (ages 18 to 23).
Identifying your business as a purpose-driven company and an agent of positive change can help you connect with these young consumers. Engaging with them early on when they’re just starting to form their buying habits could lay the groundwork for lifelong customers.
Doing good for others does good for you too — giving back can create a sense of fulfillment, and has been shown to positively affect physical and mental wellbeing. Volunteering has been tied to lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life, among other health benefits.
However, if you’re choosing to support a social cause simply because it will improve your bottom line or boost your brand image, think again. Consumers are skeptical, and can usually tell when businesses do things for publicity. Numerous past social justice marketing mishaps have shown that people are quick to pick up on inconsistencies — and call businesses out for it.
Choose thoughtfully when deciding what your company’s social cause will be. It’s important to align your business with an authentic purpose that makes sense and rings true with your company’s mission. You want your efforts to create a meaningful, lasting contribution.
Maintaining positive community relations can be an essential part of any local business looking to connect with their neighborhood. Supporting your community, and taking opportunities to give back to them, can help foster community bonds and allow others to see you as a positive addition.
Establishing your business as community-minded could also potentially make things easier in regards to fast approvals for new locations, or other efforts. Building a network with the people in your community can create a sense of belonging, and if you find your business struggling, you may be able to rely on the support of your patrons to help you weather the storm.
Remember, it’s not just about donating funds — you can also use your platform to help get more members of the community to support a cause you care about.
Companies that display genuine social awareness, and incorporate their social responsibility into their brand identity, tend to experience another benefit as well — more engaged, fulfilled employees.
A Project ROI study found that a well-designed corporate social responsibility program has the potential to see increased employee engagement up to 7.5%, upticks in productivity up to 13%, reduce turnover rate by up to 50% and boost revenue by as much as 20%. Their data relates to large, publicly traded companies (as most of the current research tends to focus on that sector), however, the authors believe that it is relevant for small and medium businesses as well.
Having a social purpose invites genuineness into the workplace. Research from SCORE found that 58% of Americans consider corporate social responsibility when deciding where to work — that number increases to 79% among millennials.
It matters to employees what their employer stands for, and people increasingly want to work for businesses that align with their values. Encouraging social responsibility in the workplace is great both for company culture and company reputation as a socially responsible company that is intent on making a change.