How Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts Can Strengthen Brand Equity and Customer Loyalty

July 11, 2023 | What's Hot | 5 min read

The phrase “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) describes how organizations demonstrate accountability to society through economic, social, and environmental efforts. While it's certainly not a new concept, today’s CSR looks quite different from the optional altruism of the past.

In a world grappling with issues such as social justice, economic disparity, and devastating climate change, modern CSR initiatives balance profit with purpose – ultimately creating shared value for consumers and stakeholders, as well as the environment.

Last year, Skillsoft released its first annual CSR survey, collecting insights from more than 1,000 professionals in a variety of industries and job functions on how their organizations are approaching corporate social responsibility.

From the resulting CSR at Work Report, we learned:

  • CSR efforts have grown since pre-pandemic
  • Training is foundational to employee engagement
  • CSR priorities are influenced by “doing the right thing”

Additionally, we learned that organizations are moving towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs. While 53% of people in our survey from last year said they use the term CSR instead of ESG to describe their sustainability efforts, this is rapidly changing. Even during this past year, ESG has emerged as a more structured and investor-focused approach to corporate responsibility, yet CSR remains a broader concept encompassing a greater range of voluntary initiatives taken by organizations.

Learn more about our findings here.

This year, we’re looking forward to uncovering even more insights. We’ll be conducting our second-annual survey – today through September 1 – and will compile your responses anonymously to help benchmark our collective progress in corporate social responsibility.

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Incorporating CSR Into Your Marketing Strategy

So how can marketing and CSR co-exist? Incorporating marketing into your CSR strategy can be an effective way to communicate your company’s social and environmental initiatives to your target audience, amplify your impact, and build brand reputation. But authenticity is key.

Following are strategies you might consider as you incorporate CSR into your marketing efforts:

Define your CSR goals: Establish clear objectives for your CSR initiatives. Identify the social or environmental issues you want to address and the impact you aim to achieve. Ensure that your goals align with your organization’s values and are relevant to your target audience.

Integrate CSR messaging into your brand: Align your CSR initiatives with your overall brand identity and messaging. Communicate how your organization’s social and environmental values align with your products, services, and mission. This will help to build a consistent and authentic brand image.

Develop compelling storytelling: Create engaging narratives that highlight the positive impact of your CSR efforts. Share stories about the people, communities, or environments positively affected by your initiatives.

Engage stakeholders: Involve your stakeholders, including customers, employees, and partners, in your CSR initiatives. Encourage them to participate in your campaigns, volunteer for social causes, or provide feedback. Engaged stakeholders become advocates for your brand and help amplify your CSR message.

Measure and communicate impact: Use this data to demonstrate the effectiveness of your efforts in addressing the identified social or environmental issues that are important to you. Communicate your impact transparently through reports, case studies, or interactive dashboards.

Seek feedback and adapt: Regularly seek feedback from your stakeholders to understand their perceptions and expectations regarding your CSR initiatives. This feedback can help you refine your strategy and make improvements where needed.

Remember that CSR efforts are a work in progress – at your organization and others. By considering how your organization’s CSR efforts impact your role and department, you can make an outsized impact.

Tell us about how your organization approaches corporate social responsibility. Please complete this year’s CSR survey to share your insights, opinions, learning moments, and more!