In a saturated consumer market, how can your company best stand out from the crowd? Perhaps it’s time to revamp your marketing strategy, to emphasize relevant issues such as social responsibility and sustainability. With a high number of businesses shutting down permanently as a result of post-COVID economic fallout, successful marketing is more important than ever.
And make no mistake: Social responsibility is an increasingly weighty topic in the modern world. At the consumer level, personal values and various social justice topics even help fuel purchasing decisions.
Studies indicate that 87% of consumers will purchase a product from a company that advocates for social justice causes. They’re also typically willing to pay more for a product or service that aligns with personal values and/or beliefs. On the other hand, just over three-quarters of U.S. consumers report that they will avoid a particular brand or company with values that contradict their own.
No matter the size of your company or primary industry, it’s clear that social responsibility is extremely valuable on numerous levels. Corporate responsibility can help advance social justice, but it can also boost your company’s bottom line. Further, customer loyalty is high among those companies known for social responsibility initiatives, from Ben & Jerry’s to Bombas, which donates a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair sold.
Both of these companies are certified B corps, another strong selling point in the social responsibility marketing game. B corps are
In 2021 and beyond, marketing social responsibility can help your company thrive, as well as give you greater tools for connecting with your audience, improving customer retention. To get started, determine which particular social justice topics to address, and create a clear-cut social responsibility initiative plan that aligns with your company goals. Then, spread the word via every channel you can think of, with the goal of reaching socially conscious consumers who were previously out of reach.
Beyond Marketing: Why Social Responsibility is Important
Yet company leaders in virtually every industry are well aware of the fickle nature of consumers. And staying on top of corporate social responsibility trends almost seems like a full-time job in its own right. For this reason, consider expanding your marketing team, as well as placing a heavy emphasis on both your quality products and your commitment to social justice.
Keep in mind, however, that your company’s dedication to social responsibility topics must not seem forced. You must also take market trends and consumer behavior into account. It can be a fine line to walk, and requires copious amounts of research on the most pressing social justice topics in the modern world.
Arguably one of the most relevant topics in contemporary times is that of sustainability. Especially among young consumers in the U.S. and Canada, eco-friendly brands have exploded in popularity in recent years as the effects of climate change are increasingly apparent. According to Barron’s, in fact, nearly 70% of North American consumers tout sustainability as an important factor when making purchasing decisions. Implementing eco-friendly practices within various aspects of your business, including shipping, production, and even marketing itself, can help boost your reputation as a socially responsible and sustainable company.
Maintaining Your Company’s Online Image
Once you have adopted a solid social responsibility campaign within your company, the real work begins. For starters, you must work to consistently maintain the standards laid out in your company’s corporate responsibility initiative. A quick way to lose even the most loyal customers is by presenting an image that’s inherently false or misleading.
Consumers who are truly passionate about social justice will quickly abandon a company that engages in unscrupulous practices or appears hypocritical. Millennials and Generation Z consumers have grown up with regular internet access, helping fuel the rise of the digital economy. What’s more, many young social justice advocates are extremely vocal online, and don’t hesitate to spread the word about companies they find problematic. A simple tweet or Instagram post that’s critical towards your company’s social responsibility plan (or lack thereof) can spread like wildfire, quickly undermining your brand’s reputation.
As such, authenticity and transparency are key to maintaining your company image and retaining customers, especially young people. Socially responsible consumers of all ages can easily dig up dirt on your company, as well as your competition. So make sure that your online image is true to your company’s values and beliefs, and remain open to change in the event of negative press or an online backlash.
Social Responsibility and Marketing into the Future
In the social responsibility marketing game, it’s also important to promote your company’s various initiatives far and wide. Socially conscious consumers can’t support your brand if they have no knowledge of your efforts towards social justice, reducing your carbon footprint, and improving working conditions for employees.
Your digital advertising campaign should thus highlight your social justice efforts, and include testimonials when possible, from both satisfied customers and passionate employees. Your campaign begins with awareness; that is, ensuring that your target audience has knowledge of the ways in which your company is dedicated to social responsibility.
Perhaps you just launched a new product that’s sustainably produced, or your company made a charitable donation to a social justice cause or non-profit organization. Make sure that the general public is aware of those efforts, and how proud your company is of its commitment to socially responsible practices.
You can let your audience know in every way possible, from blog posts to humorous memes and beyond. To stay relevant, however, you’ll need to post regularly, as the memory of digital consumers can be fleeting due to the sheer amount of information ingested on a daily basis. Daily posts on various online channels can help keep your company’s name and social justice efforts firmly on the front page.
For countless startup businesses and long-established companies alike, digital advertising holds the key to continued revenue and increased customer satisfaction. Now more than ever, consumers want to know that their money is doing some good in the world. By harnessing the power of digital marketing, you can help your company retain relevance and attract those customers willing to pay more for quality and social responsibility.