As global markets expand and consumer choices abound, companies are no longer simply selling a product, but a value-system as well. Consumers are increasingly aware of how companies are behaving "behind the scene," and they care about how corporate practices are affecting the world tangentially. According to HubSpot, 51% of consumers want to reward socially responsible companies with their business, and 53% say that they are willing to pay more for products from a responsible company.
The idea that philanthropic behavior is appealing to customers has been taken up by a number of familiar brands. Think spending $5.50 on a coffee is excessive? Well did you know thatStarbucksonly uses ethically purchased and responsibly produced products? Hand over that Iced Mocha Latte!
Whole Foodshas also become a leader in promoting sustainable corporate practices, and features a "Core Values" prominently on its website:
"Whole Foods Market's vision of a sustainable future means our children and grandchildren will be living in a world that values human creativity, diversity, and individual choice. Businesses will harness human and material resources without devaluing the integrity of the individual or the planet's ecosystems... People will better understand that all actions have repercussions and that planning and foresight coupled with hard work and flexibility can overcome almost any problem encountered. It will be a world that values education and a free exchange of ideas by an informed citizenry; where people are encouraged to discover, nurture, and share their life's passions."
Sound like a grocery store to you? Whole Foods' success should tell you that it doesn't matter. It differentiates itself by not only providing healthy food for its customers, but by building a community of shoppers who believe in sustainable agriculture and environmental responsibility.
Helping othersisprovento make ushappier.Buying products from companies that contribute to some greater good makes us feel good, and helps us to justify that purchase.
And while we have seen a huge push toward this kind of positive branding by large corporations, there is no reason that small businesses can't do the same! Just because an act of philanthropy doesn't include a multi-million dollar donation does not diminish its power. Create positive brand associations and earn customer loyalty by demonstrating in small ways that you are a socially responsible business.
But in order to see revenue results from this do-gooding, you must publicize your good deeds a bit. I know, it sounds tacky, but think about it this way — everyone wins. People in need are receiving aid, you are feeling the psychological benefits of helping others, and your company is building a brand for itself that is connected to community service, sustainability, and/or a general awareness of the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
In order to realize the full benefits of philanthropy and social resonsibility in business, include social responsibility in your marketing campaigns. The easiest way to do this is through a company blog! Check out this free eBook to learn how to use business blogging for marketing success, or contact us for more information!