by Kevin Kaminyar, founder and CEO of Yellow Tree Marketing
In more recent times a shift has occurred – the shift is in the power of purchase. Both customers and employees have become more increasingly aware of the power of meaningful purchase. The power of purchase translates as impact, and if you consider how the masses consciously withholding their money can have an impact, imagine the impact conscious, coordinated consumerism could have.
Understanding the Facts of Corporate Social Responsibility Programs
For years, research has shown companies with effective CSR programs to be more profitable than those without. Whether buying a computer or a cup of coffee, nearly eight out of ten consumers want to buy from companies committed to making the world a better place. With environmental issues as the top concern of consumers, investors have caught on to the trend. Over 70% say they factor a company’s efforts to improve the environment into their decisions.
For an example of a company successfully leading CSR initiatives, let’s take a look at Warby Parker, an eyeglass company reputable for using their profits for social good. A big portion of their success comes from their mission to donate a pair of glasses to someone in need with every pair sold. For a socially-conscious individual, the meaning behind the purpose would serve as the incentive alone to purchase from Warby Parker, vs another eyeglass retailer. In addition, the company is known to empower people to perform and sell glasses at affordable prices which helps distinguish the company as a more socially inclusive brand as well.
Getting into Par With CSR
When it comes to embracing the right CSR initiative, the question to ask is – how can we set ourselves a part? Businesses are becoming more cognizant of the fact that consumers are bombarded with a plethora of choices and factors helping them determine where they should spend their money. With that in mind, how can you, as a company, help them to make the best decision? It comes down to showcasing how truly committed you are to embracing your social responsibility, on top of how transparent you are about the process and results.
As CSR continues to grow, with Fortune 500 Companies spending around $20 billion a year on CSR programs alone, it is important to ensure you are going about it the right way. In the age of climate change, organizations have a prime opportunity to rethink their CSR programs and consider how they can better help the world, but if seen as insincere, it will backfire – notable flops such as BP’s greenwashing campaign can do more harm than good. But if you follow these three simple steps, you can avoid potential pitfalls while building a CSR program that helps your company grow while growing the impact it has on the world.
Firstly, pick an initiative that is simple yet concrete and impactful. At Yellow Tree Marketing, we wanted to build our CSR program around our dedication to having an impact on climate change. Undoubtedly a large issue, but by focusing on a simple mission – planting trees – we can have a lasting and growing impact. Simple. Concrete. Impactful.
Once you have chosen an initiative, choose the right plan of action and/or mission partner. At Yellow Tree, we decided to partner with One Tree Planted, and plant a tree for every new client, and an additional tree for every month the client continues with us.
Finally, use your brand messaging to drive a call to action to inspire more impactful change. At Yellow Tree Marketing, we have centered this mission, it is not just an initiative for us. It is central to our branding and our messaging because it is central to our identity.
By following these three simple steps, you can align your company with a social responsibility program that speaks to you, your employees, and your consumers, and – most importantly – allows you to have a true and lasting beneficial impact using the power of purchase.
Kevin Kaminyar is a marketing expert, nature lover, and social activist with almost a decade of experience in marketing. His company, Yellow Tree Marketing, is dedicated to making an impact on climate change, by partnering with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every new client and an additional tree every month the client continues to work with them. Kevin also founded a nonprofit that provides market-based literacy education for children in Nicaragua.