Whether you�re a global powerhouse or a local non-profit, it can
never hurt to give. Here�s why building a philanthropic brand is
ultimately good for business.
Over the past four years, a study by Edelman has consistently shown
that corporate social responsibility (CSR) strengthens consumer
perceptions about brands. What�s more, the numbers even suggest a
connection between that good-will and the bottomline. Last year�s
results, for example, indicated more than 70% of U.S. consumers are
willing to buy from brands that support good causes, and 65%
worldwide say they trust socially responsible brands more than
While the obvious value of philanthropy is found in doing good for
others, the business advantages are becoming increasingly tangible.
By investing in social responsibility, brands are positioning
themselves to win loyal followers � and in turn, to drive their
financial objectives. It seems what goes around actually does come
Of course, launching a meaningful CSR program in any organization
takes careful thought and planning. Here are a few of the perks �
along with the potential pitfalls:
Keep It Real
It�s not enough for a business to simply declare its good
intentions. Brands must become actively involved in making their
communities and society better. Consumers can sniff out lip service
and window dressing, and they aren�t shy about blasting brands that
come off as insincere. At the very least, they�ll simply choose to
take their business elsewhere.
True advocacy happens at the nexus of integrity and inspiration.
Business leaders stand to gain the most when they choose causes that
not only support their corporate mission, but also mirror their
Community service and other initiatives can foster employee
retention by building camaraderie and boosting morale. And when it
comes to recruiting, there�s no better place to find like-minded
(i.e., equally selfless) candidates.
Volunteering gives businesspeople a rare opportunity to meet other
community leaders in a less formal setting � including potential
vendors, employees, mentors, clients, strategic partners and even
When businesses connect with their communities, people see them in a
new light. Suddenly, business leaders are seen as authentic,
concerned members of society. Corporations become more human, even
to the people who work there. And ultimately, it helps foster trust
among employees, customers and prospects.
(Almost) Instant Gratification
One of the purest benefits to organized philanthropy is that it just
feels good. This can be especially true for businesses that don�t
always see the fruits of their labor. And while stacking cans at a
food bank or running a 5K might not seem as impactful as serving
food at a soup kitchen, it all provides a sense of accomplishment.
Plus it all makes a difference in the long run.
From Tory Burch to McDonald�s to Target, the greatest brands create
staying power by adopting and promoting a cause. In leveraging their
influence to serve the greater good, these companies endure in the
hearts and minds of customers.
Today, smart businesses and their leaders are building brand equity
by acting on their conscience. And in giving back, they�re realizing
much more significant returns.