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Digital Marketing 9 min read

The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Marketing

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 03 Oct 2023

More consumers expect businesses to be socially responsible through corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. CSR can apply to all aspects of the business, from manufacturing to hiring to marketing. But what is corporate social responsibility in marketing? 

With CSR, companies aim to take an active and positive role in society. In other words, the goal of these companies is not just to make money but also to make a positive impact on current and future generations. Therefore, CSR in marketing means that a company communicates these socially responsible initiatives to its audience.

As a marketing tool, CSR influences sales and other key business factors. For example, 77% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to social and environmental causes. If your business isn’t taking action, you may fall behind your competition.

In addition to improving society, CSR can also boost employee morale. It motivates employees, encouraging them to bring more of their whole selves to work. Satisfied employees are productive employees — which makes practicing CSR a true win-win. 

Corporate social responsibility and marketing go hand in hand. We’ll break down marketing ethics and corporate social responsibility and explain how your business can benefit from it, from improved brand image and SEO to increased visibility and, therefore, sales.

Different Types of Corporate Social Responsibility in Marketing

Corporate social responsibility marketing covers several categories, including:

  • Environmental
  • Ethical
  • Philanthropic
  • Financial

Whether your business taps into one or all four subsets of CSR, you can expect to reap benefits from customers, employees, and investors.

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Becoming an Environmentally Conscious Business

Customers want to support eco-friendly businesses, and so do investors. In fact, 73% of investors confirm that efforts to improve the environment play a role in which businesses they contribute to. 

How can your business become more environmentally friendly? These are a few examples you can take:

  • Recycle: Recycling programs help the environment and earn props from your community — you can also encourage customers to reuse or recycle your products
  • Reduce Emissions: Many customers and investors look for policies that reduce pollution, waste, and emissions
  • Support Worthy Causes: Consider donating to a local environmental group or planting trees under your company’s name in your community

This last point may seem a little too indirect, but no matter what your business does internally to promote eco-friendly best practices, it’s always a great idea to contribute to worthy causes that directly benefit the environment. 

Going green is a great way to impress your customer base and give your employees an increased sense of pride that you’re doing something beneficial for the environment.

Incorporating Ethical Business Practices

Ethical business practices boost both employee morale and your company’s reputation. Instances of this type of CSR include:

Quality Employee Care

Pay employees favorably and give them benefits that exceed the minimum. Along with fair employment practices, you can boost your reputation by establishing a positive working environment with communication, trust, and transparency.

Fair Customer Treatment

Emphasize treating all customers fairly, regardless of age, race, and sexual orientation. If your company isn’t fully on board with fair customer treatment, your reputation can take a big hit.

Honesty and Transparency

Be transparent with your customers and investors about any operating concerns. People prefer an honest company over one that appears to be hiding things. 

Ethical business practices can distinguish your company as a positive part of the community, earning trust, respect, and sales.

Philanthropy Contributes to Society — and Your Bottom Line

Donating to local and national charities is a significant aspect of marketing ethics and corporate social responsibility. When you use your company’s resources to make the world a better place, you’ll enhance your standing. Philanthropic efforts also allow you to better your community.

Some ways to practice philanthropy include donating to charity, matching employee contributions to their favorite charities, working with suppliers and vendors who support charities you value, and sponsoring fundraising events that people in your community can attend and contribute to. 

No matter what avenue you choose, practicing philanthropy benefits those around you and your company’s reputation.

Financial Responsibility’s Role in CSR

Talking about being environmentally conscious, ethical, and charitable is helpful, but people prefer you put your money where your mouth is. Financial responsibility is an all-encompassing part of CSR. It can include environmental causes, ethics, and philanthropy.

CSR is more than just making a plan; it’s taking action. Research and develop new ways to help the environment within and outside your community, ensure transparent financial reporting, and intentionally recruit a diverse workforce. Go the extra mile to show you don’t just talk the talk, but you also walk the walk.

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Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility in Your Marketing Strategy

CSR gives businesses a sense of purpose, and companies with purpose experience more growth; experts see a direct correlation between purpose and profit. Some benefits of CSR for companies include:

  • Increased Visibility: The more good you do for the community, the more positive press your business will receive — this additional press can drive traffic to your company’s website and increase your online visibility
  • Improved SEO: CSR initiatives offer opportunities for engaging content that can draw readers in and help improve SEO
  • Competitive Advantage: Because consumers seek out ethical companies, CSR initiatives can give you a competitive edge over other businesses
  • Brand Reputation: CSR practices enhance your brand’s reputation, helping you attract more customers looking for ethical businesses to support
  • New Opportunities: CSR allows your business to partner with various organizations, granting access to new customer segments
  • Happy Employees: 90% of employees who work for a company with a powerful purpose are more loyal and motivated
  • Risk Mitigation: When your company adheres to CSR best practices, you lower the risk of running into troubling financial or ethical situations

By marketing corporate social responsibility, you can expect loyal customers, enhanced visibility, happy employees, and long-term growth. 

Is CSR Valuable in Marketing?

In today’s ever-changing world, you should rely on more than traditional marketing tools to grow your company. Data and analytics are vital, but so are incorporating CSR strategies that will help your business connect with its customers on a more personal level. 

No matter what industry your business is in, it can benefit from CSR, making it an effective marketing tool that simultaneously supports your community.

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How to Incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility in Your Business

Maybe you already have some CSR initiatives, or perhaps you’re starting from scratch. Either way, it’s not too difficult to incorporate corporate social responsibility into your company’s day-to-day operations. You can always start small. For example, you can conduct an employee survey to find areas of improvement to increase their happiness.

There are many ways to establish new CSR practices, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different policies. Some additional examples include the following:

Create a Straightforward Code of Ethics

Establish a code of ethics that leaves no room for doubt about your company’s values. Make sure it’s accessible to every employee, and be open to new additions if your employees have suggestions.

Report Your Environmental Impact

If you’re taking steps to reduce any negative impacts your business may have on the environment, make it known! Produce a report documenting your company’s activities and the improvements you’re making to be more green. Make it public so community members can see and appreciate your progress.  

Establish an Employee Health Program

Create a health and safety program to protect employees from any accidents or injuries in the workplace. Assure them that their safety comes first and earn mutual trust and respect.

Donate Money to Charity

One of the fastest and easiest ways to incorporate CSR initiatives in your business is to pick a few causes in your community and donate to them. You can also use this practice to engage with customers. For example, you can create a poll on your social media pages every week where your followers can vote on their favorite charities.

When in doubt, partner with a knowledgeable marketing company to include CSR initiatives in your marketing campaigns.

Corporate Social Responsibility Is an Asset to Your Marketing Strategy

What is corporate social responsibility in marketing? CSR is what companies do to make a positive impact, and CSR in marketing is how companies communicate those actions to their audience. From going green to being transparent in what your business does and believes in, corporate social responsibility does more than just improve marketing campaigns — it makes the world a better place.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed