In times where many companies are losing trust with consumers due to either poor business ethics or requesting bailouts, there has been a greater emphasis on that “triple bottom line.” Assuming that companies will automatically regain trust when things turn around is flawed logic at this point in time. Many organizations are looking to regain the trust of their customers in the lean times so when business prospers again, it will reap even greater dividends. How are these companies re-gaining trust?
Corporate social responsiblity has been a nearly overused buzzword in the business world. Just type #csr into a Twitter search and see how many results pop up. Companies are looking beyond just their end results and seeing how their business practices will help those around them. For many companies, these efforts take shape in the form of
sustainability practices – how to reduce their carbon footprint in their day to day operations. For example, Starbucks took their initiative in reducing paper waste by offering free coffee to individuals who brought in re-usable coffee mugs.
Some brands are taking CSR beyond the realm of environmental issues. One of the largest brands in the world, Proctor and Gamble, have extremely diversified CSR efforts, ranging from providing clean water in Africa to providing assistance and disaster relief to other parts of the globe. This is obviously a costly venture for P&G along with other brands who participate in similar undertakings. So why invest in it?
Some would argue that these brands have a “with great power comes great responsibility” mindset. In a way, that could very well be true. These companys could have people of high integrity at the helm. There is also another purpose however. Companies who are perceived to be using their resources for good tend to be trusted more than other brands. Consumers are more likely to do business with brands they trust than brands they are either indifferent about or don’t trust. So overall, these socially responsible investments will not only help the world but could also have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line. This technique is not only used to build trust of consumers but to build trust among its employees and improve engagement and employee retention.
What brands do you see using CSR as trust building tools?