The relationship between customers and brands has evolved over the years. More and more corporations are paying attention to how clients interact with their brands. In the digital age, consumers have a powerful voice that shapes corporate policies, impacts brand reputation, and affects sales. Hence the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Eric-Theodore Yepao is the founder and CEO of Nordland Holding Europe GmbH, a company that focuses on the construction and investment of private cities. Private cities are regions owned by organizations or individuals who provide all the necessary services to the residents. This model of government allows the region to have its own taxation, administration, and financial systems. Eric believes that companies have an obligation to contribute to the well-being of all their stakeholders including but not limited to, employees and surrounding communities. Today his business has grown to include dealings in many countries and cities, including Paris, France.
What is CSR?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s commitment to being more legally and ethically aligned with the community’s rules, goals, and guidelines. A good CSR policy holds the corporation accountable not just to the authorities and its own stakeholders but to the public as well. According to Eric-Theodore Yepao, this social accountability is at the heart of CSR and it has a great impact on brand reputation and sales.
Consumers these days judge a company not just by the quality of its products and services, but also by its commitment to enriching the community and improving the lives of its members. The more favorable people’s perception of a company, the more likely they are to purchase its products, invest in its stocks, or recommend it to others.
Marketing and sales don’t exist in a vacuum and brand reputation is closely related to the presence of a robust CSR strategy or the lack thereof. That strategy includes, among other things, how ethical the company is and whether or not it proactively engages with the local community.
The Path to CSR
Companies have many ways to maintain a good CSR policy that yields favorable results. The way Eric-Theodore Yepao sees it, when it comes to helping local communities and making a real impact on people’s lives, nothing beats philanthropy and donating to charities. It’s a fail-safe strategy to help people by sponsoring local programs and supporting local teams. Along with philanthropy, adhering to ethical practices and improving work conditions are good ways to show the community that the company cares about them and has their best interests at heart. In addition, both volunteering and environmental policies will put the company in the good graces of the public.
CSR and Brand Reputation
According to Eric-Theodore Yepao, one of the main reasons CSR has such a powerful impact on brand reputation is that it tends to portray the CEO of the company as a socially responsible person. It shows that the company adheres to strong ethical values and actually cares about the community. This in effect improves the consumers’ engagement with the brand and brings it closer to their hearts. Recent research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for the services of a company that has cultivated a strong brand affinity.
But good CSR work isn’t just about improving brand reputation and increasing sales. It’s also about making the brand stand out. When all else is equal, a company that takes its social responsibility seriously distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack. As long as the CSR strategy doesn’t just come from the top and instead gets all employees involved with social programs, the good-will message will resonate with the public and reflect on brand reputation.
How to Make CSR Work
While in CSR every little endeavor counts, a well-thought-out strategy pays dividends. Eric-Theodore Yepao recommends choosing a worthy cause that has a greater impact on people’s lives. From renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions to saving honeybees, there’s no shortage of good causes worth fighting for.
It is also worth considering incorporating the CSR policy into the brand. Not only will that raise the brand’s favorability among consumers, but it will also show the public that CSR is part of the company’s core values.