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Every type of business, whether small or large, needs a marketing strategy to be successful. Marketing strategies can differ depending on what goods and services companies are offering and how each company is trying to brand itself. However, there is one aspect of marketing that every company should incorporate into their strategy and that is corporate social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is a form of self-regulation that businesses use to manage the effects that they have on the social, environmental, political and economic factors of the world. By taking part in CSR activities, companies are making a commitment to being good corporate citizens.

Although CSR is not one of the traditional components of a marketing strategy, like research or pricing, it can easily be integrated into the mix. Businessknowhow.com has a list of 10 key elements of a marketing strategy, and CSR can fit into several of them. For example, social responsibility can be a part of a company’s mission statement or it can be used in branding efforts.

At Inner Spark Creative, building marketing and branding strategies are two of our specialties, so we know exactly how to implement social responsibility efforts into your marketing mix. However, before we help you plan your strategy, it is important to understand why CSR is important and to decide what type you want your company to participate in.

Every year it becomes increasingly more important for companies to be viewed as not only good corporate citizens, but also activists for a variety of causes. When companies achieve and maintain this image, the benefits are ample, making it a great marketing tool.

For example, a recent study done by Forrester Research found that “52% of U.S. consumers factor values into their purchase choices, seeking brands that proactively promote beliefs and values aligned with their own.” According to investopedia.com, another recent study found that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more money for a product or service, if the company they are buying from demonstrates a social commitment.

Companies can build their brand and support it by actively participating in CSR activities, according to Forbes.com. From the consumer’s perspective, CSR gives your company moral value and a human feel by continuously educating, informing and raising awareness about global issues and causes.

However, there are endless amounts of causes for your business to support and numerous ways for it to show its commitment to being a good corporate citizen. There are four main categories that CSR activities can be classified under including environmental efforts, ethical labor practices, philanthropy and volunteerism. The type of CSR activity that your company should get involved in depends on which one aligns best with the product/service being offered, the mission statement and the company size.

Environmental Efforts: In the last couple of decades, companies who are participating in any form of campaign or activity aimed at curbing global warming have received praise and support from the majority of consumers. There are copious amounts of ways to participate in this CSR category including recycling, switching from plastic to paper straws, using clean energy sources and any effort to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

If you believe that this is the right type of social responsibility for your company, we can help you fit it into your marketing strategy and make sure that the word gets out about your commitment to the planet.

Ethical Labor Practices: This type of CSR is as simple as treating your employees well and paying them fairly. Participating in ethical labor practices is a great fit for companies who outsource work in foreign countries or buy products from foreign countries.

For companies who want to follow this path, we recommend engaging in fair trade practices, which according to the Oxford Dictionary is “trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers.”

Philanthropy: According to businessnewsdaily.com, companies can practice social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social causes and nonprofits. Your business can do this in a variety of different ways including straightforward monetary or product donations and hosting fundraising events.

This type of CSR is easy to take part in and good for brand image, which makes it a great form of marketing. At Inner Spark Creative, we can help you plan and implement these events along with marketing them on your social media accounts and writing blog posts about your company’s efforts.

Volunteerism: Volunteering at local charities is a great way to show your company’s commitment to the community. It can be as simple as having your employees work a couple of hours at a food drive or walk dogs at an animal shelter.

Volunteering is possibly the easiest form of social responsibility to market. There are endless ways to show your service to the community such as posting pictures on social media sites and advertising the charity events on your company’s media outlets.

At Inner Spark Creative, we are experts when it comes to developing, implementing and evaluating marketing strategies. We know which elements are most important and how to highlight different aspects of your company. If you are interested in improving your brand image while being a good corporate citizen, give us a call today, and we will help you make a plan.

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