Creating a Winning CSR Strategy
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can bolster your brand image, inspire and motivate your staff, and can even boost your company’s value. However, implementing a CSR strategy that aligns with your brand can be difficult and confusing. This blog will help you develop a structured plan that leads to long-term success in achieving your sustainability goals, and in return leads to genuine value creation.
The purpose of your CSR campaign is to resolve social issues and problems within your industry. You should start by collecting a list of economic, environmental and social issues present in your industry and then remove the issues that are not related to your brand values. You can also consult your employees and customers to identify issues that your stakeholders are passionate about.
Planning your Strategy
After you have established the social problem you want to solve it is time to create a detailed strategy. The best CSR strategies also provide the opportunity to highlight your company’s culture and to further establish your desired brand image. In addition, if your company has key strengths or knowledge in specific areas then you can base your CSR strategy on this expertise. This will reduce the amount of resources that you need to invest into your strategy, whether that’s financial resources or employees’ time.
One of the best ways to ensure that your CSR strategy becomes part of the day-to-day workings of your business is to involve all employees, including those at C-Level. In fact, as CSR contributes to the identity of a business it makes sense that CEO’s and top executives play a part in directing CSR strategies.
Once you have created a draft CSR strategy and involved all members of staff you can conduct a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) to refine and improve your plan.
Set SMART Goals
Next, you should set some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) to accompany your strategy. When identifying social issues it is easier to approach the task from a macro level, but when setting your goals you should work on a micro-level. By doing so you will find it easier to set true SMART goals that will lead to a greater chance of success.
Measuring the performance of your CSR campaign is important because it will enable you to showcase to stakeholders that your strategy is positively impacting your business and that you are working towards your end goals. This will ensure that you continue to receive support for your initiatives.
Finally, it is time to put your strategy into practice. Implementing your CSR strategy is the most exciting part of the journey, so breathe, relax and enjoy.
Post campaign implementation it is vital that you promote the positive work you have been doing; marketing your efforts can improve your brand reputation and increase your brand’s appeal.
Promotion tools you can use are:
– Your Website
– Social Media
– Press Releases
– Ambassador Programmes
Whilst you evidently should promote the positives of your efforts, you should consider being honest about your downfalls when they occur. A great example is the dairy alternative business Oatly, who recently acknowledged they were too slow in using paper straws for their products. They announced on social media that they ‘Suck’ (pun intended) and highlighted their efforts to make up for their slow adoption of paper straws. By being honest you portray your business as authentic and trustworthy.
Once you have completed these stages it is time to evaluate the success of your CSR work so you can use the knowledge you have gained on future campaigns!