[PRESS OFFICE] A growing number of people expect businesses to be socially responsible, or at least show some awareness of issues that plague them and the world at large, writes Sizakele Nene.
While we’re aware of the fact that companies are really just there to generate profits, we know that they are run by human beings. Therefore, we expect those human beings to operate ethical businesses, and we’re not going to be impressed with their marketing efforts if they’re insensitive or derisive of social issues.
Why is it in a business’s best interests to display some level of social consciousness? Well, here are a few reasons.
Socially conscious marketing isn’t just a trend
Think about it this way, trends come in periodically, cause a stir and then disappear or evolve. Social issues aren’t the same, they’re imprinted in certain communities and affect large groups of people for a long time. It’s not cool or trendy to be in touch with your audiences’s issues, it’s humane. Furthermore, with the growth of social media, most individuals realise that they have a voice and they can use it to share their stance on the things that bother them.
However, these same individuals aren’t exactly bursting with confidence in the lawmakers and governments that ought to hear their voices and bring about some kind of social justice. And as a result, they’re looking to the private sector to make a difference. They’re looking to the same brands that they’ve been loyal to, to amplify their voice, since these brands have the platform and resources to make a greater impact.
It humanises the brand
A huge part of building a successful brand on social media is making the brand as human and relatable as possible. Your messaging and content ought to speak to your consumer in a way that resonates with them — whatever that means. And think about it, humans have issues and causes that matter to them, so naturally, they expect the brands they support to show some interest, participate in conversations and make some kind of an impact.
In being more human, it’s important to support a cause that’s relevant and meaningful to your audience. This means linking your social responsibility initiative to your product, without making it look forced. The truth is, you can’t fool consumers into believing in something that looks gimmicky or meaningless. In fact, 65% of respondents in the Cone Study on CSR and consumer sentiment, said that they’d actually do research on a company’s views on an issue to find out if they’ve made any genuine efforts. And sometimes, genuine effort isn’t just donating gross amounts of money to charities and organisations; it can be as simple as taking a stance on issues surrounding gender on social media, calling out something that’s offensive and creating content that’s inclusive, empathetic and inoffensive.
It just works
The Cone Study, which was carried out in 2017, showed that 63% of respondents expect businesses to use their influence to do good by championing causes that matter to them. Moreover, 87% said that they would actually make a purchase on a product from a company that supports a cause that they care about. So if you’re looking at the bottom line, being socially responsible could actually work in your company’s favour.
People share their activities, interests, views and even purchases with their various communities on social media. They want to be able to share things they can be proud of — since no one wants to be an outcast, or betray the issues that matter to them and their online community by supporting brands that appear disingenuous, out of touch or simply uncaring. Brands don’t exist in a vacuum; they actually play a huge role in the lives of the people who buy their products, and so they cannot be exempt from the conversations that matter to their consumers.
About the author
Sizakele Nene is an avid reader of historic novels and African literature. When she hasn’t got her nose stuck in a book, she’s fulfilling her role as a copywriter and community manager at Arc Interactive. For more information, visit . You can also follow Arc Interactive on LinkedIn, , and .