[PRESS OFFICE] All across South Africa, on 18 July people will be doing their 67 minutes for Mandela Day to show that they care about those less fortunate than themselves. Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is a powerful tool to develop your brand’s image. Here’s why.
What is CSI?
CSI is an initiative undertaken – by a company or an individual – that is not profit driven. Its aim is to provide communities in need with what they require. For example, a company may decide to donate food to a charity who provides shelter to abused women or rally their staff to paint the walls of a home – which provides a home for abandoned children – because they need these walls to be painted.
Often thought of as a synonym for CSI, the term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) refers to a particular company’s CSI initiatives.
CSI and your company’s brand
“In the digital marketing field,” says Lisa Schneider: managing director of the Digital School of Marketing, “you brand is so much more than a logo or a slogan. Yes, these two elements do form an integral part of what a brand is but – on top of this – a brand consists of the feelings that your customers and potential customers have about your organisation.”
In other words, you have to position your brand correctly so that your customers continue to make positive associations with your brand and company.
Alice M Tybout and Brian Sternthai – in their chapter entitled Brand Positioning in the book Kellogg on Branding: The Marketing Faculty of the Kellogg School of Management – define this as ‘brand positioning’: “Brand positioning refers to the specific, intended meaning for a brand in consumers’ minds … a brand’s positioning articulates the goal that a consumer will achieve by using the brand and explains why it is superior to other means of accomplishing this goal.”[i]
Instituting a CSI initiative in your company can help to position your company’s brand, in the minds of consumers, as a caring brand, one that is not just interested in making a profit but is concerned about giving some of this profit back to the community. CSI gives your brand soul.
The community is always wanting to support initiatives that go towards improving the lives of others who have much less than they do. If you, as a corporate or small business, show your target audience that you’re also on board with the particular need, you’ll get those people – who are also interested in supporting the cause – engaging with your brand.
Obviously, you cannot look at CSI as purely a marketing initiative. Your primary goal must be benefiting those who are in need because if it comes out that you’re just using it as a publicity stunt, people will shun your brand. And, chances are very good that you won’t be able to win them back. So, tread carefully when it comes to CSI and make sure that you firmly outline what your ambitions in this arena area.
At the Digital School of Marketing, we’re passionate about helping business develop their brands and assisting them to position themselves well in the minds of their consumers. The Digital School of Marketing is an online provider of accredited digital marketing education which will allow you to get an edge over your competitors. To find out more, visit our website on www.digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za. call us on 0861 428 710 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the conversations: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
[i] Tybout, A.M. and Sternthal, B. 2005. ‘Brand Positioning’ in Alice M. Tybout and Tim Calkins (eds) Kellogg on Branding: The Marketing Faculty of The Kellogg School of Management. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
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