Note: This article was written for a client in the office supplies and corporate social responsibility space.
We all want to be socially responsible and we want the same from the brands we transact with – both personally and professionally. In fact, we expect brands and corporations alike to be socially responsible. A 2014 Nielsen study revealed, “55% of global online consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.”
However, social responsibility is more than just community expectations and moral duty. Consumers and employees alike celebrate corporate responsibility and both perceive it as a big player in making choices about purchases and lifestyles. Both groups have expressed a heightened willingness to buy and partner with businesses that practice social responsibility.
For trulyMAD Houston, CSR is built into its business model, making it easy for its partners to execute CSR with very little effort. Through its turnkey CSR efforts, trulyMAD and its partners have helped organizations like M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Food Bank, and Crime Stoppers of Houston, truly make a positive difference in the local area for the long-term.
And there is plenty of data that shows doing good is not only the way of the business world today, it’s also on the minds of consumers worldwide. So we asked the experts to identify the Top 5 Benefits of Being Socially Responsible. Here’s what they said:
- Consumers Will Pay For It
Study after study cites consumers are more willing to spend money with brands that do the right thing. Research from a 2013 study at Cone Communications/Echo Global showed, “90 percent of shoppers worldwide [are] likely to switch to brands that support a good cause.” That same study showed, “90% of consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.”
And this isn’t a new trend, a study in Forbes published back in 2010 showed the average consumer would drive an extra 11 minutes to buy a product that supported a cause. More recent studies confirm the fact: consumers will stop buying from non-supportive companies and switch to socially responsible companies. The globalization of the economy has given consumers the power of choice, and according to the results of a 2015 Cone
Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, consumers choose to buy from companies that are socially responsible.
- 91% expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues
- 84% say they seek out responsible products whenever possible 3. 90% would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible or deceptive business practices
What this means for you: Through purchasing office supplies with trulyMAD Houston, organizations demonstrate a willingness to support the local community. This sends a valuable message and connects organizations with like-minded consumers, while increasing awareness of a firm’s CSR efforts. As the numbers above suggest, an organization that supports the community and practices good CSR is more likely (90% more likely) to attract customers in this consumer-driven economy.
- It Will Increase Sales and Reduce Costs
For businesses, social responsibility is more than just luring in more customers; it’s about having your team believe in your mission. More than ever before, people want to work for a socially responsible company. According to Net Impact’s What Workers Want report:
- 45% of employees would take a 15% pay cut for a job that makes a social or environmental impact
- Another 51% of workers say that helping “make a better world” and making a “contribution to society” are essential attributes for their ideal job
So as employees feel empowered and prideful about their company’s social responsibility, they’re 60% more engaged in their job. And over time, engaged employees have proven to perform higher than their peers. Another benefit: these same engaged employees, stay with the company longer, which reduces replacement costs that can be worth as much as 150% of an employee salary.
Finally, improved employee collaboration and communication skills enhance operations and business processes, thus reducing expenses.
What this means for you: Through purchasing office supplies with trulyMAD Houston, organizations demonstrate to its employees a commitment to the community and positive CSR. As the numbers above state, this is essential for employee pride and satisfaction and can create 60% more engagement in their job and increased production – a win-win for everyone.
As the great Jack Welch said, “A company’s greatest asset is its people.”
- It Fosters Loyalty, Innovation and Collaboration
Not only does CSR retain good talent, employees that are engaged in socially good activities are more likely to become more innovative and collaborative leaders. In fact, volunteer programs where employees engage in skills-based projects that develop technical expertise and improve soft skills have proven to develop leadership, innovation, communication, and collaboration.
This is something to keep in mind as millennials increase buying power and flood the workforce. A 2016 Deloitte Survey found millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal, and satisfied employees, as compared to those who rarely or never volunteer. They are also:
- Twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive • More likely to be very proud to work for their company
- More likely to feel very loyal toward their company
- More likely to work harder for their company
This idea of “making a direct social and environmental impact through my job” has measurable benefits to both people and profits. In a Society for Human Resources Management study, companies with strong sustainability programs had:
- 55% better morale
- 43% more efficient businesses processes
- 43% stronger public image
- 38% better employee loyalty
As Deloitte’s CEO, Barry Salzberg, said in Deloitte’s Volunteer IMPACT Research study, “By intentionally linking two often unconnected areas like community involvement and training, innovating companies can cost effectively meet business goals while releasing new resources for the community. It’s a powerful combination.”
What this means for you: Through purchasing office supplies with trulyMAD Houston, organizations demonstrate to its employees a commitment to the community and positive CSR, keeping employees engaged in their work and positive about the company they work for. This can have a lasting effect on a business, as engaged, happy workers are 22% more productive than unhappy workers. Engaged employees are also 38% more loyal, which reduces replacement costs that can be worth as much as 150% of an employee salary.
- It Improves Public Image
A positive public perception of your company is paramount for longevity. The more aware consumers are of your social responsibility programs, the more likely they are to support your brand. A recent study by CSR Consulting firm,
Double the Donation found, “companies that demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as more philanthropic than companies whose corporate social responsibility endeavors are nonexistent.” In fact, the study claims a corporation’s public image is at the mercy of its social responsibility programs and how aware consumers are of those programs. Moreover, it’s important for institutions to realize, people like to feel good, and shopping with a company they know is doing good makes them happy. The Cone study confirms it stating, “57% percent would purchase a product of lesser quality or efficacy if it was more socially or environmentally responsible.”
Today, consumers feel a personal accountability to approach social and environmental issues and look to companies as partners to help solve social issues. The Cone study proves this ideology:
- 52% made at least one purchase in the past six months from one or more socially responsible companies
- 52% check product packaging to ensure a sustainable impact • 49% volunteer and/or donate to organizations engaged in social and environmental programs
This trend is not going away anytime soon and the data proves it. As this trend continues and brands seek to make their mark as socially responsible champions, the media’s coverage of such entities will only increase and continue to sway buyers towards them. As Andrew Boardman, CEO of Man Over Board states, “Corporate Social Responsibility is impacting how investors, consumers, activists, and communities respond to brands with not only with their wallets, but with their employment choices, their influence, and their consumption and purchasing behaviors.”
What this means for you: we all know how a good public image can improve business. Through purchasing office supplies with trulyMAD Houston, organizations display a commitment to the local community, which improves public image through good press, leading to more positive public interest. Demonstrating this type of CSR promotes respect for a company in the marketplace, which can result in higher sales, enhance employee morale and loyalty, and attract better personnel to your firm. That’s a lot to gain from building CSR through buying office supplies.
- It’s a Moral Imperative
As a business, you are better positioned to create long-term, sustainable change than other entities. And according to Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer at the Harvard Business Review, businesses can make a bigger impact than any other institution: “when a well-run business applies its vast resources, expertise, and management talent to problems that it understands and in which it has a stake, it can have a greater impact on social good than any other institution or philanthropic organization.”
Large or small, it’s an organization’s moral duty to leverage its resources and power and use them to build a more responsible and sustainable world. In addition, organizations have an obligation to help reform the parts of the world that have helped them become successful. In his HBR post, Invest in Communities to Advance Capitalism, Howard Shultz profoundly states, “As corporate citizens of the world, it is our responsibility – our duty – to serve the communities where we do business.”
Data and current trends show this movement is becoming increasingly more popular and beneficial to companies of all sizes and point to the reality that a company’s future success hinges on its ability to do good through day-to-day operations.
What this means for you: Through purchasing office supplies with trulyMAD Houston, organizations exhibit the commitment to the local community consumers have come to expect – 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.
So as Hillel the Elder put it, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”
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