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What Is Corporate Social Responsibility — CSR?

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Image credit: Kokliang/Shutterstock

Consumers, employees and stakeholders are beginning to prioritize CSR… are you?

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Like any well-run non-profit public media organization, WDET’s mission and values correspond well with the theme of CSR.  And, in today’s socially conscious environment, employees and customers place a premium on working for and spending their money with businesses that prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR).  In Public Media, this refers to a concept we call ‘The Halo Affect,’ meaning that businesses and organizations that choose to support and partner with public media companies like WDET benefit from the “halo” of credibility, responsibility and community focused mission that public media companies represent.

A report from the Business News Daily written by Skye Schooley earlier this year sites a number of interviews and research that supports this premise.

CSR has a positive impact on social, economic and environmental factors. Katie Schmidt, the founder and lead designer of Passion Lilie, said CSR can positively impact your business by improving your company image, building your brand and motivating you as a business owner. ”What the public thinks of your company is critical to its success,” Schmidt told Business News Daily. “By building a positive image that you believe in, you can make a name for your company as being socially conscious.”

Consumers, employees and stakeholders are beginning to prioritize CSR when choosing a brand or company. “A robust CSR program is an opportunity for companies to demonstrate their good corporate citizenship … and protect the company from outsized risk by looking at the whole social and environmental sphere that surrounds the company,” said Jen Boynton, CEO of B Targeted Marketing Co.

To illustrate how critical social responsibility has become, research by Cone Communications found that:

  • More than 60% of Americans hope businesses will drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation.
  • Nearly 90% of the consumers surveyed said they would purchase a product because a company supported an issue they care about.
  • More importantly, roughly 75% will refuse to buy from a company if they learn it supports an issue contrary to their own beliefs.

Consumers deserve to share in the good feelings associated with doing the right thing, and many surveys have found that consumers are inclined to purchase a sustainable product over a conventional alternative,” she said. “Announcing these benefits is a win-win from both a commercial and sustainability perspective.”

CSR is good for company recruiting and retention too! Susan Cooney, head of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec, said that a company’s sustainability strategy is a big factor in where today’s top talent chooses to work.

The next generation of employees is seeking out employers that are focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet and revenue,” said Cooney. “Coming out of the recession, corporate revenue has been getting stronger. Companies are encouraged to put that increased profit into programs that give back.”

Building a socially responsible business

One great example of a socially responsible company is the growing local business Avalon International Breads with five locations, headquartered in Midtown Detroit.  Avalon and their co-founder Jackie Victor believe deeply in CSR and have committed their business mission to the triple bottom line of Earth, Community, Employees. Their motto is Eat Well. Do Good. I invite you to learn more about this wonderful business at http://www.avalonbreads.net/about-us/triple-bottom-line/

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In addition, they have been a great partner to WDET. For a recent WDET fundraiser they hosted a number of our members on a behind the scenes tour and baking class with our own Ann Delisi.  Thank you, Avalon for being such a great supporter and believer in public radio and WDET.

There are four basic corporate responsibility types your business can practice. Recognizing how important socially responsible efforts are to their customers, employees and stakeholders, many companies now focus on a few broad CSR categories:

  1. Environmental efforts: One primary focus of corporate social responsibility is the environment.
  2. Philanthropy: Businesses can practice social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social causes and nonprofits.
  3. Ethical labor practices: By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can demonstrate their social responsibility.
  4. Volunteering: Attending volunteer events says a lot about a company’s sincerity.

By adopting socially responsible practices early on, you can set the bar for your industry and refine your process. Undertaking CSR initiatives is truly a win for everyone involved. To read the entire Business News Daily article and accompanying links click here.

CSR with WDET

For any sized business with any sized budget, underwriting with WDET is a way for your business to support our mission (the CSR) and by doing so you will reach a targeted, loyal audience of potential consumers in an authentic, uncluttered, trusted environment.  Contact us online or by calling (313) 577-4255 so we can start the conversation today to help with your CSR initiative. 



This post is a part of WDET B2B Marketing Insights & Business Engagement Playbook.

Marketing, advertising, and branding insights for organizations large or small.  Business growth and customer engagement best practices and strategies for social media, digital, traditional media, event and more. 

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