Increasing Significance of CSR in Driving Brand Value for Corporates

Deepa Menon, SVP - CSR & Corporate Communication, PVR Deepa has over 18 years of experience in media & communication, public relations, stakeholder management, crisis & risk management, corporate social responsibility, social & development communication, public & governmental affairs.

According to a report by the International Journal of Business and Social Science, in the ongoing scenario CSR activity is no more an optional strategy, but an integral part of the core strategies of any firm. Increasing awareness amongst consumers and corporates is one of the key drivers in making ‘corporate social responsibility’ which is essential part of the brand affinity. Thus, the more socially responsible a company is, the more likely it is able to develop trust and good will among patrons.

Organisations continuously communicate their values to the audience to position themselves as different and unique than others. An addition of CSR offers a different value, i.e.,‘moral value’. Apart from a brand’s unique offerings, customers in today’s era are more curious to know how a brand is different, more diverse and inclusive. All of these points build an identity for the brand and further enhance the credibility of a proactive brand, among the stakeholders.

The growth of the society, where in one function is equally imperative for the growth of the business. Investment in nation building initiatives enables brands to install sustainable growth models - accelerating industry development. Many organizations in India realized this before the Indian Companies Act,2013 mandated big organisations to invest in socially responsible initiatives.Large corporations demonstrate having social consciousness through dedicated departments, which are tasked to
take care of matters relative to their social accountability.

A major decision for a large organization, before streamlining its CSR activities, is to decide which cause or issue connects more to the vision of the company. Further, the organization should identify the right beneficiaries who will be impacted to build a sustainable model for the programs. Following are a few key thematic, which highlight the significance of corporate social responsibility for brands:

"Not only adhering to the ethical practices, but also involving the workforce in the CSR initiatives can boost the morale of the employees and build on the employee engagement aspect within the company"

Direct Engagement with the Stakeholders
CSR inherently walks side-by-side with social marketing and brand reputation along with societal contributions. Brands investing in the social development and empowerment activities of their beneficiaries through selective programs and enable them to engage directly with the stakeholders. It drives brand awareness in addition to creating a personal connection with the audience. In today’s global market landscape, brand retention in the consumer mind is a lookout for each industry player. A socially responsible brand through its initiatives and innovative tools is coming forward to stand-by the global issues, which lay an impact on the larger audience. This instils trust amongst people in specific geographies where corporates function. Further, through an apt use of communication mediums in an age of social media; companies can effectively echo its philosophy of social responsibility to a wider audience in the real-time.

Patrons Prefer ‘Socially Responsible’Brands
Patrons are becoming more aware of issues prevailing at a local, national and global level and at PVR; we have observed that their decisions are greatly influenced by these issues. Hence, they want to spend or invest in companies that are sensitive and cautious about the issues that resonate to their stakeholders. Integrating ethical practices in a plethora of services that companies offer, help consumers to connect with the brand more. According to a study by Nielson, 50 percent of consumers surveyed globally are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that operate on social values and have implemented programs, which give back to society. In fact, 45 percent of consumers demonstrate their willingness and not hesitation to pay more, as long as it is with a company that they trust due, in large part, to their social responsibility measures.

The Boost in Employee’s Engagement
Not only adhering to the ethical practices, but also involving the workforce in the CSR initiatives can boost the morale of the employees and build on the employee engagement aspect within the company. The workforce tends to be highly motivated when they know they are contributing to the greater cause that makes a good impact in the society. Instilling the same perspective as of managements’,towards a goal leads to a larger impact.