Business social responsibility (BSR), also known as company conscience and company citizenship, is generally defined as a company’s sense of responsibility toward the community in which it operates. However, it is much more than that.
In addition to community impact, BSR provides your company the opportunity to positively impact customers, stakeholders, employees, your company reputation and the bottom line. Yes, the bottom line. BSR is not about spending valuable resource dollars on a multitude of unrelated programs. It’s about leveraging your resources by incorporating your BSR program into a cohesive plan that aligns with your overall business strategy.
Why is this important?
Most customers agree that while achieving business targets, companies should have BSR programs at the same time. However, not all BSR activities are attractive to consumers. For example, BSR programs that may affect customer service are viewed by consumers in a negative light. Consumers are loyal and are willing to spend more money with businesses that support social initiatives that align with company goals. Authenticity and integrating BSR programs into your overall business strategy is key to enhancing your company’s reputation and differentiating your brand.
Attracting qualified staff requires significant resources and turnover is costly. BSR programs can assist in recruitment and retention, especially in competitive talent markets. Many perspective employees consider a company’s BSR policies, and BSR can improve the perception of existing staff members particularly when they are engaged in ongoing activities like volunteering and fundraising. If employees and vendors with a client-centric focus are important to your business, a BSR program should be too – it encourages customer orientation.
Tell your story!
An important component of integrating BSR into your organization’s business strategy is including it in your overall communication strategy. Having the best BSR program in your competitive set will not ultimately create success unless customers, employees, vendors and the community are aware of your efforts.
Some business owners may feel they are being boastful by publicizing their program. This is not the case when delivering an authentic message that aligns with your business goals and resisting the temptation to join the crowd supporting the latest popular cause.
Consistent messaging enhances company reputation, differentiates your brand and produces positive bottom line results. It also creates awareness, encouraging others to consider a business social responsibility plan of their own.