We can’t ignore CSR, nor the Gen Y + Gen Z audiences

As you finalize your 2018 marketing budget, have you thought about plugging in a line item for corporate social responsibility? If not, now might be the time. Whether you’re a B2B company or a B2C brand, here’s why you want to take note:

  • 77% of consumers will share their positive opinions about companies doing good
  • 71% of Gen Ys/Millennials (born 1977-1995) are hoping businesses will take the lead in igniting change
  • 40% of all consumers globally by 2020 (2.56 billion people) will be Gen Z (born mid-1990s to mid-2000s) and their expectations of brands to address important social and environmental issues are high
  • 94% of Gen Zs believe companies should address social and environmental issues
  • 92% of Gen Zs would switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality

As the research shows, both Gen Y and Gen Z audiences are a group of early adopters and digital experts with voices that want to be heard (and can be heard). When it comes to building branding, messaging and marketing, this data is not something to ignore.

The best marketing for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should not be considered an altruistic behavior carried out by the company – nor as a tool to improve image – but more from an inside-out strategy that involves collaboration with the community, incorporating its concerns as part of its plan, and then committing. Not all companies can start from this point. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t begin CSR somewhere in your company.

A few examples of marketing CSR in business could include:

  • Developing a give back portion for nonprofits that align with your corporation values, possibly a percentage of sales (an example is the 1% pledge);
  • Launching an employee engagement (volunteer time by staff) to increase employee retention and recruitment;
  • Creating sustainability practices (green initiatives) which could be as simple as improving your recycling program; or
  • Reviewing your supply chain and manufacturing practices to create improvements in sustainability.

The bottom line: why is it important to add CSR into your 2018 plan:

  1. Because it shows to others that you believe in doing the right thing.
  2. Employees are looking for it and so are customers, partners and followers.
  3. It attracts new talent, investors and customers.
  4. Humanizes a brand and generates goodwill.
  5. Shows leadership.
  6. Brings departments and people together.
  7. It’s shareable and contagious.

Curious about building a comprehensive CSR marketing plan or CSR storytelling? As a B Corporation and certified CSR consultants, we’re here and ready to help.

Want more of the research? Get the full 2017 Gen Z CSR Study from Cone Communications