The return of billions of CSR investments is based on three pillars, social impact, integrating sustainability in business practices, and engagement with the stakeholders. Although, customers aren’t interested in the technical CSR theories however there is a direct connection between their purchase habits and a company’s involvement with the ethical business practices. A recent Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study 2015 reveals that in today’s date consumers feel personal accountability towards addressing social and environmental issues. A research conducted by them covering 100,000 customers across nine countries including India suggests that the customers have unanimous voice for the companies to act responsibly towards addressing these issues.
Fiinovation seconds the fact that in today’s date, the Internet savvy consumers are knowledgeable and keep a tab on a company’s business practices. Hence, social media plays a major role in connecting and educating the customers about their efforts and initiatives towards sustainability and social development. Consumers find social media as an important medium to learn, voice their opinions, raise concerns as well as appreciate brands for their remarkable initiatives in the field of social development. This phenomenon is especially observed in the developing countries. In India alone, 88% of the consumers use social media to engage with companies over CSR issues. The best method through which consumers would like to engage on CSR efforts are directly linked to their wallets with nine out of ten customers preferring to purchase 89% of the products based on companies’ ethical business practices.
Another study conducted in 2013, reveals that the consumers are using social media primarily on three different aspects. Primarily around 34% of the consumers use social media to share positive information about the companies and related issues. Secondly, 30% of them use social media to gather information about the companies and thirdly 25% of the customers use social media platforms to spread negative information.
Looking at this staggering research results it is evident that CSR is no just an investment rather its returns are carefully strategized around a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. An increasing number of companies are strategically integrating their philanthropic projects with their marketing agenda for higher stakeholder engagement and enhancing business reputation and increase their brand value.
The leading chip giant, Intel utilizes social media for improving it’s earth-friendly initiatives while engaging diverse sectors of information and communication technology and consumers. Mr. Michael Jacobson, Director CSR at Intel said, “My department takes advantage of social media by marketing the positive ways Intel is working to minimize its global carbon emissions, as well as the entire industry. There was a time when we only focused on reducing own environmental footprint,” said Jacobson. “Today, we look for ways to help reduce CO2 emissions across the board, and we do that by talking with our stakeholders individually through social media.”
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