We all know how good it feels to help someone in need, however, did you know giving back to someone can also boost your business? By supporting your community and attaching to certain social initiatives, you can not only better distinguish your brand and connect people to your business, but you can also drive more sales. We live in a new world, a world where customers no longer just want to buy products or services, but want to make purchases that mean something, that stand for something more. Consumers today make decisions based not only on the product’s quality, but on the company’s reputation. Having altruism synonymous with your brand can actually make you sales, while also using your power as a business to do good for those around you.
How Altruism Gives Back to Your Business
Social Media has forever changed the game, or “flattened it”, as Oksana Tashakova likes to say. Customers are now in control. With this, in today’s increasingly busy world, consumers don’t necessarily have the time to go out and volunteer for a cause, so they want their products to do it for them. They want what they buy to be a reflection of their own identity. As AdWeek notes, “75 percent of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55 percent of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don’t.” See, it does in fact pay to do good. Knowing the affects that social responsibility can have for your business, how do you go about successfully implementing such initiatives?
1) Find a Cause That Aligns With Your Customers - Your customers want more than a product, they want an ideal they can readily attach to and feel good about. By ascribing to certain social initiatives that are important to your current or even sought after customers (this is key) you can better define and connect people to your brand. This allows you to transform your business into something more than just the product or service that comprises it. Dove, a toiletries company, was able to renovate itself into a beauty company for women through its “Campaign for Real Beauty,” where it aligns with causes battling body image and eating disorders. By adopting certain influential causes that are important to your consumers and making them your own, you can in turn connect people to your business, allowing them to feel a loyalty to your initiative, which can, at times, create stronger bonds than your product can.
2) Build a Brand Around That Cause - By attaching to certain environmental issues and making company decisions based upon them, Whole Foods has come to a point where their cause is inseparable from the company. This has allowed Whole Foods to transform from a grocery store into a place where people can also support the environment and green initiatives. Think about it: as a consumer, you have to buy groceries from somewhere. If the environment is an important issue to you, wouldn’t you choose the grocery store that puts money into this idea and practices the concepts, versus a grocery store who just isn’t doing anything? You’re giving consumers more factors to consider when they are making purchasing decisions.
3) Show Them You Care - It’s not enough to simply say you are socially responsible; you must demonstrate it. Whether that means going out and personally volunteering at a soup kitchen with your office, donating money to cancer research or holding a walk-a-thon for disabled veterans, you must do as you say. In fact, not doing so can actually have a negative effect on your brand. One of BP’s main issues with touting itself as a green company is that it didn’t back up those promises with substantial action. As Harvard professor Stephen Greyser says, BP made these claims, “without significantly altering the company’s operations to reflect that commitment.” One of the most important rules of being socially responsible, while seemingly obvious, is that you have to actually make it a priority. You would be surprised how many companies get this wrong. It’s not some elaborate trick or some grand illusion, but by being legitimately altruistic and doing some good in the community, your customers will reward you in turn.
This post was written by Arie Hefter.