Brands Today & Corporate Social Responsibility in True Spirit

Corporate Social Responsibility has been consistently becoming a key area for emerging new business models as the top level managements of global and local investment giants representing brands that fall into the categories of education, FMCG, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, personal care, infant care, energy, telecom, agriculture, oil & gas, banking, homecare, paints, chemicals & manufacturing are dwelling into deep waters for finding new ways of reaching out towards the under developed geographies & rural masses of each region they’ve been striving with business efforts in, making herculean efforts to create social impact which is something beyond business for the society.

In Pakistan, the concept of CSR is mostly confused with charity among the masses, focusing on how much donations an organization contributes to programs whereas these corporations contribute towards the skill development, education, health, environment, emergency relief efforts with a long term approaches in philanthropy. It is very clear that CSR is a marketing effort holistically, which in return boasts sustainability.

Suman Valeecha, faculty at the Institute of Business Management, member of WASS (World Academy Of Social Sciences) & SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute) and a published author in the European Journal of Social Sciences, along with other social scientists around the globe emphasize on business organizations treating social investments as sustainable business models like other business investments, potentially are the ones considered as harnessing the best value out of their CSR initiatives, which aren’t just activities but rather self-sustainable movements as a result of the push of the right interventions, that bolster targeted societies in terms of change of behavior with a track of constant improvement, better living standards and national economy through the process.

Development through involvement of rural masses in collaboration with the corporate sector is a case of co-creation of much more profitable business models provided that sustainability is a core element for a consistent give and take, the theory proposes to reach out to the base of the economic pyramid, and from its application organizations need to bring out radical transformations within societies by this business approach.

The late Prof. CKN Prahallad, who conceptualized and envisioned ‘fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid’, the co-creation of a corporate rural partnership in bringing about transformational changes in the economy.
(Gronroos and Voima, 2013)
Discussion ~ Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainable Development | Pakistan Business Review Jan 15

This is why the justification for CSR activities is about building a sustainable business which in turn relies on healthy economies involving markets, making positive changes to the community and the environment.

Unfortunately, as marketing students and consumers ourselves, by observing brand activities we are surprised to know that not only in Pakistan but in several developing nations, there exists a lack of veracity behind rolling out and about the pride the respective corporate sectors enjoy via CSR efforts and is generally used as a gimmick to enhance the corporate image and false belief among the consumers & communities, seeking advocacy to have an edge over competition, in fact a new race has begun between specific category competitors by means of showing filmed imagery of orchestrated hypocrisy, making a mockery of corporations who actually serve the communities in true spirit, and don’t even promote their efforts commercially.

The absolute heartbreaker is that the executioners manage to make a getaway in countries with low cognition levels among the mass consumer, even with the market footprint of multinational brands and corporations who enjoy the trust of consumers around the world based on their global CSR values, models and programs.

This happens when company values fail to comprehend employees, and long term milestones are shadowed by short termed outcomes. For the developing countries, these multinational corporations are the greatest hope of impeccable business ethics, encouraging good manufacturing practice and taking pride on corporate social responsibility based on sincerity and reciprocal altruism, leading the way through their products and setting an example for the rest, and we certainly don’t want a bad one, do we?