Why is Social Responsibility and Accountability Consequential for Brands Today
COVID-19 is an enemy that reaches everyone in the society and it is hard to ignore it. People are inside their homes and are keeping an eye on governments, companies, and personalities and how they react amid the crisis that leaves the world and every facet of the society petrified.
Our current generation and the upcoming generations are undoubtedly more concerned about brands as accountable entities with social responsibilities more than just being corporate identities. Today, we appreciate brands with progressive beliefs and mindsets that are geared towards social justice and the common good of the social facets around them.
Companies are boosting their efforts to focus on social responsibilities like protecting the environment, attempting to demolish poverty, and disagreeing with inequitable government campaigns, on local, or global levels. Socially responsible brands have dominion over projecting attractive images to both shareholders and the general public.
Positive Brand Recognition
People gladly pay for premiums, services, and goods knowing that part of the profits will go to social causes that are near and relevant to them. Personal brands similarly work this way on a micro-scale connected to social empathy and sensitivity.
The pandemic already has a significant impact on social media influencers and personal brands who had expletive rants against the vulnerable portion of the society for going out to maintain a livelihood. The explicit disregard of empathy and reason to understand the suffering of the marginalized during the pandemic sparked outrage.
The lack of social responsibility and attention to those who are suffering below will inevitably impact future identities of personal brands.
No one will want to work with arrogant people who exclude the poor while selectively sympathizing with people that only concern and benefit them.
On the other hand, companies, and individuals who exert efforts to aid those who are in need without expecting any immediate returns often have long-term benefits. For example, an insurance company extending grace periods on premium payments during the pandemic will likely have more clients from low-income families due to the impression that it has a better and flexible understanding of financial complications rather than just pushing for making a profit.
A successful individual with good moral reasoning is more respectable than a successful person with only money and influence at his disposal.
Authenticity in Purpose
Our generation and younger generations are out there eager to make a difference in the world. Companies that have a moral position to do the same rather than merely making money with the disregard of the rights of their working force, inattention to the marginalized, and concern to the environment are poised to last in their industries.
Businesses, leaders, and brands that don’t care about social injustices and fail to critically help address them in creative and proactive ways will not attract innovation in the future.
Attracting and engaging with employees is no longer concerning rewards nor free food. Consistency and authenticity to connect employees to the core mission (why you exist) matters more.
A Nielsen survey states that 67% of employees prefer to work for a socially responsible company.
“Socially responsible companies tend to attract employees who are eager to make a difference in the world — in addition to simply collecting a paycheck.” — CHRIS B. MURPHY
Claims can be easily incorporated in an individualistic standpoint for personal brands. For example, a brand aims to help people get educated about personal finance but when the pandemic hits, questionable remarks from the same brands surfaced.
The social responsibility was to educate but it is counterproductive to chastise those who they failed to educate. Reproving those who are less fortunate and putting disregard to their reasons on why they can’t simply follow government efforts to halt all livelihood activities without economic safety nets are signs of lack of authenticity.
Some even went as far as using assumptive and insensitive rhetoric that the majority of the poor are irresponsible and freeloaders of the economy dismissing any chances of their efforts to get out of their social situation.
“Positive feelings are related to social approval and self-respect.” — Timothy Creel
It is important to be sensitive to issues especially if there are no efforts to help. Words themselves are sharp and venomous and it can hit and offend anyone. That means imminent death to a personal and corporate brand.
“Authenticity in CSR is about being an organization that not only stands for something but also acts accordingly.” — Amanda Minuk
By then, it will be hard believing whatever they say despite how well-made and prepared their speeches are to appeal to emotions. Moreover, trust towards brands will be stained just because of their socio-political stands and opinions about the poor.
Helping the poor instead of admonishing them relentlessly during a crisis with effects that affects even the world economy would not only give an admirable image to the general public but would help create a more dynamic society.
The aid and projects for the poor are proven to not be put into shame without any beneficial outcomes. Helping provide education, security, health care system, and economic opportunities of disadvantaged neighborhoods will provide proactive outcomes in the future once fruits of those supports start to sprout from the most marginalized households.
Authenticity is present in the workplace if senior leadership supports, believes, and espouses company values and if they walk the talk.
Respect For the Working Force
The pandemic exposed incompetent leaderships that were supposed to be benevolent enough to consider their working force. However, the complete disregard for the labor and employment rights can largely impact the branding and identity of a company or authority.
Appearing as a good corporate citizen on the external community is as important as taking the opportunity to do good by practicing it with the biggest opportunity to do well — it is by practicing it with your employees as well.
Increasing engagement and retention are directly proportional to the efforts to prioritizing employees’ needs and not just extracting value from them. On an additional note, leading careers are engaged with development and growth beyond corporate and monetary goals.
Moreover, treating employees as merely profit milking machines aren’t going to provide retention.
Google claimed the top spots on both Glassdoors’ list of the 50 best places to work for and Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 best companies as an employee over the years are for several decisive reasons.
Their benefits, financial support system, and on-site health care system are some of the outstanding features they provide for their workforce. Moreover, Google is geared towards focusing on making the work of their employees easier for their employees to freely let their creativity and passion work for what is best for every task.
Some signs a company is concerned about its employees are some of the following factors:
Socially responsible brands cultivate positive and essential brand recognition, bolster customer loyalty, and attract, cultivate, and keep top-tier talents. These elements are the keys to achieve strong branding that is founded with trust and social confidence.
Moreover, authenticity towards a specific mission with sensitivity over the general public is as equally important. Branding is also a tool to influence that should be taken with moral obligation.
How you respond during any occasion especially during a pandemic will reflect your position and intention to the society. It will be consequential to how people will see your brands in the next years to come.