In today’s crowded media market, it is no longer enough for brands to simply come to the table with a great product. A brand’s social consciousness is becoming a notably important part of its identity and does wonders to shape public opinion. Many companies and organizations are picking up on this and have shifted their public relations and marketing strategies to promote their corporate social responsibility (CSR) habits, as a way to achieve public recognition for the positive impact they have on their employees, community and the world.
The Numbers Have Spoken
In a recent survey, 75% of people cited they are likely to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with. Fewer people (44%) say the price is among the most important attributes of a company compared to environmentally-friendly business practices (71%), social responsibility (68%), and giving back to the local community (68%). Consumers take notice when brands support causes that are important to them and their community, and it can impact their buying habits and relationship with your brand. Proper promotion of your company’s CSR efforts can be an incredible tool not just for achieving your philanthropic goals but for elevating your brand’s public relations.
Budweiser’s Stand Out Play In This Year’s Superbowl
This year’s Superbowl offered some prime examples of brands amplifying their public relations through CSR. Budweiser, typically a significant player in Superbowl ad spots and known for their lighthearted ads and notorious Clydesdales, decided to sit this year out. Instead, they chose to invest in a 1:30-second film called Bigger Picture, narrated by actress and activist Rashida Jones, to drive COVID-19 vaccine awareness and education.
Why Budweiser’s Decision Was Genius
Originally, Budweiser had different plans for this year’s Superbowl ad spot. However, when the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine began, they shifted their strategy to stay true to their brand ethos of “stepping up and making a difference.” This decision proved majorly effective, as the Bigger Picture short film received 3.5 billion impressions within the first 48 hours of being announced.
This decision from Budweiser is also helping them develop public opinion and understanding of who they are as a brand. 70% of viewers stated they had a better impression of the brand after watching the Bigger Picture ad. Many viewers also felt the brand came across as relatable (76%), genuine (82%), and trustworthy (77%), making their pivot to CSR a huge public relations win.
The Benefits Of CSR For Your Business’s PR Strategy
By utilizing CSR as a public relations tool, you bolster your brand’s reputation and create positive associations in the public’s mind. Consumers are more likely to support your brand if they support what you stand for. By sharing your values and the actions you take to make an impact, you can build a strong community around your brand. Incorporating CSR efforts into public relations can also be incredibly beneficial in preserving your brand’s reputation and regaining trust and credibility in the event of a crisis situation.
How You Can Use CSR In Your Own PR Strategy
One crucial element to make your CSR efforts fruitful for your brand’s public relations is remaining genuine. Consumers can typically tell when a brand’s efforts are sincere, and a brand that engages in CSR efforts only to directly contradict those efforts internally is largely missing the point. As you consider promoting and employing more CSR efforts into your business’ public relations, be sure that these efforts stem from a charitable place. Consider supporting causes relevant to your business or issues that are affecting your community and reflect your values. With this note in mind, the public relations benefits are sure to follow.
The Importance Of Promotion
Additionally, it is imperative for businesses to promote their corporate social responsibility campaigns appropriately. While this may sound obvious, there are numerous brands and companies with outstanding CSR campaigns that no one knows about, simply because they are not adequately promoted. Ensure that you inform your community, clients, and consumers of your efforts via social media, your company’s website, newsletters, media and press, or whichever mediums you typically employ for public relations campaigns. After all, you can’t reap CSR’s benefits for public relations if no one knows those efforts are happening.
With the right intent and guidance, corporate social responsibility can make for a wonderful tool. In tandem with public relations, CSR can improve your brand’s reputation, shape consumer attitudes, help mitigate crises, improve employee satisfaction, and even boost sales. For businesses looking to elevate their public relations efforts, incorporating corporate social responsibility and promoting your efforts adequately could bolster the brand’s mission while promoting good for the community, and inspiring others to do that same.
Grace Savage is a public relations and content development intern at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com.