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Do Well By Doing Good

How can a brand stand out nowadays? To set your brand above the rest, create emotional associations that resonate in your audiences.  What this means in non-jargon speak is asking the question: what is important to my audience and how do I align my brand and strategies so that it mirrors this? Many companies have manifested this with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices or by creating shared value, not only as a calculated business move, but also in recognition that as businesses are interdependent on the local population, it is also a responsibility to provide value back. Thus, in emphasizing a service also to their local communities, positive emotions and impressions about your brand is generated within your audience, especially when shared in the digital sphere. In a market rife with business scandals and malpractice, this shift in community-oriented practices also elevates your reputation with customer service, as seen with DHL Express and its constant commitment to their communities, whether local or global. Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School sums this up aptly with: “Brands do well by doing good”. Indeed, it is not only intangible rewards such as a better brand reputation, but also financial benefits such as a much higher percentage in returns as seen in our white paper “How to Benefit from Authentic CSR?“.

do well by doing good

Marketers cannot ignore this strategy as a necessity any longer, as many are currently underestimating how much consumers are looking for brands who are contributing back to the community and environment. In fact, Nielsen’s report shows that consumers in emerging economies, especially Asia-Pacific countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, are most willing to pay more for socially responsible companies. No surprise here, as the cultural values of collectivism and community within several Asian countries would lean towards greater rewards of brands who “give back”.

nielsen CSR
Credit: from Nielsen’s Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Be authentic and create trust and value.

The underpinning of consumer loyalty is the trust they have with the brand, and what they’re buying into when they reach into their wallets. Therefore, the brand must have a fully-integrated strategy with substance that doesn’t just pay lip service, but authentically embodies their core business values with their CSR activities. In turn, this consistency avoids accusations of greenwashing and other pitfalls, and creates “authentic emotional connections” and trust with their consumers.

Communicate your strategy

Communicate both your company’s values and strategies, but also do it in an interesting way. People are more likely to engage and remember when told an interesting story, and not just dry facts. Furthermore, the channels in which this storytelling has diversified, including online social networks which are well-suited to cause marketing.

Last year’s WestJet “Real Time Giving” campaign went viral on social media channels during Christmas, due in large part to its content and message of “giving back”, but also how the story was told and its shareability online. However, WestJet’s communication strategy allowed it to go viral globally, combining social media sharing and traditional distribution which reach international audiences.  Therefore, keep distribution and communication in mind.


Celine Wu is the Audience Development Executive for PR Newswire.