Corporate Social Responsibility | Philip Kotler

Summary of: Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause
By: Philip Kotler

Introduction

Get ready to dive into the world of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause’ by Philip Kotler. The summary of this comprehensive guide will take you on a journey through the evolution of corporate philanthropy from the 1990s until today. You will learn about the strategic shift in corporate social responsibility, the benefits of engaging in such initiatives, and the different approaches companies employ to make a positive impact on society. The summary also offers numerous engaging examples that showcase how companies have successfully implemented social responsibility programs, providing inspiration for your own future endeavors.

Philanthropy in Corporate America

In the past, U.S. corporations gave money to various nonprofits without much long-term commitment or association with their corporate strategy. However, times have changed, and corporations are now integrating their philanthropic efforts with their overall goals. They no longer shy away from controversial issues, and decisions on which organizations to support are made based on strategy and input from various stakeholders.

The Strategic Shift in Corporate Philanthropy

In the 1990s, corporations started viewing philanthropy not as an obligation but as a strategic approach. They realized the benefits of social initiatives, such as enhanced brand positioning, increased sales and market share, and decreased operating costs. This mindset shift has brought a new model for corporate social responsibility, which involves selecting initiatives to align with business and marketing objectives, addressing core product and market issues, and choosing concerns that matter to employees, customers, and communities. The selection of charitable activities now involves the collaboration of multiple internal departments. This approach has resulted in increased corporate giving and reporting of social responsibility initiatives.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be termed as a commitment by companies to enhance the well-being of the community through philanthropic activities and discretionary business practices. Corporate social initiatives can be broadly classified into six categories, including corporate philanthropy, community relations, cause promotions, socially responsible business practices, cause-related marketing, and community volunteering. Companies frequently combine some or all of these initiatives in their social service campaigns.

Cause Promotion

Corporations use cause promotion as an outreach strategy for increasing public attention, encouraging donations and participation. Through publicity, advertising, event sponsorships, and websites, companies build awareness of an issue to persuade people to donate their time, money, and resources. Cause promotion strengthens a company’s brand, increases store traffic, and boosts customer loyalty. It’s crucial to select a cause relevant to a company’s products and values, choose an issue that has long-term support, and is something both employees and customers can commit to. A successful cause promotion generates media exposure, promoting the issue and the brand simultaneously.

The Impact of Ben & Jerry’s “One Sweet Whirled” Initiative

In 2002, Ben & Jerry’s teamed up with Dave Matthews Band and SaveOurEnvironment.org to launch the “One Sweet Whirled” initiative to address global warming. The campaign included a new ice cream flavor, concert tour, CD, website, and PR efforts. The initiative resulted in significant impacts, including 53,236 donation pledges, 63,967 letters to Congress, and 12,570 new members for SaveOurEnvironment.org.

Cause-Related Marketing: The Optimum Fundraising Strategy

Cause-related marketing is a type of campaign where businesses donate a percentage of revenue to a specific issue or program, relying solely on consumer response. It’s an ideal strategy for generating charitable funds, but requires careful planning and execution. A successful CRM campaign requires a nonprofit partner with a large membership base, product alignment with the cause, easy-to-understand incentives, paid advertising, formal agreements and tracking of consumer purchases. While raising funds for charity, CRM also provides corporate benefits such as attracting new customers, reaching new markets and enhancing the brand. Successful examples include Avon’s pink ribbon campaign, Target’s school fundraising and Lysol’s work with Keep America Beautiful.

The Birth of Cause-Related Marketing

The early 1980s saw the American Express campaign spearhead cause-related marketing with their restoration endeavor for the Statue of Liberty. The campaign promised donations for every credit card transaction and new card application. Its success showcases the potential of combining business objectives with social causes, as it generated $1.7 million, increased card usage by 27%, and saw a 10% rise in new credit card signups.

Unleashing Corporate Power

Corporations partner with public sector agencies or nonprofits to launch social marketing campaigns that induce the public to change their behavior. Corporate social marketing programs are most effective when the behavior they target has an inherent connection with the sponsoring company’s product. While corporations donate funding, marketing, distribution, and volunteers, the nonprofit gives credibility, expertise, and extensive outreach into the community. The benefits for corporations involved in social campaigns are similar to other social campaigns, such as increased sales and in-store traffic.

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