Businesses and their role in society is subject to more intense scrutiny than ever. What is the main purpose of a company’s existence? Is it simply to maximize profits in order to satisfy the owners’ requests and demands, or is it possible to see the company in a larger perspective in society? Should this perspective go beyond pure financial aspects of the activities? The questions above refer to the on-going debate about corporate responsibility. Besides being a profitable business, the responsibility of a company can, for example, be connected to programmes for fair treatment of employees, using sustainable environmental friendly methods and participating actively in discussions about ethical social issues. It is a discussion about how companies choose to do business, solely with financial objectives or in a responsible way that might affect the financial return, supporting other values.
As the year winds up, many organisations are beginning to take stocks of their investments, profits after tax and expenses incurred within the year. The activities in the year have either yielded good return or bad loss because of the economy around the globe, which has not been too favourable or because the organisation has refused to take its marketing communications seriously.
The idea of an organisation marketing communication plan each year is to put into use strategies that will help them communicate the best practises and create a top of mind awareness for its products and services amongst the target audience, this practise has come to be adopted by most organisations every year. They design advertising campaigns and public relations strategies that could help in selling their products and services and make such products the first to be mentioned among target markets. They also design promotions that make individuals who are not interested in having these products and services succumb to patronising them, because of the attraction of buy and win instantly.
It is however, worthy to note that most organisations do not see the need to incorporate their corporate social responsibility in their marketing communication strategy as a way of winning more customers but as the public expectations continue to rise in light of the greater role these enterprises are playing in society, some companies are searching for ways to integrate CSR into their long-term business strategies in a way that is beneficial to both business and society. Proponents of CSR believe that in addition to organisational marketing communication plan, corporate social responsibility should be included in their plans each year. This is to help address poverty level in the country and chart a new way for development even in the rural area.
Within the World Bank, the United Nations, and select government-run agencies, CSR has come to be viewed as a potential mechanism for bringing about development. According to the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFIS), “By following socially responsible practices, the growth generated by the private sector will be more inclusive, equitable and poverty reducing.
Therefore, the premise that corporate social responsibility can make a positive perception about your organisation, if added to marketing communication plan cannot be over emphasised.
Organisations which give credence to impactful CSR initiative in the community tend to enjoy positive perception from their target audience, the host community and enjoy greater of marketing share
Some corporations recently have seen the need to include CSR initiative as part of their communication plan for the year. For example, some organisations have set up foundations to support community development projects while others have implemented extensive HIV/Aids and cancer prevention programmes. An organisatio recently partnered an NGO in developing the self esteem of orphans by building schools , libraries and recreational sites for the motherless home.
So what is your organisational corporate social responsibility to the community in which you operate?