Corporate social responsibility (CSR) encompasses all the ways businesses give back to their community and strive to improve the world.
Consumers expect CSR in today’s business world, respecting and preferring companies that take their responsibilities as good citizens seriously.
Outstanding CSR programs also benefit a brand’s online reputation management (ORM), demonstrating that businesses aren’t just “in it for themselves,” but actually care about society and their customers. Here are five examples of businesses succeeding in online reputation management with strong CSR programs.
1. REI Co-op
Since 1938, REI Co-op has sold camping and travel equipment, clothing and sporting goods. The company is heavily involved in combating climate change and strives to grow in ways that effectively manage energy use.
REI generates some of its own energy through rooftop solar panels and uses energy-efficient building designs. Since 2013, the company has reduced the cooling energy required for its datacenters by an impressive 93%.
2. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s has long tried to ensure that as the company grows, others should benefit as well, including employees, suppliers, customers and communities. Examples of this “linked prosperity” business model include support for family dairy farms and a livable wage policy for employees.
Every spring, Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops celebrate Free Cone Day, which not only draws ice cream fans but also raises money for local charities. These efforts pay off strongly in terms of customer loyalty.
(Download our Turn Your Customers into Brand Champions whitepaper to learn more about customer loyalty today.)
Netflix offers a year of paid time off to parents upon the birth or adoption of a child. The foundation of the company’s parental leave policy is “Take care of your baby and yourself.” Parents decide how much time off they need, with the average being four to eight months.
In addition to preventing employee burnout, the policy has indirectly helped promote the sharing of information and cross-training of employees to ensure smooth business operation during parental leaves.
Starbucks set a goal of hiring 25,000 veterans by the year 2025, and they beat that goal by six years. Now they plan to hire 5,000 additional veterans and military spouses each year.
Other ways the coffee giant has committed to serving veterans include providing the child or spouse of veteran employees with tuition-free education, providing free coffee to overseas troops through its “Adopt a Unit” program and partnering with other veteran service organizations.
From 2013 through 2016, LEGO reduced energy use by 11.5%. The company ultimately wants to achieve carbon neutrality and has invested in one wind farm in England and another off the coast of the Netherlands.
LEGO has also committed to using sustainable materials in all core products and packaging by 2030. Currently, LEGO trees, bushes and leaves are manufactured from plastics made of sugarcane, and the company also supports the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance.
The Takeaway for Modern Brands
A brand’s online reputation increasingly depends on its willingness to be a better community member and improve the world in some way. Consumers expect their favorite brands to have strong CSR programs, and they show their appreciation through increased brand loyalty.
Strong CSR programs are just a part of managing your online reputation well. To learn about more tools to help you handle your ORM effectively, download our ebook “Getting Started with Online Reputation Management” today.