Often our actions affect more than just ourselves. They impact other people, our communities, the environment and society. Social responsibility is holding yourself accountable for this impact on others and aiming to make these actions beneficial. Yet this isn’t just an issue that individuals engage with on a personal basis. It’s a concern for organisations and companies too.
The Australian Human Rights Commission defines corporate responsibility as the understanding that “corporations have a degree of responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities but also for the social and environmental implications”. This focus on economic, social and environmental considerations is sometimes referred to as a “triple bottom line” approach.Doing Well by Doing Good, a 2014 Neilsen report that polled over 30,000 consumers in 60 countries, revealed that business ethics matter a lot. 67% of respondents said that they “prefer to work for socially responsible companies”, 52% claimed to “check product packaging to ensure sustainable impact”, and 55% said that they “pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact”.
Socially responsible marketing is a form of corporate responsibility that focuses on ethical marketing practices. For businesses, it can involve the sustainable use of materials or promotions that include charitable giving. For marketers, it can involve working with clients who are actively doing good in the world, highlighting a company’s fair business practices and sustainability, and is committed to operating with honesty and integrity. When an ethical marketer works with an ethical business, marketing ethics and social responsibility can be powerful drivers of change.This blog explores in more depth the topic of socially responsible marketing: how to practice it, why it pays to have principles and stand by them, and how Anchor Digital can be your partner in social responsibility. Our commitment to honesty and integrity encompasses every aspect of our brand strategy, including SEO and copywriting. We also engage in socially responsible target marketing by aiming our messages at consumers who care about making ethical choices.Here is why it matters and how we can help you.
What is Social Responsibility?
In a nutshell, social responsibility is the notion that individuals and corporations should act in the best interests of society as a whole. While companies naturally operate with a profit motive and are obligated to maximise value for shareholders, it’s important not to let ethics slide for the sake of the bottom line. Charity and giving, fair labour practices and environmentally sustainable methods of production are all ways for a business to exercise this responsibility.While the definition of “corporate social responsibility” may change depending on the context, the Australian Human Rights Commission states that CSR and human rights are strongly connected. Corporate social responsibility might include the rights of your employees to fair pay or a workplace free from discrimination and bullying. It may also include considering the people who live in an area where your business is based and their right to, for example, clean drinking water. This fits in with the environmental aspect of the “triple bottom line” approach.Qualities of corporate social responsibility and socially responsible marketing include
For building long-term credibility and trust, honesty is crucial – with your employees, customers, shareholders and anyone else you have business dealings with. Honesty not only means not lying. It also means delivering on what you promised. When it comes to marketing ethics and social responsibility, honesty can mean avoiding making false claims about what a product can or can’t do and refusing to resort to sneaky tricks like fake reviews.
In business, integrity is defining where your values lie based on what you think is right and then sticking to it even when no one is watching. Running your business with integrity not only keeps your conscience clear but also creates an environment in which talented employees are more likely to stay for the long term.
Treating others in a just, unbiased and equitable way can take many forms in business. You can be fair to customers in your pricing, to other professionals in business deals and to your employees by recognising everyone has the right to a workplace free from discrimination or harassment. Similar to integrity, fairness allows you to operate with a clear conscience. Yet it also protects your good reputation when word starts to get around, as it almost always does.
Several environmental concerns might affect how you run your business. There’s how many carbon emissions your business releases into the atmosphere and how it contributes to climate change. There’s the waste produced and how mismanagement affects our natural resources and ecosystem. There’s water scarcity, an issue that more than one billion people have to deal with. If you’re a business owner, it’s worth considering how you can minimise your impact on the environment. Marketing professionals can choose to work with companies that prioritise their environmental impact over those that don’t and even focus on getting the message out there in a more eco-conscious way.
For groups that have been systematically discriminated against, social justice movements advocate equal treatment, opportunities and rights. This is related to the concept of fairness and the standards outlined by the Australian Human Rights Commission, e.g. freedom from discrimination in the workplace and equal employment opportunities.
Reasons Why Socially Responsible Marketing is Important
Socially responsible marketing has many benefits that reach far beyond just allowing marketing professionals to feel good about their operations. Like social responsibility, socially responsible marketing is better for the planet, the community and the individual all at once. The reasons include
Socially responsible marketing promotes socially responsible ways of doing business and puts the spotlight on companies who prioritise sustainability and human rights. For example, instead of promoting businesses that engage in immoral practices such as forced or child labour, you can help businesses that are Fairtrade-certified and pay their employees a living wage. But ethics is a broad term that can be used to describe a wide range of different situations. In marketing, it can be as simple as avoiding deceptive SEO practices like cloaking.
With the climate crisis being one of the most urgent issues affecting the world today, socially responsible marketing allows you to promote businesses prioritising caring for the environment. Businesses that work hard to cut down their carbon footprints, reduce the amount of waste they produce and minimise their use of natural resources. The benefits of taking care of the planet for our own futures and our children’s are obvious. Still, cleaner and greener business practices improve the quality of life even on a small scale for communities, e.g. less air pollution and waste ending up at the tip. Recycling also lowers costs for companies. If you’re in the marketing industry, you can help drive change by publicising eco-friendly businesses and business practices.
Savvy consumers can usually smell a rat when they come across deceptive marketing. Keeping it honest, transparent and factual will help both you and your client build more trustworthy reputations in an industry in which reputation carries a lot of weight.
The last thing you want is to be penalised, either by the law or by Google. Committing to ethical marketing practices makes it easier for you to avoid potential minefields of legal issues. Of course, no matter how ethical you are, it’s always worth being up-to-date with the laws and regulations.
As the Neilsen poll demonstrated, social responsibility is popular both with potential consumers and potential employees.If you’re a marketer, working with an ethical business to combine marketing ethics and social responsibility means you both increase your chances of success. Socially responsible target marketing involves strategic thinking and planning to reach those conscientious consumers.
Be Socially Responsible with Anchor Digital
Anchor Digital will work with you to create a socially responsible target marketing and full-funnel overall marketing strategy based on honesty, integrity and trust.We work with clients that are driven by similar ethics and values. We don’t do lock-in contracts, as we believe getting you results that matter is a far more effective technique than strong-arming you into a long-term commitment.For effective, accountable and ethical marketing, drop us a line.