Many times we hear Companies or Brands struggle to decide on a CSR initiative or on a CSR Strategy that they would like to implement. There are always many discussions that need to take place and many stakeholders involved in the process and while communication is the key, it is not always the solution to everything. In today’s article, we would like to help by sharing some steps that companies or brands need to take in order to make the process of implementing a CSR Strategy a little bit easier.
Re – Discover Your Company / Brand
Before getting started on a CSR initiative or strategy, we recommend that in order to take a first step in the direction of corporate social responsibility, you would actually, take a step back. At this point of time, we encourage companies to take a good look at their business to see: how far they have come, who are they serving, what are their goals, mission and vision and to really take another look at how sustainable the company is going to be in the next few years. Will it survive? Will it outperform?
We really encourage business owners and other stakeholders to really take a good glance of their businesses in contrast to everything that is happening in the world and consider if the activities they have done up until that day will continue to serve them well in the next few years. (especially if they continue the way they did up until now – without making any changes).
While we know from habit, that companies like to skip this step because most of the time they do not see the whole value of re-analysis a business (especially one that is growing and has been on a positive trend in many aspects) – this step is crucial to be done, mainly because it is setting up the foundation for the upcoming changes. For the companies or brands that find this step unnecessary, we would like to point out that at CSR Growth, we do view the business as a whole integration system and we take an active part in the Business Audit before actually starting working on the CSR Strategy. All parts involved need to understand the Business as a whole before working on adding initiatives to make it grow. Everything always starts at the bottom.
Discover Your Companies Weak Points
The next step after analyzing the business, is to directly reflect on what is not working in the Business. What is your business not addressing? What is your business lacking? Is it good leadership? Is it not communicating or reaching your targeted audience well? Is it a lack of trust? Are you over delivering? Underdelivering? Not meeting deadlines? Are your orders scaling? Revenue decreasing?
Go back to basics and use different frameworks to identify your company’s weakest points. Many companies like to use the SWOT Analysis mainly because it is really easy to implement and follow, but know that there are other tools and frameworks your business can use in order to analyze this aspect.
Don’t go after everything all at once
While there are many challenges when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, we have seen that the main challenge comes from picking and deciding on an initiative that will resonate with the company’s targeted audience. A lot of times, the most common mistake we see is that companies who made an in depth analysis of their business, discovered a lot of initiatives they can do and are missing out on and so they are trying to change too many things at once. While it is great to be extremely innovative, we do not encourage making too many changes at once. For example: if your company is working on decreasing the carbon emissions and is doing a great work at finding other packaging solutions for a more sustainable alternative, the main focus should be on that until everything is covered and all the feedback has been gathered.
We think that it is much better to do one thing really really well than to run after implementing too many initiatives that are not well designed, though, which can also back-fire if not implemented correctly.
We encourage that in order to prevent going after too many rabbits at once, to really reflect on the next point.
Hear Your Customers and Audience
In CSR, there is nothing more important than hearing your audience and your customers. Oftentimes this point is overlooked but it should not be this way. Your company’s customers are your greatest assets. They are the ones that are using your products or services first hand and they are the ones that can offer the most valuable feedback.
When you are initially getting started on developing your company’s CSR Strategy, it is important to see and understand what is important to your customers and audience. What would they value more? How can you add more value to your customers and your business? Is there a way that these would go hand in hand?
Get Started on Your CSR Strategy Development
You re-assest your Businesses, You addressed the direct feedback you had from your customers and now we can say you are a bit more ready to get started on your CSR journey. Now it’s hussle time!
It’s time to go back and gather everyone (unless you have a dedicated departement in your company handling CSR) and brainstorm based on all the answers you have gathered. Here are a few other questions to reflect upon at this stage:
- Where can my company make a difference?
- How can I add more value after knowing what is important to my customers / audience?
- What is the easiest way to get my message / initiative heard?
- Who do I need to work with and contact to grow?
Expect That It Will Take A Bit Of Time.
Remember, with great power comes great responsibility and CSR is not something that can be done in a few weeks of work. Expect that in the upcoming period your hands will be tied down for a while. Corporate Social Responsibility takes quite a lot of planning and organizing before everything works smoothly and you know what you are doing.
Expect that your first initiatives might take a while until you can measure and see the outcome of your hard work.
We encourage you to be patient and continue to work because more often than not, the result is always worth it.
Need any help? Let us know! We are happy to be part of your CSR initiatives and offer CSR Consulting Services and more. Time to learn from our CSR Specialists and CSR Experts.