With Great Power Comes Great (Corporate Social) Responsibility

Following an all-time low dip in the Edelman Trust Barometer, there’s been a powerful shift in consumer expectations when it comes to a company’s values and the authentic means taken to exhibit them. Consumers want to feel good about where their money is spent, and the brands that become worthy of their trust are also quickly becoming worthy of their (often times higher) spend.  

As marketers, our number one job is to help our clients effectively tell their story.  When we have the privilege of working with brands that have an authentic commitment to social responsibility, our goal of evoking those feel-good fuzzies all consumers are yearning for is that much easier.

Here are a few brands that are doing good well.

Whether companies primarily focus on pledging company profits to non-profits and organizations that share a similar cause…

Who Gives a Crap 

Sustainable toilet paper is not necessarily a new product.  The eco-focused company Seventh Generation has been selling it since the ‘90’s.  Who Gives a Crap not only pushes an environmentally-friendly product, but urges you to top up on their tp knowing that 50% of profits are donated to help build toilets for those in need.  Backed by fun packaging and a cheeky, DTC brand persona, Who Gives a Crap has donated over 1.3 million dollars, saved tens of thousands of trees and remains one of the most successful startups to disrupt the toilet paper industry.

…or work towards creating overall goodwill…

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

The fresh-scents cleaning supply company proves social responsibility is more than donating money.  Staying true to the brand’s priority of creating plant-driven, quality products, the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day team actually developed their own “Compassion Flower”–a cross between a pansy and viola.  As part of their company mission to spread human kindness, seeds of this unique flower were mailed out in their Growing Compassion Gardening Kits to students all around the country.

…sometimes companies find that actions speak louder than words.

In a recent study, 71% of people think it’s important for businesses to take a stand on social movements. Patagonia and TOMS are two great examples of big brands that have upped the ante on their social responsibility.  Previously focused on a 1% give back and One to One® donation model respectively, both companies have doubled down on campaigns that heavily encourage activism.

Patagonia is dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment. TOMS is working to end gun violence in the United States. 

So what does this all mean for you? 

While there is definitely value in sharing your CSR efforts, companies often fall short when telling their own story.  To avoid this, consider the following:

  1.  Keep your brand’s CSR story purposeful by developing messaging around the WHY and not the what.  Reiterate why your company is motivated to take action and focus more on creating a dialogue that provokes thoughtful and/or emotional responses. 
  2.  Stay true to the causes that truly reflect your company’s values and mission.  Today’s consumers are savvy and there’s nothing worse than being seen as insincere. The correlation between your brand, and its CSR efforts should be clear.
  3.  Don’t hesitate to bring in outside reinforcements.  It’s often helpful to gain insight on your brand’s narrative from a third party.
And that’s where McDill comes in!  We find it truly valuable when companies take the time to fully develop comprehensive messaging platforms for their brands and products. We’re here to help these companies in any capacity. Visit our website to see our areas of expertise.