What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean for Business?

Corporate Social Responsibility CSR

It means doing the right thing and building market share

 

Would you like to grow your revenues by 20%?

Is your business caught in a price war that is killing your profit margins?

Evidence continues to grow that CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and sustainability are the paths to selling more at higher prices! Your customers, armed with their smart phones, are demanding that you win their business by offering products and services that cost less and mean more. This is an unbelievable opportunity to win market share and customer loyalty for those businesses that can deliver price competitive “in me, on me and around me” customer solutions.

New evidence from Project ROI

Verizon and the Campbell Soup Company launched Project ROI to measure and enhance their environmental, social and governance programs. They funded a research effort by IO Sustainability and Babson College to assess the business case for Corporate Responsibility. This research investigated 300 case studies.

Project ROI research provides further evidence that corporate responsibility is smart business. They found that companies strongly invested in CSR actions that align with their customer’s expectations achieved up to a 20% increase in revenues. It gets even better! Companies strongly aligned with their customer’s CSR expectations win extremely high levels of customer loyalty.

This enables these companies to sell on value rather than price. Project ROI found that companies with strong CSR programs that align with their customers’ expectations can charge up to 20% more for their products because their customer see the added value.

How to use CSR and sustainability to grow sales

CSR and sustainability best practices are breakout paths away from endless price wars with your competitors. These best practices will win customer loyalty and revenue growth. There are four steps to getting started on a sustainable sales strategy.

1.  The first step is to recognize that your customers are looking for solutions.

Is your business providing the type of economic, societal, human health and environmental solutions your customers are thirsting for or does your business just supply a competitive product or service? If your business is just competitive then your revenues are at risk. If you are just competitive then a competitor’s price promotion can cripple your sales until you match on price. A competitor blasting out Facebook ads will steal your customers’ attention if you are just competitive. The first step to growing sustained sale success is to shape your business, and what you sell, around being the solution that your customers really value.

2.  Implementation of this sales strategy requires alignment between your business and your customers’ definition of a solution.

If you sell to moms then your company and products must align value with values. Unilver is a great example of a company winning revenues with moms by providing solutions through a sustainable living product line that has grown to  50% of the company’s total revenues. If you sell to the millennial generation then your solution has to be cool with a purpose. Patagonia is the class leader on how to sell to the millennial generation. And if you sell to Corporate American then your business must deliver price competitive green results.  Solar companies like SunEdison and SolarCity are winning Corporate America B2B contracts from Apple to Walmart by delivering electricity that is competitive with grid prices and can be produced with zero onsite greenhouse gas emissions.

3.  Most importantly, your solution must be authentic and transparent.

You and your products are authentic when your customers are posting on social media that you are walking your talk. Your operations and products are transparent because you and your customers are posting pictures and evidence that hides nothing and leaves nothing to the imagination. You are naked and the great news is that you are buff because of your company’s commitment to CSR and sustainability best practices.

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About the author

Bill Roth

Bill Roth is the Founder of Earth 2017. Roth is a nationally-recognized business coach that has successfully enabled hundreds of business owners to win new customers, grow product revenues and cut costs. His most recent book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles best practices in pricing, marketing and branding that win millennial generation customers and their moms! Roth has served as the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com and coach for the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Green Builds Business program. Roth’s has held numerous executive leadership roles in the development of clean technology projects including the launch of thefirst hydrogen-fueled Prius. Follow him on Twitter

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