It has been awake since before the 1800’s, a sense of responsibility. In U.S. history, states had the right to invalidate a business’s license if the business acted irresponsibly. These days it’s the power of the people that holds companies accountable, literally at the fingertips of our touch screens. The trend is people prefer to do business with companies who give back to the community – with a concern for the whole of humanity. Richard Edelman, CEO of the world’s largest independent Public Relations firm states, “We’ve moved from a shareholder to a stakeholder world in which business must recast its role to act in the public’s interest as well as for private gain.”
With advertising, public relations and media there is so much attention on social consciousness corporations must define their role, take action and let everyone know about it. The best examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have been Google’s Green to support renewable power, Xerox‘s Community Involvement Program and Target’s educational grants. These programs engage the employees, as well as the community and benefits a planet of people. All this goodness is now incorporated into their brands with sustainability and sincerity.
However CSR is not a quick fix, one-time photo opp. Having a bad CSR policy/program can be worse than not having one at all, unless it’s a misstep in a longer journey. Customers have always watched how they spend their money, now they scrutinize how companies spend theirs.