5 Guiding Principles for Brands Committed to Social Impact
Amid all of world’s greatest conflicts, controversies and adversities, we still see a few institutions and people within those, united by a common thought and intent. This thought and intent is to propagate kindness.
This collective kindness formalised into a purpose of bringing a positive change in the society shapes up as “Social Impact”. If yours is one of those organisations, you would need a strategy that includes Social Impact, in all or any form, as a key business goal, rather than seeing it as an additional or a secondary responsibilities.
In one of our earlier blogs we talked about how to define a brand purpose effectively. Adding Social Impact to your brand purpose and intent can promise you higher returns, more sustainability as well as better customer and employee loyalty. Read more about this here.
Once you decide on that, you’d need a road-map that could make your Social Impact Strategies a real success. Learn about those in our following list of 5 tips that can help a brand to successfully integrate social impact into their business strategy:
1. Commit to Measuring Impact
Many businesses fall into the trap of jumping into action before defining the milestones for measurement or, they fail to measure the impact in a periodic manner. The fallout is – they often run out of the budget or fall short of making any impact and then, end up halting the programs completely. An effective way to run social impact strategies to success is, to define the metrics for measurement beforehand. If you are just too new to this proliferation, keep up the mindfulness to measure, and add a milestone wherever you see a possibility. This will help you create more opportunities within one.
2. Align the Brand Interest of All Stakeholders
The brand interests can never be one-sided. Success is achieved when disparate work teams come together to fulfil the action plan. Unless you, as business owner or strategy head, do not involve the ideas from the actual front-runners, you may not obtain as much engagement from them during implementation. In fact, social impact and shared value-driven activities provide you the privilege to involve a broad base of individuals. This not only the customer, but the community and your employees alongside their families.
3. Create Products with Both Customer and Community in Mind
This could better be understood through the example of M-PESA, an initiative by Safaricom. It started out primarily in Kenya but soon expanded as one of the most successful mobile money service in Africa, and involved World’s leading Telecom provider - Vodafone.
It came across an affordable and convenient money transfer service and other banking facilities for the under-banked segment in Kenya. The project did not take of like a fairy tale. It faced several challenges to ensure market outreach. Yet the brands associated with it constantly looked through opportunities to make it survive and bring about a real positive change for the customer and the community.
4. Have Leadership and a Culture that Supports Growth of People and Profit Equally
Social Impact strategies prove successful when people in the organization have the intent in their DNA and their veins. This kind of an arrangement and environment stems from a culture nurtured over years. And, it has to flow from the top first, so that it later flows horizontally, as well.
5. Learn and understand the array of social responsibility brand initiatives
There are several ways a brand can shape up their Social Impact programs. Social Responsibility (CSR) or in South Africa more commonly known as Corporate Social Investment (CSI) – is the most popular term or practice people understand worldwide. However, understanding the real definition and purpose of CSI activities is important. You could choose anything ranging from building and sustaining new products, or running specialized programs that align with your business offerings or a monetary donation. Social Impact ranges from philanthropic initiatives to deep reaching shared value projects.
If you are looking to learn more about formulating measurable and promising brand strategies in this direction or finding new ideas, this is an area where we specialise in. We differentiate through our experiential learning in this area, and we bring together the expertise of several seasoned professionals working together. Reach out to our founder here: firstname.lastname@example.org.