Brands are highly committed to CSR actions—but don’t publicize their efforts very well

by | Apr 29, 2020 | Public Relations

Corporate social responsibility matters now more than ever, and effective brand actions can be key to driving loyalty—but only if your brand messaging addresses those actions. New research from the International Trademark Association (INTA) finds brands and businesses overwhelmingly recognizing that it is their social obligation to positively impact global issues and give back to the community, and that these efforts—when made public—can contribute to brand value and brand loyalty.

In the group’s latest survey, more than half of the respondents (62.39 percent) confirmed that their organizations either have a CSR policy and/or are engaged in activities targeting the improvement of society, the environment, or other such issues. In addition, more than 88 percent of law firms and service firms reported providing pro bono services. However, the new Brands and CSR Survey Report ultimately concludes that “many brands that engage in CSR have not yet effectively leveraged the full potential benefit of CSR policies and activities for their brands.”

Does your organization have a CSR policy and/or is it engaged in any social activities towards the improvement of society, the environment, labor practices, equality, or other such issues?

Brands are highly committed to CSR actions—but don’t publicize their efforts very well

Organizations know the value of CSR…

Eighty-four percent of respondents agreed that CSR policies and adopting sustainability principles as an operational priority “constitutes good economic practice and will benefit a company and/or brand.” About half said CSR impacts their companies’ overall branding strategies. Further, 57.98 percent agreed that the absence of CSR policies and practices puts companies and brands at a disadvantage in the market.

“We know that consumers increasingly want brands to be good corporate citizens, and, as such, CSR initiatives present enormous potential to garner consumer loyalty and trust, and bolster relationships,” said David Lossignol, 2019 INTA President, in a news release. “But the benefits are so much more far-reaching and universal: the lasting footprint that these efforts can have to better society is tremendous.”

Is the CSR policy public facing, i.e., transparent and publicly communicated?

Brands are highly committed to CSR actions—but don’t publicize their efforts very well

… But they aren’t effectively publicizing their efforts

According to the report, while organizations recognize the economic and reputational benefits of CSR, not all widely publicize their efforts. Only about 60 percent of respondents report that CSR policies are part of their companies’ mission statements and public-facing communications.

“It is heartening to see that brands in all sectors and in all parts of the world are stepping up to do their share,” said INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo, in the release.

Brands are highly committed to CSR actions—but don’t publicize their efforts very well

“There is more brands can do—and no doubt will do—to effect change especially at a time such as now when major global issues are impacting and challenging our society like never before,” Sanz de Acedoa added. “Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, individuals, society, and brands should reflect even more on how they can contribute to better society today and do their best to reshape the world for future generations.”

Key conclusions drawn from the survey:

Brands are highly committed to CSR actions—but don’t publicize their efforts very well

See full survey results here.

The report was undertaken by INTA’s 2019 Presidential Task Force, dedicated to “Brands for a Better Society” in light of current global challenges and the changing economic landscape. The report includes findings from a survey of 227 INTA members worldwide, including corporations, law firms, and small and medium enterprises, as well as third-party research. INTA recently established a Brands for a Better Society Committee to act on the report’s findings and further advance CSR initiatives.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter