Company advocates can promote growth and should be developed alongside your brand. A great place to develop advocacy is right in your backyard. Your community is a direct economic beneficiary of your company’s work and can become a strong asset for your business. Through social media and word of mouth, it can reach large and important audiences easily and quickly. Give it the same attention you give your ad campaigns.
Seek testimonials from customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Let your core constituents carry your message to their social networks and friends by creating programs that benefit them. Give them a forum to talk about the great things you are doing and put it on YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat or others. Corporate social responsibility can be a profitable endeavor if you design programs that address the intersection of interests between your staff, employees, and community. Look at the needs of each group (mentoring, financial literacy, health awareness, etc.) and find common touch points that appeal to all. Then, ask your employees to build a program around it within a certain budget. Try it. If promoted correctly, the programs will attract media interest and offset the expense of building your brand.
Leverage media coverage in lieu of spending ad dollars.
Invite the media to the party. Events like education, construction projects, school volunteerism, resource sustainability, healthcare activities (to name a few) can easily fill column inches in newspapers or minutes of programming time on TV that you would otherwise have to pay for. You may get a 10x return on your investment in addition to the satisfaction of doing the right thing.
Improve employee satisfaction by building pride in your company.
Everyone wants to be proud of the company that they work for and CSR programs can be a good source of pride for your employees. This sense of pride can create a level of engagement that can carry through the office into the customer experience and the numbers. Your employees, in turn, will become your strongest of brand advocates and help create a virtuous cycle of growth. Harvest their ideas and commitments by providing forums for volunteerism and you will grow your reputation as well as your revenues.