Marketing Spend

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CSR Strategies - Part 1

Some companies that have organized forums to connect people as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives include Capital One, Grainger Incorporated, and Microsoft. The business resource groups (BRGs) of Capital One and Grainger Incorporated organize several events to connect staff members and communities in line with their corporate social responsibility objectives. Microsoft leverages its employee resource groups (ERGs) to promote engagement and connections among "communities inside and outside" of its workforce in line with its inherently inclusive mission and CSR objective.

Capital One

  • In line with Capital One's corporate social responsibility objectives, Business Resource Groups (BRGs) were recently created to support its growing diverse population. The name of the group underscores the significant value it contributes to the business of Capital One.
  • Capital One's BRGs assist it in embracing individual differences, encouraging, and promoting ally engagement (connections). These BRGs help to reveal unconscious bias, create an environment in the workplace that is equitable to every associate, and builds bridges, relationships, or connections among individuals as well as groups; BRGs also serves as a bridge or connection to the community. Recently, the Voices BRG hosted the Future Leaders Forum; the forum was a full-day event that featured "interactive workshops" as well as group discussions "powered by Capital One volunteers."
  • Voices BRG Future Leaders Forum focused on helping students develop leadership skills, improve their financial literacy, and discover and connect to the vast opportunities present in tech-based fields.
  • To celebrate Pride month, the Out Front BRG promoted participation in Pride parades within the country and other related volunteer events. Pride is a significant (large) event that does not only connect LGBT people. It also brings colored LGBT as well as feminist LGBT communities together to voice out certain issues (specific to individuals or groups) and opinions.
  • Capital One's support for veterans, as well as military families, extends beyond its walls. Capital One partners with the United States Chamber of Commerce's "Hiring Our Heroes initiative," and it supports the Fisher House Foundation. In 2017, Capital One helped to construct a second Fisher House in Richmond, Virginia.
  • The Fisher House provides an "instant community for its residents" (the family members of admitted veterans). It keeps them united or connected by their shared (common) mission as they support a sick or injured loved one. It also provides them with an individualized, secured, and private refuge following a "long day at the hospital" to relax and refresh themselves.
  • Capital One recently organized an Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. The program serves as an avenue for wounded and recovering service members, as well as their families, to relate and connect with others. They were assisted by Capital One to attend the event.
  • In its corporate social responsibility statement, Capital One states that it is deeply committed to hiring as well as supporting veterans, service members, and military spouses. It is continually seeking out opportunities "to connect with them" via national as well as local partnerships, conferences, career fairs, and sponsorships. Its military BRG led by Salute promotes its efforts to connect veterans.
  • Capital one operates a BRG known as CapAbilities BRG, which provides a forum for its associates with disabilities, the caregivers of the disabled, and their allies to "connect with one another."
  • One of the most significant annual external events for women in tech (WIT) organized and supported by Capital One is the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Capital One has continued to sponsor the event "at the highest level" to assist the upcoming generation of women technologists with opportunities to learn as well as "get connected with industry professionals" for amazing careers. Capital One sends hundreds of its associates to attend, enhance their skills, and get inspired by other women that are excelling in technology.

Grainger Incorporated

  • Grainger Incorporated recently kicked off the 90th anniversary with its first-ever onsite volunteer activity, which took place at the annual Grainger Show. The show brought team members, suppliers, as well as "customers together" to connect for a few days in Florida.
  • During this show, over 60 team members packed 900 nutrition kits to assist underserved students within Central Florida. Grainger also partnered with "A Gift for Teaching" to share the finished kits among two different schools located in Central Florida.
  • Grainger Incorporated also organized a volunteerism event for its annual family picnic held in Illinois. About 40 team members, their families, and friends came together and packed appreciation kits for 800 teachers filled with supplies. These supplies were distributed to teachers within Illinois, serving with schools in Lake County and Chicago.
  • In 2017, Grainger Incorporated hosted events that promote interconnections among members of communities. The Cross Connections Development Event, supported by its business resource groups (BRGs), connected over 600 team members via a junior Achievement Day at Grainger. Notable events that Grainger recently promoted to bring people together include mock interviews, job shadowing, as well as leadership panels for 30 students.
  • Grainger Incorporated also promoted and drove participation in the Dragon Boat Program across four cities of the United States. This boating program is a long-running event that connects the residents of the community of Chicago.
  • Grainger Incorporated organizes BRG roadshows, designed to attract new members. Approximately 3,500 United States team members participate in its BRG programs. The company "has eight BRG" groups that foster team member connection and engagement, which also contributes to its "communities as responsible stewards" in line with its corporate social responsibility objectives.

Microsoft

  • Microsoft has eight employee resource groups (ERGs) as well as over 40 employee networks. The various resource groups collectively help Microsoft to engage as well as connect "communities inside and outside," thereby helping members of various communities to access several opportunities and advances Microsoft's mission relative to "global diversity and inclusion." Diversity, along with inclusion, is one of the CSR objectives and mission (inclusive mission) of Microsoft Corporation.
  • The website of Microsoft New England (USA) reveals that NERD is a program of Microsoft USA. On the 3rd day of August 2019, HOLA, an employee resource group of Microsoft that connects its members, allies, as well as the wider Latinx/Hispanic community, hosted an event in Boston.
  • The Boston event known as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción took place at its NERD center for one day. It featured hands-on tech activities as well as interactions with the Microsoft Corporation.
  • Ernesto Lara is the senior engineering manager, as well as the chapter lead of HOLA at NERD. Ernesto Lara helps HOLA to "function as a resource for the Hispanic/Latinx community" at NERD. HOLA organizes site-wide events to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month and promote diversity and inclusion through seminars and recruitment efforts in favor of inclusion in technology.
  • Microsoft leverages Employee Resource Groups that are there to build communities and connections with communities. The Black and African employees at Microsoft organizes forums and events for host speakers to mentor students, future employees, and other people of color and also connect them to the Microsoft community. The Minority Student Day is an event that provides the chance for students to intimately or closely encounter Microsoft's campus as well as the career opportunities.
  • Microsoft's Minority Student Day recently brought its employees together with students. The 27th annual Minority Student Day, organized by Black people at Microsoft (BAM), brought together and motivated local students to proceed with their careers in technology. BAM is an employee resource group and plays a significant role in advancing career leadership development among members.
  • On February 9th, BAM welcomed over 350 registrants. Various educators and students in middle schools and colleges across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut connected at the occasion.
  • BAM members connected with and led student groups through coding sessions, digital advertising, blockchain technology, and other activities. Recently, BAM leadership said it is excited as it continues fostering the education as well as the career development of several students, and empower a future workforce via technology.

Research Strategy

The study investigates examples of firms that have organized forums or events to connect people as part of their corporate social responsibility objectives. It also examined what the companies did and how they did it. The website of identified companies, their annual CSR reports, credible media resources, and some social media resources are in the study. The study has examined the business resource groups (BRGs) of Capital One and Grainger Incorporated as well as the eight employee resource groups (ERGs) of Microsoft. These resource groups have promoted certain activities that have connected communities (brought them together). They have also connected several cities, towns, and communities with their employees and advanced the corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives of the included companies. Achievements published in CSR report tally with the CSR objectives of investigated companies.
Part
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Part
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CSR Strategies - Part 2

Corporate social responsibility strategies are known to improve brand image and perception. Companies can implement strategies known to be effective that look at activities to do with customers, the environment and people especially employees. Some activities include donating to charitable programs, volunteering in the local communities, offering paid parental leave, take a stand against all forms of discrimination and job-related harassment and several others.

1. Focus on the customer

  • On average, 75% of consumers are more likely to demonstrate social responsibility, for them it is a "must-have." CSR improves a company's image as it communicates to its clients and others that it cares. Companies with CSR initiatives get more press coverage and by extension, customers are more aware of them and so formulate a better image.
  • Companies with a dedicated CSR program are usually more successful. Research suggests that CSR is a crucial segment to a CEO's and the corporation's reputation. The data show that 84.3% of respondents in a study say they would give a company the benefit of the doubt when in a crisis.
  • The study done by Insead shows that participants in a study had the highest perception of a company that has CSR activities surrounding its customers. It gives a company a competitive edge, improves brand recognition and image.
  • There are a number of effective CSR strategies geared towards the customers. Some effective ones include giving people free company products, raising funds for a cause/hospital, transparency to customers by giving them access to reports and other company documents, doing something charitable during Christmas, donating to charitable programs, volunteering in the local communities, and raise awareness about diseases.
  • Scores of companies are doing this effectively. These include Netflix and Spotify through its paid parental leave, Pfizer raises awareness of non-infectious diseases, Wells Fargo through its giving to charity, and TOMS by giving away a pair of shoes for every shoe purchased by its customers.
  • In terms of reputation, Netflix is ranked 20th.

2. Focus on the Environment

  • Another area that companies that can look is the environment, more specifically using renewable energy options, initiatives to reduce the emission of carbon or greenhouse gas, fund initiatives to create clean technology that protects the environment, reducing waste or addressing climate change.
  • Based on studies done on customer perceptions of CSR, it was found that participants in the study were likely to give a high evaluation of companies that were involved in CSR initiatives. The study also found that a customer's awareness of a company's CSR initiatives in an area such as the environment will influence their perception of the company's other CSR activities.
  • Several companies have these strategies and have found them to be successful based on expert opinions. Lego has invested in alternative energy, changed its packaging, and has plans to invest in renewable energy, continue to use sustainable materials and achieve a 90% recycling rate.
  • The Walt Disney Company is dedicated to reducing their greenhouse emissions, conserving water and limiting their waste. GE's initiative, 'Ecomagination' focuses on clean technology, hence it has created a series of locomotives that will produce over 70% less emissions. Other companies impacting the world and changing their perception and reputation are Ford (US), Coca-Cola, Bosch (US), Johnson and Johnson, and the New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins).
  • According to the Reputation Institute, Lego is number 1, Walt Disney Company is ranked 5th and General Electric is ranked at 81 in terms of reputation or public perception of its CSR initiatives.

3. Focus on improving people's lives

  • There are several best in class strategies that can be employed to improve people's lives and by extension improve a companies image or perception. These include improving policies affecting labor, or lobbying with the authorities for such a change, offering paid parental leave, take a stand against all forms of discrimination and job-related harassment, employee engagement, allow the diversity of gender, races, cultures, sexuality, and disabilities in the workplace. Other strategies include becoming a mouthpiece against social and economic injustices, and advocating for the protection of privacy thus reducing the threat against data breaches.
  • In the study done by Insead, the customer's perception of a company would significantly increase if that person is aware of initiatives for the employees. The study found that if a customer is aware that a company treats its employees well, it is an effective way" to improve perception.
  • Google is well-known for its stance against social injustice against people and their race. The Walt Disney strictly follows the international labor laws to ensure that its employees are protected. Starbucks is big on hiring a wide diversity of people, including veterans, young people, and have committed to hiring refugees by 2022.
  • In terms of the customer's perception, Google is ranked 4th, and Starbucks Coffee Company is placed in 100th position on the RI chart.
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