CSR, Brand Strength, and Customer Loyalty
Companies who embrace Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a key pillar in their operational strategy strengthen their brand. In today’s market, consumers increasingly require more from companies than a product or service that works as advertised. They expect companies to positively impact the environment, society, and communities in which they operate to gain consumer trust and loyalty.
Recent research from Interbrand shows that positive performance in one area of corporate citizenship has a halo effect into other areas. For example, if a company has an effective community outreach program, that performance can lead to positive perceptions from its consumers which can be reflected in higher customer satisfaction. These positive perceptions help build and maintain brand strength.
Interbrand annually ranks the top 100 companies by brand strength to comprise the Best Global Brands list. Brand strength is measured by the ability of the brand to create loyalty and stand the test of time and also to reduce risk. For this ranking, brand strength was scored on a 0–100 scale, which was based upon an evaluation across 10 key factors. Performance is judged relative to other companies in their sector and across other top brands.
Number one on the 2012 list is Coca-Cola. Contributing to the first place ranking is Coca-Cola’s global marketing platform that scored a 90 percent in brand awareness among respondents in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia as well as multiple CSR initiatives. Key CSR initiatives listed include an advanced water recovery system, employee diversity, “Coca-Cola Music” promotion, and the new Ekocycle™ brand which encourages recycling and sustainability.
Although companies engage actively in CSR activities, a negative perception gap can occur if they perform well in terms of corporate citizenship but fail to be recognized for their performance. In order for brands to see the full return on their CSR investment, they must share their story with stakeholders, especially consumers, and this can be achieved through quality CSR reporting.
The CSR Reporting Solution powered by Wdesk simplifies the CSR reporting process to allow companies to shorten the amount of time it takes to develop, publish, and manage CSR stakeholder communications and engagement. The CSR Reporting Solution enables teams to be better equipped to tell their company’s CSR story and to increase the the strength of their brand.
References: Interbrand. (2013). Best Global Brands 2012.
About the Author
Liv Watson is Senior Director of Strategic Customer Initiatives at Workiva, with a primary focus on monitoring and evaluating new market opportunities globally. She helped found XBRL International and is one of the original developers for XBRL.