What Is Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing?

Matthew is a Marketing Copywriter with a B.A. in Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. He aims to learn a little more about the SEO world each day, and share as much of that knowledge with you as he can. When he's not striving to put out some fresh web content, he's usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

The main goal of any company is to generate revenue. But as you know, that doesn’t mean companies can’t use their resources for nonprofit purposes. You’ve no doubt seen companies who make donations or promote social causes to customers.

That mentality has given way to the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is something that more businesses are looking into — and in addition to being philanthropic, it can be a huge boost to your marketing.

But what is corporate social responsibility marketing, and how can it benefit your company? Read on to find out! Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly, our email newsletter, to get more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 863 client testimonials!

For digital marketing advice on the regular, subscribe to the email that more than 190,000 other marketers trust:

Revenue Weekly. Sign Up Today

What is corporate social responsibility?

The first question we must answer is, what is corporate social responsibility?

CSR is a tenet stating that companies have a responsibility — like individuals — to act as good citizens by trying to help the world around them. Essentially, the thought process is that since companies have resources, they should use some of those resources for philanthropy.

This idea is growing more popular, primarily among younger generations like millennials and Gen Z. For that reason, many businesses make an effort to be more socially responsible and contribute to good causes.

What is socially responsible marketing?

Social responsibility is a selfless thing for any business to do, but it can also benefit your marketing. By promoting your philanthropic efforts in your marketing campaigns, you can improve the way people view your company.

For example, Bosch Global uses their website to advertise their climate-related contributions like fighting water scarcity.

If you operate a small business, you may not have the resources available to enact such massive efforts as larger enterprises. But you can still look for smaller ways to contribute to positive causes. And when you do, you’ll both help other people and improve your brand image.

False CSR marketing: How not to market your business

When you use socially responsible marketing, you need to be careful how you approach it. One thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is mislead people about your social efforts purely for marketing purposes. This type of false CSR marketing will end up hurting you in the long run.

You should always approach corporate responsibility marketing for the philanthropy itself. Then, after doing that, you can mention it in your marketing. But don’t pretend to make social contributions you aren’t really making — people will see through it, and then your sales will decline immensely.

Common types of corporate social responsibility marketing

Now that you understand the basics of socially responsible marketing, you’re probably wondering what it looks like in practice. What exactly can you do to contribute to social causes? What practices should you aim to promote?

There’s more than one approach to this corporate responsibility marketing strategy, and we’ll cover a few of the most common ones below!

1. Direct money donations

The first and most direct way to contribute to social causes is by donating money.

One way of doing that is to make a single large donation — maybe you send thousands of dollars to a charity of your choice. Alternatively, you could donate money based on customer purchases. You could announce that you’ll donate a certain number of dollars for every purchase someone makes.

Donating money is arguably the simplest way of contributing to social causes, and it’s one you can easily promote through your marketing.

2. Product donation

Donating money isn’t your only option. You can also donate your products. Obviously, this is only applicable for certain types of products — your specialized commercial aircraft parts aren’t necessarily what charities need.

But let’s say you sell clothing items. That’s a fantastic thing to donate to children in need or other groups who could benefit from it. Just like with money, you could simply send a large donation all at once, or you could do something like donate one item for every item purchased.

And if your business doesn’t make products that charities need, but you still want to donate products of some kind, you can always collect and donate food items!

3. Nonprofit partnerships

If donating isn’t really what your business is looking to do, maybe you’d prefer the idea of an extended partnership. This kind of philanthropy involves partnering with a nonprofit for the long term rather than making a few individual donations.

In this arrangement, you could sponsor the nonprofit like how you might sponsor a local sports team. You could fund their marketing to help get more people engaged, and you could help advocate for them on your own website.

4. Environmental action

One of the most common forms of corporate social responsibility out there is environmental action. Nearly every company has certain processes that they could optimize to be more environmentally friendly, whether minimizing pollution or cutting back on plastic usage.

Whatever it is, your business may want to jump aboard that train, as it’s one of the issues people care most about when it comes to companies. If you can authentically promote your brand as an environmentally friendly one, you’ll earn more customers.

5. Ethical business practices

Finally, you can exemplify corporate social responsibility by running your business in an ethical manner. That largely comes down to the way you treat your employees, like how much you pay them and the benefits they earn.

For example, Netflix offers an incredible 52 weeks of paid maternity leave to their employees. Particularly with recent years’ increased cultural focus on employees’ rights, marketing those aspects of your business is a fantastic way to earn the favor of your target audience.

In other words, if you can demonstrate that you do something as simple as running your business in a thoughtful and ethical way, you’ll earn more customers and drive more revenue.

93% of WebFX customers are extremely satisfied with their digital marketing results.

“Working with WebFX, everything is very organized and strategic. We’re only a year into our partnership, and our expectations have definitely been met.”

View More Client Testimonials

WebFX can help you optimize your CSR marketing campaigns

Excited to start engaging in some CSR, but unsure how to put together your CSR marketing campaigns? Let WebFX help! We have over 25 years of digital marketing experience, so we know what it takes to bring in new customers.

When you partner with us for our digital marketing services, you’ll get help advertising yourself through a variety of different strategies, including:

To get started with us, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

WebFX Careers

Join our mission to provide industry-leading digital marketing services to businesses around the globe - all while building your personal knowledge and growing as an individual.

We’re Hiring! View 30+ job openings!