The next big thing – CSR

Strategist

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” – Herman Melville

Clients often reach out to us to support them in finding the right way to get involved and participate in the community they operate and do their business in. This support is twofold – we help them shape up this involvement in terms of their corporate social responsibility strategies and implement the steps on the path we have jointly found to be the right one for the company and its business model.

But how do we do this?

The first step in molding the corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy is to clearly divide the philanthropy many Montenegrin companies are already involved in from their CSR activities. What does this exactly mean? Whereas raising money to help local or national institutions of social and health support is philanthropy, introducing the corporate social responsibility in the overall corporate culture and finding ideas and activities that back this up is in fact doing CSR. Thus, the second step is identifying the issues in the specific industry, recognizing what it is that you as a business offer the best and how can it be shared with the community. For example, in our efforts to help form the CSR strategy of Delta City Mall, together with them, two projects have evolved from our idea generation – support for the creative industries of Montenegro and the conscious fashion project.

Now, how are these two CSR and not philanthropy?

Delta City Mall is the most visited mall in Montenegro, thus offering great visibility to everyone and everything present at the mall. By giving the opportunity to 12 winners of the public call to present their creative products at the mall, we shared with them the one thing that Delta City can offer the best – the visibility to products and businesses. Delta City put at disposal its audience to those still unknown, giving them in this manner the opportunity to reach higher visibility for their brands.

Conscious fashion project is another CSR project we developed together with Delta City. Garment industry is the second largest polluter in the world, and although Delta City is not in the industry directly, as a retailer it is an active host of it. So, being a mediator between the public and the garment industry makes it a perfect partner to raise awareness about the necessity to treat our garments more responsibly.

For the CSR activities it is very important that they relate very closely to the business itself, because being an expert in the field of its business makes the company the best actor to steer change in this direction.

Finally, you might ask why is all of this good for your business.

By doing CSR activities, companies help the educational efforts of the community they work in, talk to and to whom their business is directed. CSR activities spread the message about the values of the company, create and enhance the sense of belonging to the community and thus have a long lasting branding-related benefits. A strategically developed, properly implemented CSR activities directly enhance a brand’s ability to create and maintain a positive image in the community they operate in.

Although, being a long-term play requiring certain financial investment at the beginning (however, the more thoroughly we conduct the strategy, the less the costs of it!), soon enough the benefits begin to kick in and when they do, the impact can be instrumental in terms of marketing and branding.