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Corporate Social Responsibility Strategies to Build Brand Equity


In today’s disruptive business environment, consumers increasingly show they prefer to support and buy from brands that demonstrate social and environmental responsibility. In fact, according to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand Global Report, nearly two-thirds of consumers around the world now buy on belief. These buyers will choose, switch or boycott a brand based on where it stands on issues that are important to them.

A well-executed corporate social responsibility (CSR) program can be critical to your organization – particularly from a brand equity perspective. A strategically developed, properly implemented CSR program can directly enhance a brand’s ability to create a lasting positive image in the consumer marketplace.

Below are a few strategies to keep in mind if your organization is developing or considering revamping its CSR program.

Earn support from the top. Getting senior leaders on board is vital for making a strong CSR initiative a reality. Once endorsement and investment at the top are secured, it opens the door for engagement from other staff. This engagement can make work more meaningful for your employees and extend engagement externally by creating emotional bonds and allowing people to become champions for your brand.

Align CSR to your overall business strategy. Initiatives centered on social impact should connect to your core values, business purpose and employee passion in a way that makes sense. Without focus around what your business already does well, CSR efforts may be less effective.

Build strong, sustainable partnerships. Collaboration is one of the most critical components of building reputational equity. Partnerships allow you to draw on the capabilities of others who have expertise in different areas. Connecting with partners can help you develop thoughtful CSR initiatives faster, and more effectively, than trying to create opportunities on your own. Strong partners help drive a strong narrative around your initiative.

Tell a compelling story. When you can organize your community impact efforts in a way so that it allows you to develop a narrative and tell a story around it, you’ll see the greatest impact, both for your organization and in the community. Consumers today are paying attention to – as well as helping create and establish – your brand’s storyline. The most successful brands create shared value through storytelling and weave this messaging into their digital strategy.

A strong CSR program will help attract and retain employees, strengthen your brand within your community and help forge long-lasting partnerships. Organizations that align their CSR objectives with business goals and community needs will be able to see how it stimulates growth for the organization, as well as their community partners. These innovators will forge a more authentic and deeper connection with consumers, employees and other stakeholders while creating greater value for the company as well as the communities where they operate.

To learn more about how our Marketing Advisory practice can partner with your organization to solve complex marketing challenges to ensure growth and success, please contact Tom Etling, Advisory Services Principal, at 314.687.2320 or

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