Corporate responsibility – Business with Ethics in mind

As a small or medium sized business, you may be contemplating how to inject some humanity into your business. You want your customers to know there is a person behind your brand – a reason you chose to work in this industry, or a passion you want to tell them about.

Portraying the ethical side of your business can be tricky, because most of the time, business is about making money and marketing your niche, so there is little time or opportunity to get across any other message. Customers are bombarded with marketing messages, and may find it difficult to differentiate your key message with your competitors. How can you tell them that you care, that you support local causes, and that you are different from other competitors, without sacrificing your other marketing messages?

The good news is that customers are seeking more, wanting more information before they work with a company and being savvier about where they shop. This gives businesses the chance to show a humanitarian side of themselves through many different mediums (website, social media, leaflets, word of mouth, etc.) Whether this is sponsoring a local event, starting up a charity or running a campaign which compliments your business activities, customers LIKE to see a human side to your company and want to know they are choosing a good hearted company that’s ethos is similar to their own. There has been too much negative media on companies that dodge taxes, use underpaid workers or choose less desirable practises in their business, and customers are becoming more aware of this and want to pick a company correctly.

It’s in your business’ best interests to address ethical campaigning in your company. And this isn’t just so you can look good in front of your customers. According to Small Business, a positive and healthy corporate culture with solid ethical activities improves the morale among workers in the company, which may also increase productivity and employee retention. So there is so much benefit to addressing this in your business.

If you want to start small, you might consider sponsoring a local event. This could be a fun run, or a local food fayre. You can put your name out in the community, hand out leaflets, and show how you support your local area. You may also want to set a long term aim, or passion-project which you can write about on your website, blog about and tell your customers about when you do business with them. One instance of this is Fruitful Office, an office fruit delivery company who pledged to plant one tree in Malawi, Africa, for every fruit basket consumed by their customers. These trees only take 3-5 years to grow, are easy to maintain and are abundant with fruit. Fruitful Office providing tree seedlings and guidelines for the communities in Malawi to follow, to allow them to cultivate and maintain these trees. The Malawians are able benefit not only from the fruit of the trees but also the wood they provide.

The campaign has been a long term company passionate. Fruitful Office were able to keep their clients informed on how the campaign was going, with updates every three months on how many trees had been planted.

Of course, your campaign can change and alter as time goes on. You can’t stick to the same process all the time, as customers will want to hear more. So, with that in mind, Fruitful Office have plans to take their campaign to the deforested region of Muzuzu. They have been in communication with the local government forestry staff to see what trees would best serve the area’s population. They have set a target of raising 300,000 trees this year. The campaign continues to attract attention and also supports their main business function – the selling of fruit throughout the UK. It’s a clever campaign with a clever message that tells customers who they are dealing with and why they should stick with them /trust them /tell other people about them. It supports the overall message and portrays a strong sense of ethics and humanity.

If you’re looking to do something similar in your business, it would be wise to, in the first instance, get an idea board set up, hold regular meetings, put ‘feelers’ out in the local community, and carefully plan your campaign so that it can be as successful as possible. Remember, nothing happens overnight – it can take weeks and months of work, and even years of dedication before the message finally gets out there. Use social media to your advantage, and remember to stay loyal to the heart of the campaign – i.e. keep in mind why you are doing it in the first place.

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The author has many years of experience in the writing and editing industry. He likes mostly in areas related to business and investment, eternity diamond rings and other similar topics. He shares his Ideas on his blog Entrepreneur Business and Wedding Photography Business.

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