The business patterns and consumer awareness are certainly in a changing process.
More attention is being paid on social and ethical aspects of a company and the kind of impact it is causing on society. MacKey & Sisodia (2013, pp. 59)
In addition to cultural challenges, strong international branding is also linked to real positive social impacts. Consumers don’t want to support companies that are not social friendly through the purchase of products.
Moreover, besides buying great products and services from brands they smartly choose, they also want to identify themselves with a bigger purpose. Mankind carry this inherent need of feeling helpful and that must be developed both at personal and group levels functioning as motivational factor.
Businesses could work with this subtle variable not only in the marketing field but in each sector of the company such as hiring, retention and HR functions. Thus, providing its customers and employees with the experiences they desire; not only buying experience but also social experience. Who has never dreamed of being a superhero?
Mackey & Sisodia (2013, pp. 65) highlight the importance of the private sector for society and how significant are the private sector’s contributions to minimize or even solve social problems.
Zara & Cenedella (2013) corroborate Mackey & Sisodia, presenting the difference between corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility.
It is quite interesting because while corporate social responsibility is basically a set of good actions that the company would practice, totally separated from the purpose of the company; corporate citizenship is the real perception that members of society have of an enterprise’s positive contribution to society.
I strongly believe that for the majority of businesses, corporate social responsibility is been a marketing strategy based on superficial actions that at the end of the day is inversely proportional to the damage caused by the companies ( environment, sweatshops, consumerism).
On the other hand, corporate citizenship takes into consideration the strategic interaction with consumers, employees, government, environment, suppliers and the community in which the organization is inserted. Corporate citizens master their abilities to solve global social challenges while building up credibility and consequently attracting consumers who will choose them over other competitors.
An interesting example is the company Windhorse . It was founded in 2007 and sells drinkable water to poor communities in India; people who live with $2.00 a day. The company proves that it is possible to work in new markets with consumers who live with $2.00 a day, help the communities to get rid of illnesses due to contaminated drinking water, do it at scale and be profitable. What the Indian government did not do, it is been done by the private sector.
Hanlon, P. (2012) ‘ Conscious capitalism: can empathy change the world? ‘ Forbes [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickhanlon/2012/09/23/conscious-capitalism-can-empathy-change-the-world/3/ (Accessed: August 28 2013)
Zara, T. Cenedella P. (2013) ‘ Citizens all: the rules of corporate citizenship’ Interbrand: creating and managing brand value [Online] Available at : http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2012/articles-and-interviews/citizens-all-the-new-rules-of-corporate-citizen.aspx ( Accessed: August 28 2013)
MacKey, J. Sisodia, R. (2013) Conscious Capitalism: liberating the heroic spirit. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.