10 ways companies are placing altruism at the heart of their brand strategy
Much has been said of the rise of “conscious consumers,” the ever-expansive market of people who care about the companies they patronise. These consumers will not only read your company code of ethics and mission statement, but they will keep up with your environmental efforts, and even try to get involved with any interactive programs you run.
For this reason, companies are starting to see the value in placing altruism at the heart of their brand strategy. Sure, this might look like a cynical marketing ploy from the outside, but it’s important to note that companies are often comprised of well-meaning people. These staff often want the work they do to make a difference, because that helps improve their own motivation and sense of purpose.
That said, paying lip service to a social cause or ethical standard is very easy to do. What matters is actually focusing on the effort required to ensure a helpful achievement is won. In this post, then, we’ll discuss how to distinguish between the two, and what kind of effort that might take to begin with.
We’ll achieve this by exploring some examples of programs and initiatives companies are putting in place, spurned on by the idea of doing good:
1. Accessible hiring schemes
Many companies are focusing on diversity and inclusion schemes in order to make hiring fairer across the board. However, many companies are expanding their program to be more impartial from person to person even while providing opportunities to those that are underserved.
Chief among these is the removal of gender, race and name conventions on each application reviewed, ensuring that no implicit bias can be found in the hiring process, only merit will secure access. On top of that, sponsorship in graduate schemes, attending local college job fairs, and sponsoring academic programs are being used in order to create a healthy and welcoming avenue for potential hiring.
Along with this, placement opportunities are being provided to students. This is especially found in the creative sectors, where theatres are reading out to drama students, film schools are offering small employment opportunities to potential set workers, and more. It could be that enrolling into the next accessible hiring scheme gives you access to a profound crop of talent, while also serving as a fantastic marketing opportunity.
2. Ethical sourcing
More than ever, company branding is influenced by who you do business with and the supply chain you invest in. As such, ethical sourcing can be an essential step in not only cleaning your image but also making sure the platform of your business is used in the correct way.
This might involve using companies that have strong stances on modern slavery (not just paying lip service to it), those that utilize fair trade schemes, source supplies ethically, are fully transparent, and may not use overseas cheap labor or other profiteering motives.
Conscious consumers will not only care for the companies they invest in but the companies their chosen business supports, too. As such, it’s also helpful to be transparent about this from your end.
3. Time management
More and more companies are starting to prioritize the human experience in their planning outside of simple revenue and profit. For example, think of how Timebanking can help gamify and motivate the hour investment of its practitioners, allowing a kind of mutual altruism that allows you to invest and take out charitable effort.
Companies are also using this approach to develop flexible working patterns for their staff, remote work opportunities, and more. By commodifying the human experience, but without poisoning or undercutting it for profiteering motives, you can help spread goodwill and assistance through your platform.
4. Community building
Another good example of time management sharing is that of community building, and allowing those communities to support one another. For example, GiffGaff, a mobile phone provider in the United Kingdom, offers community support forums that allow pre-existing users to answer questions from newcomers, freeing up support time for the company in question while having moderators ensure the accuracy of free-flowing support.
Community building is more than just outsourcing advice and support to those who use your service, it’s a matter of welcoming and supporting those who are interested. Not only does such outreach inspire goodwill, but it shows that you trust your community and care about their feedback and what they have to say. Remember that genuine listening and support is always defined as an altruistic act. When baked into your processes, you may benefit from such an initiative more than you realize.
5. Cancelling contracts & red tape
There’s nothing wrong with a subscription model to deliver your services, in fact it can make your package more affordable, scaleable, and understandable for newcoming clients. That said, some of the trappings of subscription models are starting to be done away with in the interest of accessibility.
In fact, advertisement authorities around the world are cracking down on the language standards required for promoting and demonstrating subscriptions, particularly around free trial and how to cancel them.
Companies are realizing more and more that predatory pricing for subscription models, cancellation charges, and long-form contracts in the guise of flexible subscriptions are struggling to be as effective as they once were, and can leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth.
As such, effective cancellation periods, constant updates regarding the cost of a client’s subscription, and making sure consumers aren’t oversold on the packages provided to them are now front and centre. Sure, these standards should have been present from the beginning, but we can appreciate them being adopted.
6. Well-being development
Well-being is not a luxury, but an operational standard that should apply to any staff member, partner, or client who interacts with a service. As such, it’s incumbent upon companies to do all they can in leveraging the power of their platform towards this goal.
Many are starting to see the benefits. In fact, cycle-to-work schemes, public transport promotions (like internal rail card schemes), and even gym membership programs have allowed companies to inspire staff to live in a more healthy and active fashion.
We’ve also seen investments in office spaces, such as renewed air filters using HEPA management to remove toxins from the workplace air, investment in ventilation, and new air conditioning systems as temperatures increase around the world.
Companies that invest in well-being programs are routinely leading the employment satisfaction polls because staff recognize when their wellbeing has been prioritized, and how much that matters to begin with.
7. Ethical brand activism
Activism was once considered outside of the purview of companies, but many are starting to use their platform to push social messages they believe in. This is why many companies are more than happy to celebrate Pride each year, making it clear to their employees and customers that everyone is welcome no matter their identity.
But ethical brand activism carries on further than this, too. By calling out ethical constraints in the industry, seeking to bake-in certain transparency measures, and also working with regulators to properly manage new developing industries (it’s of stark interest that many AI firms are taking the initiative on this), leading the charge is not just a virtue, but a plan you can format in your visionary mission statement.
8. Charitable drives
Companies have a platform and reach, and many have marketing plans. Using these channels to assist charitable drives has always been possible, but has never been considered a necessity like it is now.
For example, certain mattress firms offer a donation of every ten mattresses sold to local homeless shelters and other charitable causes. If your company offers a particular service or product that can be adapted to charitable efforts, even if that means catering at the local food fair in the name of fundraising for your local community, that can make a profound difference, too.
9. Community outreach
Brands are starting to realize that nestling themselves in their local community of note won’t deter other people from appreciating what they have to offer, rather, it grants them a sense of character. This is why many companies are using regional accents as part of their automated phone answering systems, and aren’t afraid to use regional dialect or even accessible slang in how they craft their copyrighted content.
Not only does this showcase a distinct approval of a local community and location, but a pride in it, and a desire to be involved no matter how widely their brand is known. With a little care and attention, your brand may too know what it’s like to integrate community outreach as a fundamental pillar of note.
10. Redefining success beyond profit
Revenue and profit are, of course, the aims of your business if it hopes to sustain itself and grow. Even non-profit ventures need to break even to keep the lights on, no matter how that funding is sourced.
Yet companies are also using new metrics to redefine success, be that achieving a mission statement, ensuring customers gain lifetime satisfaction, and welcoming union or staff empowerment efforts. We need only see how many indie films have recently accepted all SAG-AFRA conditions to keep production rolling.
With this advice, you’re sure to see how companies are placing altruism at the heart of their brand strategy, and how you could start doing so as well.