“Sex doesn’t sell anymore, activism does – , and don’t the big brands know it,” a headlining article in UK-based paper The Guardian claims. The South African scene is catching on too, with many companies setting up strategies for quick responses to disasters, community development initiatives and CSI programmes.
This message resonates in Project Superbrand: 10 Truths Reshaping the Corporate World, a 2016 report by advertising company Havas Worldwide. Based on interviews with 10 000 adults in 28 countries, the data suggests that three-quarters of consumers globally believe businesses should operate sustainably. Two-thirds feel that brands bear the same responsibility as governments for driving social change and a similar percentage said they want their favourite brands to be more involved in solving social problems.
How Can Corporates Become Activists?
To do this, organisations can amplify their corporate quest for making a difference by turning staff into their own army of social activists. Employees of numerous organisations, including Vodacom, Deloitte, Discovery, and other large South African corporates are already part of forgood-run volunteer programmes.
We do this by connecting corporate staff members to more than 500 reputable Causes across the country. Forgood for Business gives corporate clients access to their own individually branded volunteering platforms, which are populated with real-time requests for donations and professional services. These opportunities encompass everything from bookkeeping, data capturing and marketing assistance, to legal consulting and mentoring, as well as donation drives and your standard DIY volunteering.
These and other professional services make a world of difference to Causes. By connecting the right people with the right skills to organisations that need help, together we are driving social change. It is this objective that drives our clients. They want to be part of the change and they’d like their staff to be part of it too.
One of the benefits of corporate social activism, besides working towards a fairer society and empowering clients, is that all activities can be incorporated into Corporate Social Investment reporting. Volunteering leads to positive brand association stories and associations, which may result in higher customer loyalty and more sales.
We find that South African consumers simply seem to prefer companies that care . Are you one?