Customer Loyalty & Brand Social Responsibility

Goals

Identify three examples that demonstrate brand and/or company efforts in social responsibility and how these actions have positively or negatively affected customer loyalty and/or execution of CRM/loyalty marketing. Social responsibility includes donations, charity, programs, initiatives, etc.

Early Findings

  • Forbes notes that “businesses that focus on being socially responsible are having more success and seeing greater profit sustainability.” This article also mentioned some best practices and lessons learned from TekRevol.
  • Details about Nike’s “near-record highs” in its stock-share increase after aligning with Colin Kaepernick are the starting point to this review of trends that includes current trends about corporate responsibility. Trends include involvement in social issues, employee engagement, diversity and equality, volunteering employee time, and a focus on prevention.
  • UnityPoint Health focused on social responsibility and feel that its efforts in drug safety education made a meaningful social impact.
  • 25 companies listed as “the world’s most socially responsible” include The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Ben & Jerry’s, and Levi Strauss & Co, and Starbucks, among others.
  • LexisNexis reports that companies that are “invested in doing good, [builds] a loyal customer base,” while citing companies like those listed above as well as Zappos, Toms, Patagonia, Unilever, GE and IBM.
  • Toms and Patagonia were criticized for their efforts in social responsibility and this may have impacted their customer base.
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the goal.

Proposed next steps:

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Based on our preliminary research, it is apparent that there is much general coverage about the benefits (not as much about the negatives) of social responsibility and its trending nature in 2019 for large companies and enterprises, especially. However, because it will take time to unearth specific impacts experienced by companies that focus in this regard, we propose continued research into finding 3 examples of company details or leadership level interviews focused on any gains or lessons learned from the impact of social responsibility efforts and customer loyalty (highlighting any that focus on executing customer relationships management or loyalty marketing). We recommend focusing on companies that sell products in the United States in order to make sure that customer loyalty impact is not skewed by global customer differences.
Also, because so much available data focused on best practices and lessons learned, this avenue may be a great feature to add into the blog post since this is such a hot trend that has inspired a lot of media discussion. Our team could also take a scan of 2-3 best practices that highlight some innovations that other companies are successfully using.
Lastly, during the preliminary research, the team found that there was some discussion on the controversies and criticisms around certain brands and their social responsibility efforts (e.g. Toms and Patagonia). However, it may be beneficial to take a specific look at negative impacts since Toms and Patagonia are so often highlighted as the company “poster children” of negative corporate responsibility results. We propose identifying 2-3 more companies that have had a negative experience with corporate social responsibility.