Global competition and distribution makes it difficult for brands to stand out on the basis of price or product availability.

Consumers are shifting their attention to the larger impact retailers have within a certain community – often known as corporate social responsibility to the business world. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of business accountability that looks at whether a corporation is adhering to laws, complying with necessary regulation, and upholding social etiquette and norms. In many cases, corporate social responsibility extends beyond self-regulation and goes into improving the social good of a particular community or cause.

The idea of CSR is good for stakeholders and investors because your business adheres to the law, creates goodwill in the target demographic, and produces a culture that employees can be proud of.

Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is an excellent way to build a connection with your audience, especially when your values align with theirs. It can also be the difference that sways a customer's purchase decision toward your company, instead of a competitor. A survey by Cone Communications and Echo Research found that 87 percent of global consumers use corporate social responsibility as one of the determining factors for their purchase decisions.

Another internal benefit of corporate social responsibility is using green and sustainable initiatives to cut down on energy and resource costs across the entire company. Tech giant Google managed to cut its power requirements in data centers by half through renewable energy sources and other changes. Consumers look for environmentally conscious companies employing green technology as another factor when picking out their preferred companies. Corporate social responsibility is a way of improving the overall shopping experience because customers are doing more than simply buying your products. They also feel good because their purchases are supporting the causes that your business promotes.

Brands Doing Corporate Social Responsibility Right

Once you move beyond the basics of corporate responsibility, you find companies all have their own ways of benefiting the social good. For example, ModCloth, a clothing company with a focus on retro fashion, has instituted an anti-Photoshop pledge. In a fashion world where models often look far different in post-production than the actual photos, ModCloth decided to drop the airbrushing and show models as they are. In addition to contributing to the body positivity movement, ModCloth also cut down on post-production costs.

Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company, has a Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program that makes donations to their nonprofit partners so that they can supply glasses and optometrist training to needy communities. They also make their glasses available at low cost for these newly trained professionals in order to promote eye care within the communities.

Target looks at its local communities as the focus for its corporate social responsibility program. The retail giant invests in various programs designed to improve the communities where Target stores are located. These include education grants or the implementation of sustainable practices for a store.

Corporate social responsibility is a major factor in the customer journey. Today's consumer can get the products they want from multiple companies, so they want to go with the business that makes them feel good about their purchase. By using corporate social responsibility programs in your business, you can give customers the feel-good emotion they're looking for, while helping to improve your local community, industry or even the world.

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