IT’S YOUR BUSINESS: Social responsibility is more than a slogan

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

This past year has raised a number of issues that had a direct impact on the way businesses market and promote themselves during trying times.

Aside from the pandemic there have been other crises that have impacted on the social wellbeing of the community.

Racial discrimination, the environment, violence in the streets and various forms of activism have all forced marketers to rethink how they relate to not just their customers but the community as a whole. Whether you are a large or small business your approach to social responsibility can have a huge impact on how consumers perceive your company and its importance in society.

There have been tremendous examples of how business has responded to these issues. High on the list is the pandemic, where it was and still is. It’s important to be able to empathize with people right across the spectrum of society. From showing support to those on the front lines and other essential workers, to abiding by the rules to keep everyone safe, will be remembered long after society gets back to living a more normal lifestyle.

Then there are the other issues like Black Lives Matter, which has sky-rocketed an issue to the forefront that has been going on for generations. Many businesses embraced this as an opportunity to some soul searching in a quest to at least come to terms with how they approach this kind of situation and make any necessary changes.

In addition to the above, there are other important issues that need to be addressed. Reconciliation with First Nations, LGBTQ, MMIWG, religious biases, the climate crisis, endangered species, and the list goes on.

While it may not be realistic to try and tackle all of them, it is important if you are going to address any to make sure you are not simply providing the proverbial lip service.

As a business leader, you need to take it to heart and ensure that you are going to provide your support for the long-term, and not just because it is an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon.

We seem to be entering an era where business has come to realize it can affect change by being more inclusive and transparent. By being more honest with its definition of social responsibility and understanding that it goes beyond simply directing financial support to community causes and events.

Being socially responsible is more than just coming up with an ad, marketing campaign or slogan, it has to become a key component of your corporate values not just for today but for years to come.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email

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