According to Billy Lascaris of Matriarch, positivity feeds positivity and good news drives sentiment, creating jobs and stimulating growth. Corporate Social Responsibility/Investment (CSI) is an opportunity for companies to include their socio responsible attitude and actions in brand and product communication.

Broad stakeholder value replaces narrow shareholder interest. A responsible attitude towards society and the environment makes business: more competitive; more resistant to economic slides; and more likely to attract consumers, investors and the best employees. Ideally, a dedicated division that focuses on CSI by strategically identifying and creating relevant, meaningful initiatives that not only do good but build brand equity and even drive sales is necessary. I believe that credible brand communication results from brand promises being carried out and reflected in reality.

Companies have not leveraged substantial investments to positively enhance their reputation and brands. The belief seems to be that doing good and being a good corporate citizen is not something that should generate a return. I believe this is an antiquated approach. Why? Because it is common cause that positive sentiment drives economies and markets, thereby creating much needed jobs and opportunities for South Africans.

The media and their content have a profound influence on sentiment and consumer mindset, but sadly headlines are consistently dominated by negative stories that have the opposite effect. Based on my decades of experience in the marketing industry I believe that if you do something good you have a responsibility to showcase and tell people about it. This not only enhances brand equity and goodwill, but it also has the multiplier effect of inspiring and challenging others to do the same.

Now with the COVID-19 pandemic in play, there has never been a better time to create meaningful CSI platforms that can assist those in need whilst getting customers involved and bringing them closer to your brand. Marketing spend can also be leveraged to support and stimulate small business development, thereby symbiotically creating new customers for brands. Let’s follow our President’s lead and ensure that the concerns of the nation are the concerns of the corporation.

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