Brand activism is how brands consistently promote and intervene with reforms that will impact the social, environmental or economic aspect of the society. These reforms come in various strategies, campaigns and interventions, one of such is Corporate Social Investments (CSI).
According to a 2015 Global CSR Study “91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. 84% of them confirm that they seek out responsible products whenever possible. 90% of consumers would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible or deceptive business practices.”
CSI is a sub set of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targeted at uplifting and upgrading the quality of life and people in a community, what brands call CSR today is more of CSI than CSR. CSR in itself is a responsibility to the business environment in which one operates, it is more of a wider spectrum of problem solving plan for the “triple-bottom-line matters of the 3Ps – profits, people and planet.
In the world today CSI is one of the most powerful differentiating standards and yard stick for measuring brands and organisations in businesses. Brands that focus their CSI on solving societal or environmental issues stand a better chance with the consumers than a brand that is not because in a way the consumer wants to be identified with a brand that is imparting the society positively, that way they get to deliver on their own responsibility to do ‘good’.
CSI enhances the credibility of a brand exposing their heart for humanity, this helps people connect with them in terms of attracting and retaining investors, clients and employees.
It’s a no brainer, CSI is not another Public Relations (PR) tool, rather, Public Relations is used to promote CSIs, and it is an opportunity to ensure that both the internal and external audience are exposed to the brand’s effort and commitment to a cause or initiative.
For over 10 years, Dufil Prima Foods PLC through Indomie Independence Day Awards (IIDA) has consistently championed the cause of the Nigerian Child, celebrating and rewarding them for various heroic acts. This would have been swept under the carpet if not for the publicity given to the initiative. With Public Relations the brand was able to inform as well as inspire the publics about the IIDA initiative.
PR is the strategy to communicate your CSI goals, ambitions and achievements, it is an avenue for brands to elevate and continue to uphold their reputations in the eyes of the publics.