September 23, 2009 By BJ Cook,

I had the opportunity of attending the 2nd annual Peace and Prosperity Summit at the University of San Diego. The topic of the summit was “Increasing Market Share through Social Branding.” The summit included some great social marketing leaders including Colin Brady, COO of Product (RED) and Priya Haji, CEO of World of Good.

Social branding represents a giant shift in corporate marketing by putting more attention on the work a company is doing to benefit people or the planet. In today’s market place 93% of customers feel that a company should be held responsible for their environmental impact. This large percentage weighs heavily on how businesses today should be branding themselves. The consumer is not only being more educated on corporate environmental impact but they are also allowing this knowledge to play a bigger role in their decision to purchase a product. Another recent survey shows that 86% of customers will purchase a product that is socially responsible over one that is not when price and quality are considered equal. And according to Jake Kloberdanz, CEO of One Hope, 90% of consumers say they will consider switching brands when they know a company is aligned with a cause. It is not only about low price points and quality products anymore, people want social responsibility available with every purchase.

It certainly isn’t all bad news though for the companies needing to make a shift in their social responsibility though. Not only does a business have the satisfaction of taking care of the environment and helping others but it clan play a huge role in the most important spot of a business, the bottom line. For example a green movement within an organization may cause the business to reduce energy costs. In a larger corporation a 20% drop in energy not only lowers the environmental impact but it can also make an impact to the bottom line by equaling up to a 5% revenue gain.

What business needs to learn is that social responsibility is here to stay, and rightly so. It is time that corporations take action in helping the communities around them whether it be by protecting the natural environment or providing food for the hungry. It’s good for business and more importantly good for the rest of us.

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