CSR and Brand Building

Amid increasing focus on business transparency, a recent survey undertaken by KPMG called β€˜India Corporate Responsibility Survey 2011’ indicates that only 16% of the top 100 listed companies in India have a corporate responsibility strategy in place. The global scenario is much brighter, as 73 % of the world’s 250 largest companies have defined objectives, 65 % have key performance indicators related to set objectives and around 60 % report on such identified indicators.

Some of the corporate are now realizing the importance of brand building of the company by integrating it with CSR. For example, Mahindra Group plan is to mould the image of its company as a purpose-driven and socially responsible firm. Mahindra will give away 48 grants totalling Rs 4 crore as seed capital. It has been advertising the initiative, which it says is more a corporate brand initiative than a CSR one. TATA steel also recently released an ad campaign that talks about its values and brings to fore its CSR initiative to empower women and communities.

This trend of demonstrating that the brand is socially responsible is an important development. It is an opportunity for the sector as it can work with the corporate sector on how to make its programmes relevant both socially and help in enhancing the Social Brand Capital of the company. Those companies that authentically and deeply tie their social causes to the essence of their brand will be the winners.

It may be of interest to note that the government, which had been trying to make it compulsory for Indian corporate to spend 2% of net profits on CSR also dropped the idea in mid-July and made the spending voluntary.

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