Leveraging Social Responsibility in an Era of Global Change

Whether advocating for free trade or worker’s rights, more than ever companies have a unique opportunity to engage internal and external stakeholders and demonstrate their commitment to programs and products that benefit society. Some of this may be a reaction to recent political winds and “actions,” but to be impactful in the long run, initiatives must span quick-hit opportunities as well as programmatic reputation builders, which may last months or years.

From a corporate communications perspective, companies operating within the United States are staying on their toes as changes that impact their international employees and their ability to do business abroad hang in the balance. Others are either “laying low” to avoid being called out in a late-night tweet, while some have determined that taking a public position is the way to go – especially if it rallies (in the right way) vocal influencers and other “Opinion Elites.”

In an era of increasing uncertainty, some brands like Starbucks are drawing a political line in the sand. Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz announced the intent to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years. By taking a stance in response to President Trump’s proposed immigration ban, Starbucks seeks to improve its reputation through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). [ Related: INFOGRAPHIC: Disunited State of America ]

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Why does CSR matter?

CSR is crucial to a company’s reputation; within the consumer sector, a brand’s reputation for Citizenship, Governance, and Workplace sways stakeholder more than other factors. In fact, the three CSR dimensions (Governance, Citizenship and Workplace) hold a weight of importance of 41.1%, and offer a means for Starbucks to boost its RepTrack® Pulse rating, which currently has an average score of 67.5 (see diagram left). 

 

Research Brief Explores CSR Opportunities for Starbucks

How can CSR initiatives help brands like Starbucks strengthen their reputations and win the hearts (and wallets) of its loyal customers – and even critics? We recently released a research brief exploring the opportunity for Starbucks to further leverage its good Citizenship, Governance, and Workplace credentials to win reputation points with its most important stakeholders.

An excerpt from the brief: 

“Making a link between the leadership, the values the organization wants to imbue, and the tangible manifestation of the human and social values of what defines Starbucks can set the brand apart (and especially inspire employees).”

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Access the research brief, “Starbucks: How New Leadership Creates an Opportunity to Improve Reputation Through Social Responsibility” to learn more and sample our detailed research findings.

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