In our second installment of this series, we discovered how differentiation is a key element of creating a strong, competitive advantage. We also saw how corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be one of those ways to differentiate your operational activities.
For today's examination of CSR into Michael E. Porter's "What is Strategy?" we talk about trade-offs. New opportunities are all around you and the opportunity cost can be too great to say no to. It is necessary that you do ensure you are picking the opportunities that best align with your future vision.
Trade-offs are important in strategy because they help prevent competitors from trying to copy some or all of what your business does. If they did try to copy your business and there were not any trade-offs, all businesses would try to copy each other. With trade-offs they have to take a bigger leap to try and copy you - and they may likely fail because the activity you are doing may not align with their brand as well..
In your CSR activities, it may be easy to set up a quick and easy event that can help any charity - like a monthly campaign where portions of your sales go to a new charity each month. However, if you can focus on a few charities that relate to your organization's strategy, the impact will be bigger for those organizations. You end up trading-off being able to help everyone a little bit for helping a few charities more significantly.