One of the many end-of-year traditions are all of the trends to see for the next year. In this piece, we will examine four trends several business analysts are anticipating for 2015. Then, we will examine how the trends will impact corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
Before we do that, we need to establish a connection between CSR and all business trends. We will be doing this by using a CSR trend many CSR analysts expect for 2015:
CSR Trend: There will be an increased merging of CSR into business strategy & C-Level decision-making.
Reasoning: CSR is not going anywhere. State governments are increasing their support of Benefit Corporations (B-Corporations). Businesses are achieving success with their CSR campaigns. Finally, customers are willing to pay more for products from companies that have a positive impact. With all these different stakeholders building long-term support for CSR, business executives will be incorporating CSR into their decision-making more often.
If CSR is going to be more involved in the future, let's now see how CSR is impacted by other business trends forecasted for 2015:
*From Ian Altman's Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2015 on Forbes.com.
Altman claims in his trends that will help business "shape sales and business development," that the top companies for the upcoming year will know if they compete on price or value and make the trade-offs to not compete in both.
- Incorporating CSR: For a business competing on price, CSR can aid in lowering costs by choosing to purchase new equipment that is more efficient and has better effects on the environment. For those business competing on value, use CSR to add to a product's value by stating all the positive social or environmental impacts (e.g. Tom's Shoes).
Business Trend: Transparency will become the most important tool of marketing.
*From Avi Dan's 11 Marketing Trends To Watch For In 2015 on Forbes.com.
The power of the consumer has continually grown and Dan believes that, in the next year, the best companies will be the ones that are able to give a "real time picture" of what they are doing.
- Incorporating CSR: All CSR initiatives should be promoted, as marketing CSR efforts are one of the easiest ways businesses can be transparent. Start by stating CSR goals (how much energy waste desires to be reduced, how much money will be donated, etc.). Then, track and update progress. As goals are achieved, publish results so customers can learn about the efforts being taken.
Business Trend: Improve Social media integration & use LinkedIn and other social networks more to distribute content.
*From Peter Roesler's 4 Marketing Trends Business Owners Should Use in 2015 on Inc.com.
In Roesler's predictions, he points to the ever-changing world of social media as a tool all marketers need to be constantly learning so that they can use it more effectively. Each social media company is always providing new ways to use their platforms for users to engage with their followers. In addition, Tasha Cunningham also predicts that social media will further consumer spending.
- Incorporating CSR: As with transparency, CSR initiatives are very easy to show online and is content that followers want to know. Use these mediums to share progress on goals. Use photos and videos to show the company engaging with the community positively. Creating this content will be easy for followers to share with their friends and add to the brand value.
Long-Term Business Trend: "Businesses will spend most of their advertising on charity and the rest on bragging about their charity."
*From Marketplace Morning Report's Interview with Biz Stone, founder of Twitter and CEO of Jelly, on December 2, 2014.
Stone's prediction is compelling to say that business revenue models need to be tied to doing something good. Stone states that Millennial customers are particularly attracted to working for these types of companies and consumers want these products.
- Incorporating CSR: Essentially, what Stone believes in for the future takes into account many of the ideas above. He is the CEO of Jelly and is in the process of making it a B-Corp. Although we are not sure if all advertising budgets of a company will go to charity and promoting, we can see it trending that way.
Have a Happy New Year!