How Being Socially Responsible Can Build Brand Value

A number of famous brands have built their reputation not only by providing strong products but also by recognizing the importance of being socially responsible.  As we discuss in the What is Marketing? tutorial, being socially responsible means a company shows concern for the markets in which it operates, including caring for people in these markets as well as the physical environment in which it conducts business.  Well-known companies that are widely recognized for their socially responsible behavior include Ben & Jerry?s, Newman?s Own and Whole Foods.

One way companies exhibit socially responsible behavior is by providing support for social causes.  In fact, it can be argued that Ben & Jerry?s, Newman?s Own and Whole Foods are as well-known for the social causes they support as they are for the reputation of the products they market.  So from a brand management perspective, the value of these brands may not be built solely through traditional marketing decisions (product, price, promotion, distribution) but also by the socially responsible decisions they make.

This story from Fast Company looks at another company that has adopted social responsibility as a key strategy for helping build value in its brand.  The company, Kind Healthy Snacks, markets healthy snack products and its sales have grown nicely since it was founded 10 years ago.  While in the story the company president emphasizes product taste as the key reason customers purchase their products, a significant percentage of customers also cite the company?s active role in various social campaigns has the reason they buy Kind?s products.

Aside from the importance of social involvement in shaping Kind?s image, the story also discusses other marketing decisions that distinguish this company from competitors, including the company?s decision to eschew fancy product names and the use of relatively simple packaging.