Social responsibility in marketing involves focusing efforts on attracting consumers who want to make a positive difference with their purchases. Recyclable packaging, promotions that spread awareness of societal issues and problems, and directing portions of profits toward charitable groups or efforts are examples of social responsibility marketing strategies.
Many companies have adopted social responsibility elements in their marketing strategies as a means to help a community via beneficial services and products. For example, marketing departments may launch a campaign that encourages consumers to buy a bundle of socks versus one pair; for every bundle sold, the company donates a bundle of socks to military personnel overseas or to local homeless shelters. As a result of such donations, the company brands itself as socially responsible and ethical, which ultimately attracts customers who are engaged in socially responsible commitments and who want to support the welfare of the community.
Corporate responsibility goes hand in hand with socially responsible practices. For example, administrators, executives, and shareholders and stakeholders must practice ethical behaviors and join the community in promoting responsible marketing efforts. Putting on appearances or greenwashing, the practice of promoting deceptively environmentally friendly processes or products, indicates to customers that the company is not committed to social responsibility; such behaviors can ultimately hurt the brand and the company's success. Consumers often do their research and can see through gimmicks and slogans, or efforts that are not genuine or ineffectual.
Although an initial investment may be involved to share profits or donate to those in need, social responsibility in marketing promotes a positive company image, which can significantly impact profitability and even productivity favorably.