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What Is Social Branding?

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

A social brand is much like any marketing brand. It should reflect your business values and marketing message like your conventional branding message would.

The significant difference is that a social brand will reflect your company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Going beyond mere profitability, a social brand will signal to your stakeholders that you have a serious, relevant, authentic message about your community and the world at large.

Social branding definition

“Social branding is eco branding for social change.”

It involves harnessing all marketing and communication tools, from print advertising and PR to social media.

The aim should be to make them work for you to spread your organisation’s socially responsible message.

Several factors play into the success of social branding.

For you to get the most out of your social branding efforts, you could consider concentrating on the following activities and strategies:

  • From the start, identifying and committing to causes appropriate to your community and environment that will enhance your community and the environment.

  • Recognising goals, monitoring progress, and reporting successes to track effectiveness over time.

  • Finding partners to work with that share your corporate social goals

  • Pinpointing the methods that will work best for your organisation to publicise your social goals and results. You want your community and your stakeholders to know of your successes and what you’re doing to enhance human lives and the environment.

  • Staying committed to a holistic approach to incorporate your social efforts into as many aspects of the business as possible.

  • Measuring Social Return On Investment (SROI). As an indicator of how well your constituents understand your social branding and success a bringing about positive change, the SROI will help you decide the value of your efforts and gives more information for communicating your company’s effectiveness.

Developing a social brand will help to make your company or organisation a positive force in the world and is sure to increase loyalty for your employees, customers, boards, community members, and so on.

“Of course, with greater loyalty comes greater profitability.”

Social Brand Capital (SBC), a measure of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is relatively new in the last decade.

Before the idea hit the mainstream, only a few brave companies were eco branding their marketing with social messages.

These social branding examples included companies such as Patagonia with their eco-friendly outdoor clothing and Starbucks with their Fair Trade coffee.

At the time of writing, CSR messages are popping up all over the Internet, and none more so than in social media portals.

Big-name brands like Ben and Jerry’s, Newman’s Own, and Seventh Generation are using social media to advertise their commitments to improve the planet and human society.

In the process, they are increasing their Social Brand Capital (SBC), which is the value attributed by a company’s stakeholders to its brand because of its CSR message.

How does social-cause branding work?

The larger a company’s commitment to environmental and social sustainability, and the more valid the reputation, the higher the SBC. But to fully capitalise on your social brand capital, you’ll need to work on meeting several milestones:

  • Make your CSR actions part of your everyday business activities from the very start and not as strategic add-ons as the market changes (a socially-conscious business plan helps here).

  • Use your CSR to brand your company as different and set apart from your competitors.

  • Convey a clear, relevant message that’s easy to understand.

  • No doubt a reliable SBC is nothing without a solid business structure and are providing a valuable service or product to the community. But if one ingrains CSR into their daily business activities, they could increase their SBC

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