Social responsibility is, as Prashant Modi and other leading entrepreneurs know, an extremely important concept in today’s business world. While just five or 10 years ago this particular idea was considered nearly exclusively by small businesses with a more liberally slanted social philosophy, today’s entrepreneurs across all industries and ideologies are coming to recognize the value that socially responsible enterprises bring to the community.
Why Isn’t Social Responsibility More Widespread?
Prashant Modi feels the problem remains that many business professionals are unaware of just how to make a socially responsible model work for their initiatives. An article by Inc.com highlights the fact that expectations are higher than ever before and that, ultimately, there are many challenges that stand between a small business owner and a socially responsible enterprise, including:
• A low degree of satisfaction regarding the social impact that Corporate America has had over the last decade or so
• The idea that social responsibility is in direct contrast with professional success
• The concept that positive social interaction must be sacrificed due to the needs of the bottom line
Overcoming These Challenges
Ultimately, the article contends, business leaders can make social responsibility work for their organizations without having to compromise their overall success. In fact, there are ways in which today’s business owners can make socially responsible initiatives work in their favor by winning over the trust and support of members of the general population and the target audience. The article asserts that the following three ideas are key to making this happen, and Prashant Modi agrees that these are wonderful concepts to keep in mind when building a new business.
1. Make the social efforts of a brand part of its image. Instead of viewing social initiatives as an aspect of the company that takes place on the sidelines, make it a central focus when marketing the organization. A wonderful example of a company that has done this successfully is Tom’s Shoes. This organization donates a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair that it sells. While it started with a quality product, it improved the value of that product by allowing customers to participate in a social responsibility initiative when they make a purchase. For this reason, many people choose Tom’s Shoes over the organization’s competition simply because they feel better about themselves—and the role that they play in this world—because they are supporting a positive cause.
2. Market social responsibility as the key component of the brand that it is. People want to know that the companies that they are supporting are creating a positive impact on the world. The key to the success of Tom’s Shoes, to go back to the example above, is that people know about the social aspect of the organization. In essence, the brand is inextricably tied to the idea of providing those in need with a new pair of shoes. The marketing department at Tom’s can take the credit for this, as its professionals have made it a priority to ensure that the brand is built upon social responsibility.
3. Finally, the article asserts that involving customers in the cause is a great way to improve the impact of a social responsibility campaign. As can be guessed, Tom’s Shoes has achieved this with flying colors. But so, too, have other brands. The article cites Coke, Starbucks, and Project RED as organizations that have enlisted the engagement of consumers to make the most out of their social initiatives. Pepsi and Chase, too, have been known to give customers a direct way to participate in their corporate giving efforts.
Prashant on Giving Back
The idea that social responsibility is an integral part of the business world is one that is certainly gaining steam, but it unfortunately has yet to have an impact on the majority of businesses that are out there. Prashant Modi and other socially-minded entrepreneurs are working to increase awareness regarding the importance of community-centered initiatives.
“Ultimately, communities are what support small businesses,” Modi states. “From small retailers downtown to Internet-based companies that appeal to a virtual community, there is a group of people supporting the growth and success of every single business in this world. I believe that it is only right for business owners, then, to show their appreciation by giving back to these populations. Call them social initiatives, call them charitable causes, call them philanthropies, the bottom line is that all of these endeavors work to improve the world and its people.”
Modi encourages all entrepreneurs to consider integrating social responsibility into their business models to best serve the populations that support them. He asserts that there is a wide range of ways in which to do so and that virtually every business can give back in a way that suits it and its community.
Modi is a graduate of Boston University who holds a bachelor of science in business administration. Additionally, he has completed two highly competitive executive education programs at Harvard Business School and is presently pursuing certification in a third. An innovative entrepreneur, Prashant Modi is the president and chief operating officer of Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited located in Gurgaon, India.
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