Just How Socially Responsible are Corporations Today?

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A new survey by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) reveals majority of marketers say companies not engaged in corporate social responsibility programs.

Making a difference has become the new profit driver

The Marketing Executives Networking Group, a 1,700 member organization of leading marketers who are at a VP-level or above in their organizations, today issued the results of a survey of its members showing that 62.5% of those who participated work for companies that are not engaged in corporate social responsibility programs. The main reasons given for this surprising result were lack of interest or priority.

These results seem at odds with the fact that 60% of respondents think that corporate social responsibility programs have or will have a positive impact on profitability and overall performance of the company. Additionally, the key opportunities that these marketing executives associated with these programs included employee motivation (71%), influencing customer behaviors (54%), growth and innovation (54%), and increased profits (25%).

"Clearly, companies that are not participating in programs of this sort are missing out on tremendous business opportunities that not only directly affect the bottom line, but also offer indirect financial incentives reaped when employees are more motivated and loyal," remarked Richard Guha, Chairman of the MENG Board of Directors. "In a slowing economy these programs become even more important."

Those companies that do have corporate social responsibility programs are seemingly very committed to them, with 39% committing between one and five years to programs and a whopping 50% committing more than five years to their initiatives. Additionally, 66% of companies with such programs diligently created formal charters for their initiatives before beginning implementation. Of this group, 44% first identified causes and issues that mattered most to their customers and clients prior to formalizing these charters, while 39% percent also factored in employee causes and concerns. This shows a keen understanding within these companies of the bottom line importance of influencing key stakeholders with corporate social responsibility initiatives.

"Making a difference has become the new profit driver," said Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics, a corporate responsibility advisory services company, and the MENG member who led the survey. "If companies don't act now and adopt social responsibility strategies, they will be left behind."

But even those companies committed to their CSR initiatives said that there were challenges associated with them, including resources (57%), cost (40%), and demonstrating accountability and results (38%). Having an impact in the community and an enhanced reputation were key factors identified by these executives as determining whether the companies they work for will be able to demonstrate results.

"Integrating business and social purpose is a powerful way to innovate, improve a company's reputation and its relationship-driven marketing, and ultimately provide a strong competitive advantage," Taylor emphasized.

About the Marketing Executives Networking Group
The Marketing Executive Networking Group (MENG) is the premier organization of senior level marketing professionals who have reached at least the VP level in their organization. This 1,700member not-for-profit networking community fosters career and personal success by sharing information and relationships for mutual assistance across virtually all industries and marketing specialties. Eighty four percent of the members have Fortune 500 experience and 70% have earned graduate degrees, the majority of which are from top-20 Business Schools. To learn more go to http://www.MENGonline.com.

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