In many developed countries, the concept of corporate social responsibility is a well established one. Many entrepreneurs are known philanthropists and are actively engaged in humanitarian activities. In contrast, Indian businesses have been criticised for ignoring this very essential social function.
But are things really still the same? Hasn’t the wave of social activism hit the India corporation yet? The answer is a definite yes. While some big industrialists may not be donating big earnings to charities, there has been a definite increase in CSR. But, the question for us in the research business is, should a qualitative research company focus on CSR?
The corporate conscience:
CSR is by no means a novel concept. Many big businesses have built and run social enterprises such as townships, educational institutions hospitals. What is remarkable is that many smaller businesses are also now trying to push CSR initiatives. The usual excuse of wasting resources has been quite cleverly converted into brilliant PR opportunities. Some businesses have even made it into their USP.
CSR today takes many forms, including short-term forms like sport sponsorship or a part of company philosophy like the use of environmental friendly methods.
How does qualitative research company gauge the need for CSR?
Brand impact: Is there a visible impact on the brand value? Do people associate CSR initiatives with the brand?
Satisfaction: When CSR initiatives are aimed at employees, such as creating townships or sponsorships, qualitative research shows us the success of such plans.
Product innovation: Sometimes a product may get a bad reputation for being ‘anti-social’, such as a fertiliser rich food product. In such cases we may need product innovation. Research shows us what and how this innovation is carried out.
In fact, for many foreign companies from UK and Singapore CSR, evaluation by a qualitative research company can show the benefits of investing in such initiatives.