Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just an important issue for stakeholders and customers but for employees as well. According to a Nielsen survey, over 80% of millennials expect companies they support to publicly discuss Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. It is not a surprise that many large companies are pushing for changes and transparency in order to engage customers. In a Forbes article, author Thomas Bognanno lists five important CSR trends:

  1. Authenticity by executives to publicly support issues through a personal message
  2. Communication and clarity
  3. Diversity and inclusion
  4. Volunteering and community involvement
  5. Measurable business goals and balancing corporate citizenship

With these five major trends, which companies are doing the best on the CSR playing field? Nike is leveraging its brand in the name of CSR. With its recent ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, does its choice to feature Kaepernick follow the five major CSR trends? A recent article in article in The Guardian says Nike has become a brand that is known as “woke.” Its recent ad was authentic because Nike took a strong stance to feature Kaepernick who has been vocal in the conversation against racial inequality.

Another company who understands CSR? Ben & Jerry’s has been a consistent front-runner in terms of strong CSR. The famous ice cream company has been vocal about the issues the company cares about, and has donated proceeds from certain flavors including Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.

The PR move that Nike took to feature Kaepernick was a strategic one. Nike needs to appeal to its customers who care about social issues and by taking a stance the brand is joining the conversation and understands that Kaepernick as a spokesperson would connect Nike to consumers. Although there have been mixed reviews of this new campaign, Nike’s value increased by 6.8 billion dollars since the campaign was released. While this ad was met with both praise and protest, it is no secret that the executives at Nike had a plan to promote CSR, while increasing the bottom line.

Stay tuned…