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October 15, 2021 4 min read

Don’t Let Your Business Be On The Wrong Side Of History

Pivot into adopting a social cause

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Why should we bring social accountability into our business now?

So here’s something I learnt when I first started Paws for Giving. Social action is at least somewhat necessary to most customers. And to a vocal minority of customers, social action from businesses they support is essential.

More and more, entrepreneurs and businesses are finding that their customers aren’t just buying the lowest priced product. They’re buying for the highest social impact.

So when most people want some degree of social accountability from their businesses nowadays, what does that mean for you?

What is Social Action?

Social action in a business context refers to the activities of an organisation that take into account the interests of society. These interests could be one of the causes already mentioned in this article, any of the hundreds of other causes out there.

For example, by investing in high environmental standards, treating your employees well and supporting worthy causes near you, your business is taking social action to protect the environment and potentially support other causes. Some companies send employees on a paid Volunteer day once a year to contribute to a charity of their choice. Others regularly donate to charities, either themselves or through initiatives such as B1G1 Business for Good.

In a recent Investopedia article by Chris B. Murphy, Why Social Responsibility Matters to Businesses, Murphy writes:

“From an optics perspective, socially responsible companies project more attractive images to both consumers and shareholders alike, which serves to positively affect their bottom lines.”

Which makes a lot of sense when you consider a concept called extrinsic incentive bias.

Extrinsic incentive bias is a proven human tendency to believe others do things with selfish or evil intentions, even when we think we would do the same with altruistic and good intentions.

Since it’s so important, what should our business do about it?

It’s time more businesses start taking this seriously because your customers are watching you! You can’t expect them to follow you or care about your business if all they see are a bunch of sales-focused marketing strategies with no real purpose other than profit (and usually at whatever cost).

It’s also crucial for companies to be aware that showing too much of your social action in your marketing efforts may actually send the wrong message. Always keep that in mind before spending money on advertising your company’s new initiative.

If people think you’re just doing it for PR purposes, then don’t bother! It’s better to be real and authentic when it comes to charity, even if your efforts are small.

What does it mean for a business or entrepreneur to take social action?

When you as a business take social action, you can then call yourself a socially responsible business, sustainable business, ethical business or one that takes corporate social responsibility. Of course, you can call yourself anything you want to, no matter what you do.

What matters is the action you take.

How does a business decide on a social cause to support?

Ask yourself — have you ever interacted with a customer of yours who expressed an interest in a social cause?

Maybe they love animals, are a Vegetarian, have a family member with a disability, care about children in poverty, campaigned for LGBTQI+ equality, Black Lives Matter, or first nations’ peoples land ownership.

If you can tell me that not one single customer of yours has ever expressed one of these interests to you, I’m going to tell you that you aren’t talking to your customers enough.

Once you’ve started thinking about these things, deciding on a cause is simple.

Ask yourself what your customer cares about because that’s what matters most. Do they care about the environment, animals, poverty worldwide, or Indigenous Australian incarceration and suicide rates? Whichever cause your customer cares about is your cause too.

What are the long term effects of good deeds on a company’s success?

The long term effects of good deeds on a company’s success are exponential. A business that invests some of its profits into community service will inevitably gain more respect and rapport with consumers. Customers can appreciate companies that give back to the community, and they will often choose a particular brand over another because it aligns better with their values and beliefs.

We’ve all seen the movements about the importance of branding for businesses nowadays, and that’s where there is an overlap. Your customers want to see that your brand has a conscience.

’s aptly named article You Don’t Need a Personal Brand, You Need to Be Useful really speaks to this concept.

“All the time these gurus spend dishing out personal brand secret tips could be used on another pursuit that has value and is genuine. Self-interest is the worst way to be useful online, and people can smell that BS from a mile away.”

“What it comes down to is your intent and how that relates to something more important, like your purpose.”

So what is the takeaway?

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