Home Advertising Tips How Brands' CSR Efforts Are Helping To Rebuild Puerto Rico

How Brands' CSR Efforts Are Helping To Rebuild Puerto Rico

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many people were quick to reach out and promise aid to the millions affected. Some brands, too, moved fast to provide supplies, money and assistance to Puerto Rico. Those who donated money, time and resources to rebuilding efforts and making sure the residents of the area had access to food, water and other basic necessities should surely be commended.

That being said, the response of many brands to Hurricane Maria illustrates a growing trend among corporations to donate significant amounts of money to philanthropic causes, and brands should take care lest their donations be construed as an attempt to buy goodwill amongst a population.

Big corporations such as Starbucks, Diageo, Verizon and Google&nbsp;donated millions of dollars toward rebuilding and recovery efforts in the territory, whereas companies such as Lowe’s announced aid for victims of the hurricane as well as of the recent earthquakes in Mexico. Other companies are donating their services, with AT&amp;T and T-Mobile waiving cell phone charges in affected areas and JetBlue bringing in emergency supplies via one of its planes.

It’s great that companies have stepped in to provide much-needed assistance to the residents of Puerto Rico. It’s also a move that will help the perception of their brand amongst all audiences, not just Hispanic ones. This is not to be cynical about what brands are trying to achieve when they donate to causes, humanitarian or otherwise — it’s merely to state the fact that donating is universally seen as a positive gesture and can potentially change what people think about a person or company even if that was not the intent of the donation.

Part of the reason brands have become so vocal in embracing environmental, social and political issues is&nbsp;because of how important these issues are to millennials and Gen Zers, vital demographics for virtually all brands. It’s often been said that millennials and Gen Zers are the two most politically active generations, so it makes sense that companies are using social activism and responsibility as a way to endear these groups.

That being said, many of the companies that have donated aid to Puerto Rico are not brands you would commonly associate with millennials. For example, Abbott and Kaiser Permanente, two healthcare companies, each pledged $1 million toward recovery efforts. Amgen, a biotechnology firm, has promised $3 million, plus an additional $2 million for longer-term rebuilding. And it’s not as though Lowe’s, Western Union and T-Mobile are particularly high on the millennial/Gen Z radar either.

A 2012 report posits that&nbsp;people have come to expect this type of social engagement from corporations. Failure to participate, therefore, could cause irreparable damage to one’s brand, lower employee morale and could negatively affect stock prices. The report says, &quot;Moving beyond customary standards&nbsp;of corporate social responsibility, in the twenty-first century corporations have embraced an expanded agenda of global citizenship, which is perceived to be at the heart of strong corporate culture, brand reputation and employee loyalty.”

Beyond that, giving aid to help recovery in times of natural disaster can also help shore up a company’s ties to the local community and speed up response times in the event of future disasters. And, as the example of Hurricane Maria shows, corporations can often respond faster than governments, which, in times of crisis, could end up being the difference between life and death.

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Shutterstock

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many people were quick to reach out and promise aid to the millions affected. Some brands, too, moved fast to provide supplies, money and assistance to Puerto Rico. Those who donated money, time and resources to rebuilding efforts and making sure the residents of the area had access to food, water and other basic necessities should surely be commended.

That being said, the response of many brands to Hurricane Maria illustrates a growing trend among corporations to donate significant amounts of money to philanthropic causes, and brands should take care lest their donations be construed as an attempt to buy goodwill amongst a population.

Big corporations such as Starbucks, Diageo, Verizon and Google donated millions of dollars toward rebuilding and recovery efforts in the territory, whereas companies such as Lowe’s announced aid for victims of the hurricane as well as of the recent earthquakes in Mexico. Other companies are donating their services, with AT&T and T-Mobile waiving cell phone charges in affected areas and JetBlue bringing in emergency supplies via one of its planes.

It’s great that companies have stepped in to provide much-needed assistance to the residents of Puerto Rico. It’s also a move that will help the perception of their brand amongst all audiences, not just Hispanic ones. This is not to be cynical about what brands are trying to achieve when they donate to causes, humanitarian or otherwise — it’s merely to state the fact that donating is universally seen as a positive gesture and can potentially change what people think about a person or company even if that was not the intent of the donation.

Part of the reason brands have become so vocal in embracing environmental, social and political issues is because of how important these issues are to millennials and Gen Zers, vital demographics for virtually all brands. It’s often been said that millennials and Gen Zers are the two most politically active generations, so it makes sense that companies are using social activism and responsibility as a way to endear these groups.

That being said, many of the companies that have donated aid to Puerto Rico are not brands you would commonly associate with millennials. For example, Abbott and Kaiser Permanente, two healthcare companies, each pledged $1 million toward recovery efforts. Amgen, a biotechnology firm, has promised $3 million, plus an additional $2 million for longer-term rebuilding. And it’s not as though Lowe’s, Western Union and T-Mobile are particularly high on the millennial/Gen Z radar either.

A 2012 report posits that people have come to expect this type of social engagement from corporations. Failure to participate, therefore, could cause irreparable damage to one’s brand, lower employee morale and could negatively affect stock prices. The report says, “Moving beyond customary standards of corporate social responsibility, in the twenty-first century corporations have embraced an expanded agenda of global citizenship, which is perceived to be at the heart of strong corporate culture, brand reputation and employee loyalty.”

Beyond that, giving aid to help recovery in times of natural disaster can also help shore up a company’s ties to the local community and speed up response times in the event of future disasters. And, as the example of Hurricane Maria shows, corporations can often respond faster than governments, which, in times of crisis, could end up being the difference between life and death.

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