The Truth About “Corporate Social Responsibility”

Remember those times when you were so broke you needed a friend of yours to lend you a little money to get by? That has happened to me. A lot. In fact, were it not for my family, friends and fellow Martians, I wouldn’t have survived my short entrepreneurial years. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, there’s still a 99.9% chance you know how it feels to be helplessly in need.

Now, if one of your trusted friends indeed lent (or even gave) you some money in a situation like that, how would you feel if you bought some bundles and went online only to find that they had tweeted about it?! Would you be pleased to find that selfie, with your friend talking about how your calorie intake has improved over the past 24 hours by 37%?!

If you’re a normal, sane Homo Sapiens, you’d be quite upset about it, right?

Blowing your own trumpet sucks! Pun intended.

Blowing your own trumpet sucks! (Pun intended)

So how come we let corporates do the same thing and praise them for it? It’s the height of hypocrisy!

I am convinced that most companies that engage in CSR do so only because it makes perfect business sense. They don’t really care about the people they assist. Even if they do, they don’t care half as much as they care about the marketing, hype, and improved public perception that they’re going to milk out of it. It’s not charity. It’s a carefully planned and executed investment.

That’s why they’ll require that you buy one of their products at the entrance to an event. Boost sales. That’s why they’ll bring branded t-shirts, cheerfully ask all o’ y’all to wear them, then have pro photographers taking sentimental shots. Which will end up on their Facebook page and get a thousand likes.

Maybe they get away with it because people simply like free stuff.

Stop and think. Just a little.

Signed. Martians.