Corporate marketers today operate in an external environment characterized by enhanced stakeholder expectations. Shareholders demand high financial performance, while other stakeholders reward or punish firms in the marketplace and in the ÃÂcourt of public opinionÃÂ for the company's perceived social performance. Students on college campuses boycott Nike for its third world labor practices and reward The Body Shop for its social consciousness and environmental commitment. Marketers who understand the role of internal (e.g., focused on employees) and external (e.g., focused on customers, investors and other stakeholders) communications in building corporate image may enhance both their economic and social bottom lines. Mission statements that incorporate corporate environment concerns provide one way for corporations to reach both internal and external stakeholders.
There is evidence to suggest that the pressures on managers to adopt socially responsible policies have moved beyond the simple need to match the efforts of competitors. Various stakeholders have designed ingenious measures to pressure corporate managers into adopting strategies that favor corporate social responsibility.
Prahalad and Hamel (2004) and Hamel and Prahalad (2004) claim that firms face a myriad of pressures to behave in socially responsible ways including pressures from customers, changes in regulatory expectations, and increased focus on the environment. Moreover, investors are pressuring corporations to promote socially responsible outcomes by directing investment dollars toward socially responsible investment funds. Waddock and Graves (2006) suggest that the total invested in socially responsible funds is now $650 billion. Watch dog groups have become an additional source of information for both consumers and investors, thereby enabling both groups to reward or penalize specific firms.
Graves and Waddock (2004) cite the Council on Economic Priorities, an organization that has for many years published Shopping for a Better World, as an example of the kind of independent service that is now available for disseminating...