While philanthropy is deeply engrossed in the Indian culture and has been around for ages, CSR as a concept is indeed nascent in India. The thrust provided by the Corporate Act 2013, is the impetuous required for CSR to develop in India . However whether the industry is moving forward in the right direction is the question that needs to be answered
Currently a lot of the companies are investing out to compulsion and out of a pure legal requirement, however this approach is unlikely to work in the long run and the effort will then lose its steam. Corporate entities need to see this as an opportunity and unlock it potential rather than approaching this in a philanthropic manner. In the long run this will be good for both the society as well as the corporate.
The approach will ensure that different industries and companies within those industries choose different causes and beneficiaries; thereby doing a greater good. Traditionally education and healthcare have been popular with philanthropists, however this helps in going beyond these two causes . At the same time a strategically chosen cause could help differentiate a brand, drive its usage and more importantly positively impact its Equity in the long run. A strategically planned and properly executed idea is likely to have a positive impact on the brand awareness, character and also help in increasing its loyalty quotient
In a highly competitive environment with little or no differentiation, product and consumer based marketing will have to give way to Value based marketing. A case in point is the current handset industry situation. With over 150 players in the market spread across different price points, all brands slowly converging towards similar product offerings, selfie and long battery life being the key words , consumers are increasingly finding it hard to differentiate. The same is true for brands with narrowing scope for product and content innovation. In such a situation brands are desperately trying to differentiate themselves by associating themselves with cricket and bollywood ,a space which is also saturating. In the absence of new innovations, these brands will soon have to move towards value based marketing for brand building. Such cases can also be seen in other industries in the technology, banking and insurance space
It is therefore imperative for all corporate entities to embrace the opportunity presented by the corporate act and move forward with proper strategies in place. Recent studies by Wishlife highlight that the second year of the Act 2015-16 has seen greater utilization of the CSR fund ,however the lack of strategic alignment is very obvious across industries . The same needs to be addressed as the soonest by corporate entities. A successful CSR strategy requires commitment and alignment of stakeholders as well as effective implementation.
The journey ahead for companies on the CSR route is will be exciting and challenging at the same time . We would therefore like to congratulate all corporate entities under the purview of the Act for the opportunity and wish that they are able to benefit themselves and the society to the fullest