CSR is a concept which sees businesses held socially accountable to itself, its personnel and the general public – meaning that it is vital for brands to be prepared and show willingness to go the extra mile for the benefit of their communities. Here, Karen Prewer, the founder of the innovative, van-based window cleaning franchise, My Window Cleaner, explains why franchises benefit heavily from prioritising CSR in today’s business scape.
It is no surprise that in 2023, prospects, franchisees and franchisors prefer to operate in a social space. In fact, 67% of people now actively seek socially inclined companies, while brands that can prove their devotion to championing social projects reduce turnover by 50%1. This tells us in the franchise industry that prospects joining us today are inspired and driven by the opportunity to operate within a network of likeminded, responsible and empathetic people. And with the importance society as a whole places on new businesses embedding themselves in their communities, it is more important than ever to ensure brand presence goes beyond a product placement or service offering.
At My Window Cleaner, for example, we have grown our network with community in mind. For years, our prospective franchisees have bought into the franchise opportunity as they see it as the perfect platform to continue delivering their personal community-centric missions. Gareth Southard of My Window Cleaner Newport, uses his service to benefit the community by cleaning dirty road signs, planting Ninja Daffodils in the area and contributing to a Climate Action Project by reducing carbon through environmental projects. These channels for community engagement are helping Gareth achieve his ambitions as a business owner.
“I have big plans for growth for the next few years – both as a business owner and as someone devoted to supporting the community,” explains Gareth. “I’m now in a position where I can consider taking my business to the next level with more vans, opening more employment opportunities and ultimately serving more customers in the local area. It’s so important to me to grow a sustainable and rewarding business that not only gives franchisees success, but gives back in any way possible.”
But how does this benefit franchisors and the brand?
Make no mistake, CSR is not just for the benefit of franchisees and their local community. In fact, with the continued growth of franchise networks in all industries being driven socially responsible entrepreneurs, franchisors see the benefit it can have on franchisee wellbeing, brand success and engagement. And with these incredibly positive developments that take place thanks to CSR, franchisors are given the opportunity to capitalise on this by increasing brand awareness and finding creative marketing opportunities.
The franchise industry has an immense opportunity to leverage its network of franchises to make a significant impact across their communities, their industry and even the wider world of business. As we know, brand awareness is generated by franchises getting involved with a community or social cause – not only through the expected minimum of marketing efforts, but equally being present and accessible where possible. Naturally, the more visible and socially active a franchise or franchisee can be, often becomes newsworthy to journalists and the media. This in turn raises awareness of the franchise brand thanks to the actions of their incredible network.
The proof is in the pudding! Research shows that younger generations often look for CSR and expect it from companies with which they do business – a staggering 46% of millennials determine their willingness to invest based on a company’s commitment to changing the world2. So, as brands shift to more meaningful and strategic ways of giving back, franchises should recognise the benefits of encouraging their entire network to get behind a cause. With a greater importance placed on these finer details within the business when it comes to franchisee recruitment and engagement, brands certainly become more attractive to younger entrepreneurs seeking the next best opportunity.
1 Impact Marketing Club, 2023, A List Of Statistics That Demonstrate CSR Importance
2 Joshua Frick, 2023, Using Corporate Social Responsibility To Build Community Across A Franchise