The importance of CSR and your brand identity
The customers buying process has changed over the past twenty years. Considerations such as price, quality, level of service, packaging and branding all still apply, but the ethical and altruistic nature of business is now more important than ever to secure sales.
Companies are therefore engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in response to the way in which customers make purchasing decisions and not just as a strategic nod to the corporate conscience. The modern business recognises that CSR helps them to identify their brand purpose and create a personality that their customers can connect with on a deeper level. But their CSR strategy must be authentic, aligned with their company values and integrated into their business model.
CSR is at the heart of Yorkshire business Arrow Self Drive and the team has worked closely with local communities since its inception in 1988.
The firm has supported a wide range of community organisations and charities in a myriad of ways; providing complementary vehicles for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Lloyds bank Bike Libraries, Barnsley Hospice, Saint Michaels Hospice in Harrogate, and Dovehouse Hospice in Hull. For many years the company was the main sponsor for Huddersfield Cricket League, Aquaforce Football team in Barnsley and Welcome To Yorkshire (including The Tour de Yorkshire). It has sponsored the Huddersfield Giants Business Club, Hull Marathon and Schu racing team in Sheffield and supplied vans to charity Cycle Recycle in Bradford.
The company celebrated its 30th year in 2018 and to mark the occasion, invited its customers to charity tea parties at each of its depots to raise funds for a charity local to each.
Arrow supplies a minibus to the specialist brain unit of Pennine Hospital and supplies three vehicles to the value of £17,000 per annum to Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. It also supports Redwood Events on fundraising walks each year and provides Huddersfield Town Football Club with a discounted bus for the Academy and Leadboilers festival with a truck for their stage. The company proudly exhibits at The Great Yorkshire Show each year, raising funds for Saint Michaels on their show stand. These are just a few examples of the many ways in which the company supports charities and fundraising causes throughout the year.
During the Christmas period, Arrow provides free vehicles to Wakefield Hospice and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice to assist with their Christmas tree delivery/collection campaigns. This Christmas they’ve gone one step further to launch a community-focused campaign to change their name to Arrow Elf Drive in a bid to increase the Christmas spirit across the streets of Yorkshire.
And the team members at Arrow aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty either, having taken on many fundraising challenges including Knaresborough Bed Race, Forget Me Not’s, Colour Run and this year’s Dragon Boat Race, ensuring some friendly rivalry across the depots with the Huddersfield Cowboys taking on the Wakefield Indian’s.
And it’s not just charities which Arrow Self Drive invests in as part of its CSR policy. Arrow celebrated International Women in Engineering Day by pledging to actively increase its female workforce. In contrast to the predominately male industry in which it operates, currently 25% of Arrow Self Drive’s personnel is female; several of which hold management positions and take a leading role in driving the company forward. The company understands that by encouraging more females into the business, it will increase its diversity and is keen to champion its workers whether female or older, as recently demonstrated in its partnership with national Pension Awareness Day campaign to shine a light on its long-standing team members.
Arrow cares about the environment too. Over the last two years the company has implemented paperless systems across all eight sites in both its workshop and rentals departments, investing over £100,000 into newly developed bespoke systems that will save copious amounts of paper and ink.
And why? Arrow Self Drive’s managing director James Hill explains:
“In the past influencing factors such as corporate hospitality (long lunches and trips to the races or golf days) and branded gifts were handed out by the truckload in a bid to sway business decisions and keep customers onside. But times have changed. The ethical expectations on companies from its various stakeholders have become more complex and demanding. Critically, today’s consumers, both in the general public and in business, have become more altruistic. Now customers demand that a business delivers exceptional products and services, but also that it contributes to the community, is seen as transparent, takes care of their workforce and illustrates an active role in addressing universal issues. Businesses have to show how responsible they are and how much of a positive impact they have on the environment and the planet. As a local company with local customers Arrow has always invested into the communities in which we operate. My personal mantra has always been, ‘Don’t forget where you came from.’”