Corporate social responsibility and the corporate imaging of Kenya Commercial Bank Group
There has been an increased and continued expenditure by a number of corporate organizations on activities that relate to corporate social responsibility (CSR) over the yeass. It is now accepted and expected that a profit-making organization must engage in socially responsible activities. This study was carried out to establish whether corporate social responsibility contributes to the improvement of a company's image. The study on the relationship between corporate social responsibility and corporate image investigated the CSR practices of the Kenya Commercial Bank Group, as one of the leading financial institutions in Kenya, among the large corporate organizations that have actively taken up corporate social responsibility not only in Kenya but in the entire East African region. The Bank has also won several awards including the Banking A wards in 2012, 2010 and 2009 as well as the Company of the Year Awards (COY A), Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Awards for Excellence and Capital Markets A wards among others. The study explored the effectiveness of CSR as a PR tool for promoting the image of KCB while assessing the stakeholders' perceptions of the company and evaluating the level of stakeholders involvements in the carrying out of CSR among a sample of KCB employees, KCB customers, teachers and workers of Maria Immaculata Education Centre, Kiamumbi together with residents of the surrounding areas to assess their levels of awareness, involvements and opinions on the CSR activities carried out at the school by the Bank. Questionnaires were the primary method of data collection. The data collected was then analyzed through the use of computer programs namely MS Excel and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and summarized in frequency distribution tables and percentage frequencies . Graphs, tables and charts were also used to give a clearer picture of the shape of the distributions of the data relating to the findings. Findings The findings revealed that engaging in CSR not only fulfils the duty of providing for the needy in our societies but also promotes the image of a company. The study findings also revealed that engaging in CSR is not only beneficial to KCB' s stakeholders in terms of improvements in levels of education, better health, conservation of the environment, entrepreneurship opportunities and aid to avert natural calamities but also to the Bank with regards to brand loyalty which translates to new business and the retention of existing business. The empirical evidence generated also revealed that involvements of external stakeholders such as the surrounding local communities in carrying out CSR activities results in increased awareness and sustainability of CSR projects through community ownership. Policy Implications From the study findings, it was noted that there was lack of awareness by the residents of Kiamumbi area on the CSR activities carried out by KCB at Maria Immaculata Education Centre. Such an issue can be addressed as matter of policy through publicizing of CSR activities and establishment of critical linkages and relations with the media as well as increased community involvement in CSR activities. The study findings also revealed that majority of the respondents at Maria Immaculata Education Centre and the surrounding areas did not have any form of ongoing .elationships with the Bank. This information can be utilized by KCB as a means of creating new interventions as a matter of policy in such areas. These findings may also be an indication of the low levels of impact of both the communication and marketing departments with regards to the kinds of advocacy the Bank uses on its CSR activities. These may need to be reviewed and corrective measures taken as appropriate.