An investigation of the contribution of a Corporate Social Investment programme to the brand image of a financial institution in Alexandra

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Ntountoume, A.G.N
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Vaal University of Technology
This study investigates the contribution of a corporate social investment's programme to the brand image of a financial institution in Alexandra. Corporate Social Investment (CSI), which refers to the projects that are external to the normal business activities of a company, is the wealth and sustainability companies create by investing in long-term projects with measurable impact on the communities they serve (William & Chandler 2011:8). This is undertaken because business is no longer regarded as separate from society but part of it and therefore has the responsibility of contributing to social development in its neighbouring communities through CSI development programmes. Georges (2005:21) defines the community as groups existing actively within a geographical area and making corporations account for what they are doing. In the researcher’s schema, organisations that are located within communities should take the opportunity to impact their lives through various CSI projects and programmes. The researcher employed the qualitative method to understand how the members of the Alexandra community perceived the social investment programmes funded by the financial institution under investigation. Three focus group interviews were conducted with selected members of the Alexandra community. These were followed by three in-depth individual interviews with three managers from the financial institution. The aim of the interviews with the three managers was to understand how corporate social investment programmes contribute to the brand image of the financial institution in Alexandra. The researcher also found that the formulation and implementation of projects are carried out by the financial institution at a community centre established by the institution, with little consultation with the communities which are the intended beneficiaries of the projects. This lack of consultation tends to have a negative effect on the relationships between the communities and the financial institution. v The study recommends that the financial institution should work either with the NGOs that specialise in the practice or work closely with the communities. The institution should work either with an NGO that has the ability and expertise to manage CSI projects of companies or with the community centre, but should consult the communities on projects beforehand if it wants to establish good relationships and a positive image.