Using CSR strategies to help build an affiliate brand

By iGBA Editorial Team

There's no simple route for growing a gaming affiliate, but Sharon McFarlane explains why CSR strategies should be crucial to any plan. From exploring its importance to knowing the right amount of exposure to give it to customers, McFarlane covers both the opportunities and potential pitfalls.

The affiliate marketing sector is booming, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the igaming industry. We’re seeing an increasing number of affiliates choose to partner with igaming companies, and the two can build successful, long-lasting relationships.

There are various routes and measures affiliates can take to build an igaming brand. However, one of the most effective of these is through the use of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Let’s take a closer look at what exactly CSR is before discussing how it can be implemented as a brand-building strategy.

Why is CSR important?

CSR is a process through which businesses ensure they are accountable and transparent and that they are having a positive impact on customers and society as a whole. CSR comes in many forms and can manifest in several different ways. For example, it could be through sustainable, environmentally friendly business practices or fostering an inclusive, diverse working environment.

"[CSR strategies] will also ensure that business values and ethos can be effectively communicated to customers"

Customers increasingly prioritise businesses that they feel share their principles. Research conducted by the WEF across 25 countries revealed that around 70% of people buy from companies that they feel represent their values. This figure has risen in recent years, particularly in the UK where it has increased by approximately 17% in eight years.

What this means is that CSR is more important than ever. Not only will implementing CSR strategies ensure business practices are in keeping with modern standards, but it will also ensure that business values and ethos can be effectively communicated to customers.

CSR is something all businesses need to take into account, and igaming affiliates are certainly no exception. Let’s dive into some CSR strategies that an affiliate can use to successfully build its brand.

Be transparent 

When it comes to building relationships with customers, trust is arguably the single most important thing. If customers do not trust a brand, they will be unlikely to purchase its products or services and highly unlikely to recommend it to their friends or family.

Unfortunately, the gambling industry has long battled something of a reputation problem, and this is something igaming affiliates will need to contend with as well. There is a commonly held stereotype among consumers that gambling firms are unscrupulous and after nothing but money at all costs.

As an igaming affiliate, changing this image should be your number one priority, and the best way of doing so is by being fully transparent at all levels of your business. This means clearly stating when you are being paid to promote a product or service and ensuring that the terms and conditions of deals you promote are clear and easy to understand.

"Be open and honest with your customers about what you’re promoting and they will repay you with loyalty"

Never try to hide details in the small print or obscure certain details. Be open and honest with your customers about what you’re promoting, and they will repay you with loyalty, positive reviews and recommendations.

Communicate with customers

An effective CSR strategy is all about putting the needs and well-being of the customer front and centre. However, sometimes it can be difficult to quantify exactly what these are, which is why communicating with your customer base is such an important tactic.

A simple poll or survey distributed among your customers can be used to collect vital information that can be used to better inform and optimise your CSR strategies. Don’t forget, that this can also be used to collect invaluable marketing data that can be implemented elsewhere in your business.

Through the use of these surveys, you can build a picture of the issues and values that your customers prioritise the most and ensure you incorporate these into your CSR strategies. In doing so, your brand will be more relatable and more engaging, key to standing out and appealing to customers in what is an increasingly crowded market.

Safer gambling messaging

Safer gambling is perhaps the single most important issue in the gambling industry today. Tightening regulatory control and pressure from activist groups means there is more onus than ever before on gambling firms to ensure they are spreading safer gambling messaging among players and customers.

There are different approaches that can be taken when promoting safer gambling messages, and the most effective generally involves using a mix of them all. First, any gambling services promoted by affiliates should be accompanied by safer gambling messages. These often come in the form of short slogans, reminding players to limit their time and spending.

Another tactic is to share links to resources and support services. This is a far more active approach, and it will demonstrate that your brand is looking to educate and inform, rather than remind.

Finally, affiliates can direct customers to tools that allow for play control and limit setting. This again goes one step further and will give players the means to take control of their behaviour, rather than simply linking them to educational resources.

Safer gambling messaging should be an integral part of any igaming affiliate’s CSR strategy. It will highlight that your brand cares about customers and will work to dispel long-held misconceptions about gambling companies, demonstrating a level of care and responsibility that will do wonders for brand image and reputation.

Don’t exaggerate the extent 

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of CSR strategies for igaming affiliates. Implementing some of the tactics we’ve listed above can help build a successful brand that engages and connects with customers on a meaningful level.

"It’s vital that you resist the temptation to put your CSR practices at the front and centre of everything you do"

However, it’s vital that you resist the temptation to put your CSR practices at the front and centre of everything you do. While they are undeniably important, being overly promotional or, worse, exaggerating about them can have a detrimental rather than a positive effect, making your brand seem insincere in the eyes of customers.

Instead, allow your CSR strategies to speak for themselves. They will be apparent through your focus on transparency, communication and safer gambling promotion, and it will be clear that your brand takes its responsibilities seriously.


The key to building a successful affiliate brand is forging connections with customers. One of the most effective ways to do so is through the implementation of CSR strategies. These can help build and maintain trust, improve brand image and safeguard players by giving them the resources and tools they need.


Sharon McFarlane

is managing director at Glasgow-based Digital Footprints, a digital marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media, UX design, website design, branding and conversion rate optimisation.

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