Archive for the ‘CSR’ Tag
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Innovation | Tags: ACCP, campaign, corporate philanthropy, CSR, Facebook, marketing, social media, Toyota, twitter
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My colleague, social media guru Jason Moriber, and I helped facilitate a recent training session for the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals. While I am unable to repeat the really juicy tidbits that emerged during the day due to the application of “Vegas Rules,” I can share the highlights of our counsel. You can also click through the “Cows and Chickens” deck we presented (you know you’re curious.)
- Dive in. Many corporate philanthropy and community relations professionals worry they are falling behind on social media, but they shouldn’t let that stop them from trying. Because it is still a relatively new communications channel, social media is actually a great space to experiment.
- Start small. When you work for a large corporation, you tend to orient around BIG. But, by starting out with more targeted efforts on social media, you can develop specific, valuable insights about your audience at a lower cost and lower risk. For example, try a campaign out on a specific geographical audience (e.g., Prius owners in Nevada or dog owners in San Francisco) to test out what works before going national. Some companies use social media campaigns less to market to their audience in that moment and more to learn certain things about their audience that will be helpful for future campaigns, and CSR professionals can do this, too.
- Define success. Here’s a secret: many executives are similarly intimidated by social media, and they don’t have a clear sense of what success looks like. This creates both an opportunity and an obligation for program managers to set expectations and declare metrics before the campaign launches.
- Step away from the press release. There is still a lot of press release love, particularly in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals and defense, but they simply aren’t appropriate for this medium. These companies are really struggling with how to adapt to the casual, fast-paced, and conversational nature of social media. There are creative ways to keep the lawyers calm without having them review every word. More on that in a later post. But, if you haven’t yet achieved that equilibrium, you can start by pulling interesting quotes, facts or statistics out of an approved release to share on Facebook or Twitter.
- Make friends with marketing. Effective internal integration and communication unlocks the opportunity to launch flashier campaigns for smaller budget orgs like those found in CSR teams and corporate foundations. Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good campaign is a great example of this kind of collaboration in action.
Note: Post originally appeared at http://waggeneredstrom.com/blog/2012/08/09/social-media-is-not-scary-5-tips-for-corporate-social-responsibility-and-philanthropy-teams/.
Filed under: Cause Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Innovation | Tags: Arctic Home, cause marketing, changing media landscape, corporate philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, CSR, social media
Reflecting back on last week’s Cause Marketing Forum and Social Innovation (SI) Summit – which discussed cause marketing and corporate philanthropy, respectively – can we predict that one of these approaches will eclipse the other? I’ll discuss this question by comparing these tactics on three central business goals: customer engagement, benefits to bottom line, and reputation.
Perhaps because it was born of marketers, cause marketing wins this one hands down. As Melanie Healey, Procter & Gamble Group President for North America noted in her CMF keynote, “Consumers want to be involved in solving problems, not just watch companies do it.” For example, leveraging social media channels to not just inform, but engage audiences in a cause was central to every campaign referenced at Cause Marketing Forum. Meanwhile, one of my colleague’s key takeaways from SI Summit is that traditional CSR practitioners are still struggling with how to evolve their use of social media beyond a channel just for news sharing.
Bottom Line Benefits
Cause marketers have an easier time demonstrating these benefits, particularly when the campaign is focused on a particular product.
However, done right, corporate giving or CSR programs can yield huge benefits to the organization. For example, Microsoft’s* generous employee match supported by an innovative and well-resourced annual giving campaign engenders corporate pride and loyalty. Starbucks’ multi-faceted approach to sustainability helps them attract customers who might otherwise be turned off by their size or corporate environmental impact.
This one breaks down by audience – customers and government. Customers are more likely to be aware of–and therefore, impressed by–cause marketing efforts than corporate philanthropy due to the inherent nature of the approach. However, government officials–a top priority audience for most CSR programs–have historically been more impressed by corporate giving and skeptical of activities that directly drive product sales.
Public relations is an essential vehicle for building reputation, and media coverage is increasingly challenging for both camps. Most media outlets have cut philanthropy coverage and redeployed those beat reporters. Just this week, GOOD Magazine announced significant layoffs. Traditional corporate philanthropy is becoming fodder for the blogosphere except when it achieves the magic combination of high dollar value (think $Bs, not $Ms) and demonstrable impact. News outlets will report about cause campaigns in a business context or cover a particular stunt, but their primary concern in the realm of public good is government, so they are most interested in efforts that lead to government action. Public-private partnerships are the purview of the type of CSR programs represented at SI Summit, which would explain, in part, the high media turnout there compared to the lack of traditional news outlet representation at CMF.
The Winner Is…
Rather than one replacing the other, I believe we’ll see more companies blending the two. Changes in the traditional media landscape and the rise of social media are causing corporations to reconsider their tried and true approaches to CSR. Because it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to generate the kind of earned media interest in their programs that could lead to reputation benefits which translate into increased sales, program marketing investments will need to grow.
For a cost center, big marketing dollars can be hard to come by, so linking to specific products or services via cause marketing is likely to become increasingly attractive for CSR executives. At the same time, aligning to existing corporate philanthropy causes will make it easier for cause marketers to build a coherent narrative around their brand. The internal organizational challenges to this alignment are not insignificant within large companies, but when the right thing to do also yields the most bang for your buck, change becomes more likely.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Amazon, cause marketing, consumer engagement, CSR, philanthropy, social, social innovation
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Last month, the Seattle Times kicked off a four-part critical series about locally-based Amazon with an expose on the company’s lack of organized philanthropy in the community. The meme is not new–we’ve seen similar critique emerge about Apple in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death and the Foxconn scandal. What was surprising was the backlash to the criticism reflected in the comments about the article on SeattleTimes.com. Here at Waggener Edstrom, it caused us to wonder: has the American public changed its expectations for corporate social responsibility?
Next week, two conferences go head-to-head on the topic of corporate support for public good. In Chicago, the Cause Marketing Forum (CMF) will celebrate its 10th anniversary covering the intersection of commerce and cause. In New York, the Social Innovation Summit will hold its 3rd semi-annual invitation-only networking event focused on public-private partnerships.
At first blush, it might seem surprising that two events with such overlap in focus would be held at the same time. But, the reality is that many corporations treat cause marketing and traditional philanthropy or NGO partnerships as separate endeavors managed from different pockets of the organization. And, to be sure, cause marketing isn’t for everyone. It is a relatively newer strategy–the term dates back to the American Express Statue of Liberty restoration campaign launched in 1983, but similar applications precede the coining–that has largely been the domain of consumer focused companies looking to drive sales by linking to a social issue of importance to customers. The SI Summit, on the other hand, is focused on innovating longer-held corporate approaches to partnerships and giving.
Waggener Edstrom is a sponsor and facilitator of the 2012 SI Summit, and WE will also have senior agency representatives at CMF (including yours truly). Watch this space for blog posts examining the hot topics and emerging trends from both events next week. We’ll also explore the question of whether we are in the midst of a sea change in corporate social responsibility.
In the meantime, here is a sampling of the folks we’ll be following on Twitter from both events:
Cause Marketing Forum
Social Innovation Summit
Note: this blog also posted at http://waggeneredstrom.com/blog/2012/05/24/corporate-social-responsibility-2-0/