Archive for the ‘social media’ 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: Health | Tags: blog, campaign, communications, Elmo, epidemic, Facebook, First Lady, health, Let's Move, Malia, Michelle Obama, obesity, Sasha, social media, tax, Walmart
Last week, some disturbing news came out about our national obesity epidemic. Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Today, just one state has a rate lower than 20 percent (Colorado), according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the ground, you know that this means expensive things for our taxpayer-funded state and federal health care. And, obviously, it means the quality of life for our citizens and–most upsetting–our children is on the decline.
What role can strategic communications play in tackling this growing (puns abound in this post) epidemic? Because this is such a meaty (warned you) issue, I’m making this a three-part series. First, I’ll explore one of the highest profile campaigns to encourage healthier lifestyles for kids in the US–what’s working, what’s not. Then, I’ll examine lessons learned from issues that weight loss campaigns are often compared to: smoking cessation, seatbelts and skin cancer prevention (3 S’s!). Finally, I’ll share some ideas for ways communications could make a difference.
Why has obesity become such a problem in the US? Pick a reason:
-More fructose/salt/saturated fats in foods.
-Processed foods more affordable and available than fresh produce (note: wealthier people less likely to be obese).
-Packaged food less labor intensive to prepare at home or school.
-Fast food french fries are DELICIOUS and CHEAP!
-Restaurant portions are ridiculously large.
-Less time/safe environments for exercise for kids and adults.
-Vicious cycle: obese parents more likely to raise obese children.
-Metabolic disorders possibly triggered by poor eating habits hard to reverse.
-Against human nature to sacrifice short-term pleasure to optimize for long-term health.
This is just a sampling of the myriad causes, but what is clear is that this is a complex problem at risk of becoming intractable. Enter First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! campaign for healthier kids. In addition to taking full advantage of the media spotlight that follows her organic-gardening toned-arm fashionable self, Michelle Obama has embraced social media to promote her agenda. On Facebook, Let’s Move! has reached almost 70,000 likes by employing a personal tone, creating content variety, and using contests to engage the public. While its unlikely that she’s directly reaching her younger target audience (Facebook isn’t big with the elementary school set), she is reaching their parents and role models. The first daughters are popular figures with younger kids, and there is certainly overlap between Michelle’s efforts and the “brand identities” of Malia and Sasha. Obama is also savvy about engaging other celebrities, including Elmo, to promote her cause. The Let’s Move! website also provides guidance and links for schools to implement with support from USDA. Finally, she keeps the message positive, neutralizing most critics by focusing on healthier choices rather than finger wagging.
So, are we likely to witness a reversal of current obesity trends as a result of this campaign? Too soon to tell, but the First Lady is making headway. Today, she announced partnerships with some of the nation’s largest grocers to tackle the country’s “food deserts.” Leslie Dach, EVP of corporate affairs at Walmart, gave her credit: “The first lady’s efforts in these areas have helped focus our real estate process, to take a particular look at these areas as we build out our real estate plans.” We’re also starting to see legislation pop up around the country requiring healthier school lunches. To be sure, the odds are stacked against her. The Seattle Times ran a series in June focused on the area’s ostensibly leading edge anti-obesity programs, and the results are disappointing. Ease, cost deliciousness and habit are powerful adversaries. Strategic communications campaigns can only do so much, but kudos to Michelle Obama for realizing this is a battle we can’t watch from the sidelines.
Does hope spring eternal from campaigns that have gone before, or is it time to drown our sorrows in a bag of BBQ Lays? Stay tuned….
Filed under: Pop Culture | Tags: communications, multi-media, Oprah, social media
Oprah Winfrey is moving to a new church. After 25 years of unprecedented success, the woman who revolutionized daytime talk is wrapping up her syndicated show today. Her goal is to build something even bigger on her own cable network, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Unfortunately, the ground at OWN is not proving to be terribly fertile. Many of her long-time fans don’t even get the channel as part of their cable package.
So, in many ways, Oprah is preparing to violate one of the new commandments of communications: go where your audience already is. As my friend Jason Moriber taught me, content creation and platform sit at different ends of the spectrum. Creating a successful platform where others flock for information and interaction is the Holy Grail of influence. For this reason, organizations trying to gain visibility for their activities often try to jump straight to platform creation. They build a new page on their website to showcase their programs and invite the public to become part of a “conversation.” The problem with this approach is that the conversation is often in full swing somewhere else, and they’d build much more interest in their own efforts if they’d first spend some time engaging their audience on those other platforms.
Do these rules apply to Oprah? Sort of. First, Oprah already built one of the most powerful pop culture platforms of all time with The Oprah Winfrey Show, so she knows how it is done. Second, as Brian Stelter noted in Monday’s New York Times, the Oprah Winfrey Show has been “compared not just to therapy, but to church.” And, as any evangelical can attest, when a charismatic preacher leaves one church to start another, the membership usually follows.
The catch is that Oprah’s audience has gotten older and smaller (about half of what it was at its peak), and it is the youth who keep churches vibrant. Oprah will have to attract new, younger congregants fill the mega-church that is OWN. If she succeeds, I’m sure there will be multi-media lessons for us all.