Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has blossomed through the years as an impactful way for companies to connect with stake holders and consumers.
Nobody has a better idea of just how to reach that audience than communication professionals, which places them squarely as a conduit for relaying these accomplishments. While there is a financial allure to CSR – 66 per cent of global consumers would spend more for sustainable goods, according to Nielsen – a growing trend dictates that much of the value of this program is aligned with public perception.
In large part, successful corporate affairs outreach hinges on the effectiveness of building a relatable culture, and promoting how a company approaches CSR is one way to do so.
It's time that communication professionals get a seat at the CSR decision-making table. As stewards of the brand, not only should they be keyed into every conversation that could affect a company's reputation, but they also know the audience better than anyone else, according to CSR Wire.
Communication professionals need to be involved in the CSR process.
To have the greatest impact, organisations must consult primary communicators who will be tasked with relaying the message to the public so that they can help craft the message from the get-go. They specialise in perception management, but companies make that job more difficult than it needs to be when they're not included in preliminary discussions.
On the flip side of this, communication professionals should have an ample understanding of the current trends in CSR before diving head first, PR Newswire reported. Collect data, consumer sentiment and refer to companies that have successfully marketed their campaign so you have tangible insights to bring to the table.
There are a number of ways to spread the good word – press releases, social media, contributor articles, interviews and video blogs, just to name a few. But all of it is null and void without the right influencer behind it.
Take the time to research the leaders in the non-profit field your company is invested in. Not just the non-governmental organisations (NGO), but the journalists and reporters covering the topic as well. You'll want your brand's voice to carry, and to do that it needs a reputable vehicle, according to PR Newswire.
Use a mix of video where possible to draw an emotional connection with your audience – images are powerful visual storytellers, and videos are even more so.
Track your results
It's important to take stock of the statistical impact your programs have, Ad Age reported. These figures aren't just crucial to provide evidence of the change your organisation is enacting, but also to generate buzz that could serve your company well during the hiring and recruitment process.
Get employees involved in sharing the organisation's story.
In this day and age where employee engagement is low, companies that provide enriching experiences will ultimately attract and retain more elite talent. The source pointed to PNC, a financial services company, as an example, which committed 485,000 hours of voluntary reading at children's centres for nearly a decade.
Not only does PNC earn the gratitude of those in its community, but its employees are able to engage with their work in a way never before possible. They're able to connect directly with the companies values. From there, a communication professional's job – of showcasing the organisation's culture and promoting the brand – is made that much easier.
Look to get employees actively involved in sharing the story through whichever mediums you choose to use. First-hand experiences resonate with the audience and help build an internal and external culture that every organisation strives to achieve. For more, please visit our Insights page.