Session 11, Illia


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Values, Identity & CSR

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  • The boost to CSR has been underscored by the numerous studies on how companies implement socially oriented principles and strategies.
    Management practices with regard to CSR have not yet extensively analyzed how companies communicate their social commitment. The state of the research in this area is poor and addresses mainly the US reality.
  • Session 11, Illia

    1. 1. How European managers feel about CSR communication risks and opportunities Contact details IE School of Communication IE University
    2. 2. Starting point (Carroll, 1999 Schoenberger;2000)
    3. 3. Starting point (Holme and Watts, 2000).
    4. 4. Project A study developed by: In collaboration with: In partnership with:
    5. 5. Method • Sample: 251 top EU companies (in terms of highest revenues) – Spain, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Denmark, and Italy – 11 industries • financial services and banks; • insurance; • textile, retail, and fashion; • gas, water, and electricity; • oil and coke; • food, beverage, and tobacco; • chemicals and pharmaceuticals; • telecommunications; • transport and automotive; • retail and wholesale; • tourism and hospitality • To avoid bias : – 42 companies from each country (excl.Denmark 41 firms) – 4 for each industry
    6. 6. Content analysis social reports (if available), companies’ websites, social advertising, presence on web 2.0. Interviews Difficulty to do vs difficulty to communicate “Marketing” Risk to communicate CSR Boomerang effect during crisis Skeptical nature of public opinion or mass media Risks of CSR advertising Risks of using corporate blogs to com.CSR
    7. 7. What is communicated Analysis on 251 companies
    8. 8. Most communicated issues
    9. 9. Less often disclosed issues
    10. 10. CSR e-agenda: made in ES, IT & UK • Not only communicating what the company does, • Being gatekeepers within the debate on social issues in our society.
    11. 11. (χ ²<.005) (χ ²<.050) (χ ²<.001)
    12. 12. Web 2.0: a South European experimentation • Corporate CSR blogs: Only the 5% Spanish, Italian and French companies most experiment (χ ²<.050).. • You Tube: Only 8 % • CSR Social networks: Only 4% The majority of them are from Spain and Italy (χ ²<.050). – internship programs for young generations (e.g.Union Fenosa, BBVA). – promote their foundations, specific projects or blogs (e.g. Telecom Italia, Benetton). – diffuse their sustainability report (e.g. Fiat) through Facebook and LinkedIn.
    13. 13. Opinions: risk or opportunity? Analysis of opinion of 69 experts from 251 top companies
    14. 14. Avoid gap communication - reality “You should only communicate what you are doing” (Switzerland). “There is no risk when the company’s behavior is totally coherent” (Italy). “Personal experience of the company and its product counts beyond communications” (UK). It is key to “integrate CSR in your processes and policies” (Spain)
    15. 15. (E)agenda to build up culture of CSR it is about “building up a culture over issues” (Italy). “Measuring the risk of public perception means focusing “more on educating the industry and our clients around CSR issues than communicating about our own initiatives” (Denmark).
    16. 16. Use of blogs for CSR is debated Blogs, no thanks or at least not yet. “it is definitely too risky, because corporate blogs are in general considered as a marketing attempt” (Italy), “I don’t think that blogs are the adequate tools for communicating a company’s involvement in social responsibility” (Switzerland). Only if the company is ready : Do not go against your culture. Blogs could be appropriate “for a small, youth-oriented company […]. For a large company they read like a desperate attempt to keep up with the times” (UK). This is not the rule for everybody; however, it speaks about being who you are.. Blogs as an opportunity... “I don’t see what exactly may become that risk” (Spain), “as long as your activities are real and sincere it will be a natural thing to discuss it through blogs” (Denmark).
    17. 17. Scandals are easily spread, but so are good practices. Managers do not fear skepticism The public opinion is mature Actually, many actions are well understood as nowadays, there is fairly widespread knowledge of these subjects within media and among opinion leaders" (Italy). The public is interested It even “asks for more information about CSR actions” (DK). “There has been growing interest in CSR activities and performance over the last few years, particularly from the media” (UK). Media have evolved “Media have evolved, they have assimilated CSR concepts. Therefore, it’s possible to believe that media appreciate companies supporting transparency” (Spain).
    18. 18. So…what? Final discussion
    19. 19. CSR ACTIONS CSRCOMMUNICATION RISKS OF GREENWASHING CRISIS THE IRRESPONSIBLES Recommendations: • Make sure you do what you say • Monitor internal practices • Avoid place CSR in marketing departments RISKS OF NEGLECTING CSR DIALOGUE WITH STAKEHOLDERS THE RISK ADVERSERS Recommendations: • Do not be afraid of media • Public is not ignorant so do not underestimate it THE RISK TAKERS Recommendations: • Do not only discuss about your company (egocentric communication) but educate the industry • Avoid a communication where a form overcomes the content • Avoid de - contextualization of your message • Use the whole organization to communicate • Address big issues ahead RISK BUILDING OPPORTUNISTIC IMAGE RISK OF BEING CONSIDERED A NON RESPONSIBLE COMPANY THE DORMANTS
    20. 20. Avoid egocentric communication
    21. 21. Reputation approach • Be known for tracks you leave • Do not show off CH and DK Future research for us: cross-cultural ≠
    22. 22. Reputation approach • Be known for tracks you leave • Do not show off Image approach • Be known for your communications UK,IT,ES,FR Future research for us: cross-cultural ≠
    23. 23. .pdf Contact details IE School of Communication IE University