The Magnificent CSR Seven


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The Magnificent CSR Seven

  1. 1. Brave One Agency The Magnificent CSR PRESENTS SEVEN
  2. 2. The best and the brightest seven thought leadersin the world of corporate social responsibility wereasked a simple question:“If you had the chance to impart one lesson, and onelesson only, to a company interested in improvingtheir efforts and reputation for CSR, what wouldthat one lesson be?”Here’s what they had to say.... BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 2
  3. 3. Lesson: Create Shared Value Through Storytelling Under the old, industrial model of capitalism companies didn’t pay too much attention to their social reputation. Employees and consumers could tell themselves any stories they wanted while corporations went about extracting labor and natural resources from disenfranchised communities. That’s as far as the story went. Today, communities in which corporations operate have become a whole lot louder. Through labor movements, collectivizing, and more recently through social media, stakeholders have let corporations hear loud and clear that if they want dedicated employees, loyal customers, and willing investors, they need to build them by creating a sense of shared values. Creating shared value isn’t just a strategy, but a necessity for any business looking to thrive in a market driven by new media. Companies create shared value by giving back to the communities in which they operate and by showing, on a personal level, how theyJESSE MAYHEW add a sense of meaning to people’s lives. So how does a company establish a sense of shared value in their community ofPrincipal and Co-Founder of Brave One stakeholders? It takes more than even the most data-driven, highly researched,Agency, Jesse has helped everyone beautifully illustrated report can offer. What it takes is telling an emotionally engagingfrom Fortune 500 Companies to story. A narrative will always trump mere facts, figures, third party certifications andmultinational non-profits promote their awards, regardless of their quantity or how praiseworthy they may be. It is an establishedsocial and environmental initiatives to fact that a story creates greater, more lasting affinity and comprehension in the human mind than statistics alone.the world. He is co-author of CorporateStorytelling and Your CSR Strategy, a As a reaction to the growing demand for sound CSR policies from stakeholders, atreport advising organizations on best present the basic tenants of advertising and marketing are undergoing a seriouspractices for disseminating their CSR reimagining and reformation. Image and lifestyle-based advertising is making way forinitiatives. He blogs regularly on issues a new generation of communication techniques that connect to people on a morerelated to cause marketing and CSR on profound, deeper, moral level. As conveying shared values becomes a necessity forBarker, the Brave One blog. communications professionals, storytelling will prove to be the most reliable method of delivery. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 3
  4. 4. Lesson: Stop Doing Things That Don’t Work Cause Marketing has become big business. Social Entrepreneurship is a major buzz word right now. But as the industry of doing good has grown, our ability to solve some of our society’s most complex problems has declined. Lost in the sea of pink ribbons and the crush of buy-one-save-everything campaigns is the intelligence and discipline needed to find real solutions. The real solution is simple: Stop doing things that don’t work. For brands, that means no more opportunity-driven sponsorships or promotional-only campaigns. For non-profits and charities, that means no more do-nothing partnerships and transaction-only requests of your supporters. For individuals, looking to take action or invest in something innovative, that means setting ambitious goals for changing the world - and holding yourself, and everyone accountable, until that goal is achieved. Today, we live in a globalized, smaller, more tightly connected and more deeply intertwined world than ever before. Each one of us has the ability to transform the way the world thinksBRIAN REICH about critically important issues. Each of us brings a different set of insights, experiences, and perspectives that challenge the established structures and call into question the agreed-upon protocols for how work gets done. The reason big issues aren’t being properly addressed is because our attention has been unnecessarily divided. There are too manyAuthor. Sports fan. Media junkie. SVP choices for how to apply our expertise, commit our resources, direct our energy.and Global Editor at Edelman Digital.Brian spends most of his time thinking We are in a situation where we can force ourselves to change, be innovative, and experimentabout the impact technology is having with different ways of addressing serious issues. But it takes real choices and sacrifice.on our society. 2011 saw the publication For every exciting new start-up that gets funded there are dozens of under-performingof Brian’s book Shift and Reset: organizations that should be incentivized to close their doors — the investment in moving theStrategies for Addressing Serious Issues intelligence and experience that exists within those groups somewhere else would deliverin a Connected Society. a significant return. Instead of introducing new products and services, organizations can redouble their focus on improving their existing offerings to help deepen their commitment to the audience they already have. These areas of focus aren’t as sexy as a new brand or flashy marketing effort, but they help to establish a solid foundation for long-term success and take full advantage of the tools available today and the economic situation we currently face. If we truly want to solve the problems that exist in our society we need a whole new approach, a dramatically different structure for all the social, economic, political, organizational, communications, and personal efforts we undertake. We need to shift our thinking, reset our operations, and establish a way of addressing serious issues that is designed for the current realities, not for the past. That starts with stopping what isn’t working. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 4
  5. 5. Lesson: Don’t Go It Alone: Leverage the Power of Partnerships Partnerships—mutually beneficial relationships focused on joint value creation—can be a powerful tool to build corporate reputation. They’re something on which many companies don’t focus nearly enough effort. Companies are moving beyond making basic, operational CSR interventions (e.g. energy efficiency, waste management), to pursue deeper, more impactful commitments. Yet, even the most sophisticated companies are not equipped to tackle pressing social and environmental issues, like homelessness or climate change, on their own. This is where partnerships become critically important. Non-profits bring to the issue expertise, and they can help companies put their resources to work for the issue in the most efficient and impactful way. Corporations also benefit from the positive brand halo of being attached to non-profits with high brand trust and a proven track record. Finally, non-profits often have passionate supporters that they can mobilize to bolsterCRAIG BIDA corporate efforts. Consumers increasingly expect—and reward—this type of corporate/non-profit collaboration. According to research by Cone Communications, almost 60% ofCraig Bida brings more than 20 years consumers are likely to buy products associated with a partnership. At the sameof experience spanning the private, time, more than half of consumers feel better about a non-profit that is aligned with apublic and non-profit sectors – company.successfully partnering with companies,government agencies and non- So what should companies do? Leverage the fundamentals of successful partnershipprofits to drive business growth, while development:addressing pressing societal needs.He currently serves as Executive Vice 1. Awareness: Understand your potential partner’s mission and focusPresident of the Cause Branding and 2. Proactivity: Anticipate how each partner can solve the other party’s needs andNon-profit Marketing practices at Cone objectives 3. Alignment: Invest time agreeing on outcomes, and approach the relationship withCommunications. a mindset of mutual benefit 4. Negotiation: Partners should negotiate up-front based on the current (and future) value they bring—and reassess later to ensure that value created is being fairly shared 5. Persistence: Sometimes, even the best relationships come to an end, but many partners give up too fast; anticipate and prepare for inevitable bumps in the road BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 5
  6. 6. Lesson: Cliches Can’t Save the World I have a recurring fear. It is of a group of well-meaning environmentalists sitting around watching the news as climate change spins out of control, and congratulating themselves because they were not responsible for the destruction. It’s not enough to be on the right side of history. We have to win too. Unfortunately too many environmentalists - and that includes activists, conservationists and green business people - are content to preach to the converted. Walk the halls of any “green” tradeshow or consumer event - or open up the pages of an environmental magazine - and you’ll see people communicating to blend in, not stand out. Good-for-the-world businesses need to express sustainability as the vibrant, exciting, game-changing proposition it is if we are going to engage a critical mass of people and take sustainability firmly into the mainstream. We should put our heart and souls into what we do. And that means we need to differentiate ourselves. And you can’t do that by using the same typeface as everyone else. (Papyrus is only a good font choice ifSAMI GROVER you want to look like every other massage therapist, conservation non-profit, or crystal healer in the country!) You can’t do it by basing your logo on a leaf or by putting a hand cupping a seedling on the cover of your annual report. And you can’t do it by using a tagline that says “Saving the Earth, one _____ at a time.” We have to step up ourSami Grover is an environmental activist communications, or we have to admit defeat and sit back and watch the world crumble.and co-creative director at The ChangeCreation, a creative team offering brand Luckily better communication is not rocket science. And it’s fun too. It means findingstrategy and design for good-for-the- what makes you different. It means standing out from the crowd. And it means usingworld businesses and non-profits. He is sustainability as a lever, not a pedestal. In a world where citizens are inundated withalso a regular contributor to TreeHugger shallow, vacuous messaging and a pressure to buy more and more stuff, it can be hardand TLC’s Parentables. He once vowed to compete by simply selling virtue or the good that you do. Conversely, however, ifnever to fly again, then he fell in love you can sell your brand as offering a better consumer experience, and real benefits towith someone on the other side of the your core audience, then showing that you believe in more than just money can be aAtlantic. He believes that adaptability is powerful way to build trust and deepen engagement. If we are going to win we must learn to make our case relevant to a mainstream audience. We must step up our owna prerequisite for sustainability. game. Niche marketing is fine if you are selling a niche product. But sustainability must reach everyone if it will ever be sustainable. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 6
  7. 7. Lesson: Tell the Truth People who think they’re perfect aggravate me. Even Jesus gave them a piece of His mind. He said “why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” The truth is vanity is annoying and we all know it. Yet, when it comes to marketing, vanity is the status quo. Or should I say – was the status quo. Consumers today are smarter than ever before, but with Google’s “brain” just a click, a tap, or a barcode scan away, consumers are empowered by a virtual electronic lie detector that can dig much deeper than what an ad says or packaging displays. Google’s new book “Zero Moment of Truth” states that 84% of consumers now check out a product’s back-story and reviews when making a purchasing decision. Consumers are empowered and much more prone to see through unsubstantiated claims than ever before. This is as true in product claims as it is in sustainability. Still, many companies are applying traditional vanity claims to sustainability instead ofDERRICK MAINS doing what we all like and respect - telling the truth. The truth stands out from a sea of marketing gibberish better than a “green claim”. The truth is that every product we create has a negative impact on the planet, regardless of what the marketing pitch tells us. Cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than otherA 2010 Green Pioneer award winner and cars. That’s the truth. Pretty much everything we do as consumers and businesses has aexpert on corporate sustainability and negative effect on someone or something. So, how in the world can you tell a fool-proofentrepreneurship. Derrick’s background story in the age of the Internet and increased scrutiny?includes executive roles with Earth911,Amber Alert, Buildproof, GreenNurture Some companies are doing it by embracing the truth and using it as a competitiveand current as EVP of youchange advantage. Patagonia for instance has gone as far as creating a section of their site (Thean electronic waste collection and Footprint Chronicles) to talk about all the things they are doing wrong. That’s right; theyrecycling company. Derrick has worked clearly explain all the problems with their business and products! At first glance youon sustainability and recycling initiatives might think they’re crazy for sharing this information but people are flocking to theirwith some of the largest brands in the products (and other brands using similar strategies) not because of all the things they are doing well; but because they have clearly identified all the things they aren’t. So,worlds including Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil when contemplating talking about your sustainability story, telling the truth (the good,and Valvoline. He also serves on the the bad, and the ugly) can be refreshing, different and bold. A welcome by-product mayboard of The Green Chamber, B100% even be that it marginalizes your competition’s efforts as vain . . . and everyone hatesand is an Entrepreneur in Residence for vanity.Arizona State University. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 7
  8. 8. Lesson: Communication is Key On a global scale, the formats from which people receive their news, information, and opinions are changing. While traditional media still looms large in its reach (21% of the world gets their news from these sources), social media, the web, and mobile are within grasp of that communications crown (combining to form 20%). And with little doubt, over the next few years social media will become the dominant form of how people get their news, entertainment, and opinions. Recent studies have found that close to 95% of Americans aged 42 and under, close to 2/3 of the worlds population, are using at least 1 platform of social media, and those numbers are only projected to go up. It’s not that social media is beating out traditional media, but instead, it is absorbing it. Just as we saw the transformation of newspapers from print into digital formats, radio losing ground to online systems, so too is television undergoing absorption into a digital and social evolution. Therefore, as companies begin, continue, or evolve their respective CSR or sustainability initiatives, the embracing of cutting edge social mediaHENRY FRECHETTE formats will impact the reach of internal and external communications. The impact of this communication cannot be underestimated. The growing demographic of the conscientious consumer will support or even advocate for a company insofarHenry Frechette is 3BL Media’s as they feel they are informed of what that company is doing. This is not to say thatCommunity Architect and directs the companies should go green just to make money, but this is to say that when presentedcompany’s social communications with two identical products or services, and the consumer knows that one harms thestrategies. Before joining 3BL Media, environment and one doesn’t, he or she is increasingly supporting the producers of theHenry received his MA in the Humanities latter. In other words, while it would be great for companies to do good just to do good,from the University of Chicago and consumer behavior historically hasn’t rewarded altruism. But it is beginning to rewardworked for several large non-profits those companies that are doing the walking and the talking, thus allowing for the trulyand as well as a sustainability consulting sustainable organizations to He is a firm believer that theInternet can be a powerful tool for goodas well as a complete waste of time. Hehas dedicated his career to helpinganyone that will listen to understand thedifference. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 8
  9. 9. Lesson: Leverage the Holy Trinity of Corporate Communications The last few years have seen the simultaneous coming of age of 3 separate trends. 2011 finally saw them coming into alignment. These three trends are 1.) Corporate Social Responsibility’s rise as a full-fledged marketing trend. 2.) Social media’s rise as a delivery platform for corporate communications. 3.) Online video as the premiere medium for corporate communications. The result: the most significant opportunity in corporate communications to happen in decades. It’s really only been in the past few years that technology has made watching a video online popular and enjoyable. Evidence shows that video posts are three times more likely to be viewed than mere text. As the saying goes, if content is king, then video is the king of content. Despite the combined power of online video distributed and promoted via social media, companies can’t simply throw anything at their followers. Regular, commercialGARY BREECE advertising never seems to fit in an online world – particularly if it is being promoted via social media. Online promotional videos need to come off as less jarring, less sales-y and more subtle if they are going to be tolerated. What fits that bill perfectly is CSR communications.Gary Breece is an Executive Producerat Public Address System, a multimedia The reason why CSR communications succeed online more than regular commercialsproduction company specializing in is simply a matter of tone. They feel less like pop-up advertisements, and more likeCSR, cause marketing and public affairs public service messages. They are not only more tolerated by viewers, but are ‘liked’ oncommunications. Through executing Facebook, tweeted, dugg, enjoyed, promoted, and passed along through various socialhundreds of TV, social media and web- media channels.based projects for Fortune 500 Clientssuch as McDonald’s, Energizer, and With video as the communications tool, social media as the communications platform,Dow, Gary has developed an expertise and CSR as the content, corporations finally have at their disposal an unprecedented,in translating values and social concerns unbeatable triple combination with which to convey their CSR efforts. At long last companies can reach out directly to stakeholders with impactful, easily shareable storiesinto inventive content that entertains of the good they are doing.and informs. These three major trends have at long last come of age. The ability to communicate your message directly to people online via video is what marketing professionals have been anticipating for ten years. It’s happening right now. It’s time to get on board. Odds are that your competitors already have. BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 9
  10. 10. Bonus Lesson: Make Your Whole Team The Green Team If you fail to engage employees at all levels within your organization on matters of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, then you aren’t yet taking your corporate citizenship seriously. To have a truly vibrant, healthy, and lasting CSR culture requires the empowerment and dedication of everyone within your company. Relying on a niche “green team” to somehow reform the entire culture and habits of an organization is energy misspent. If everyone in the corporate culture isn’t participating in your social and environmental policies, then quite simply it isn’t your corporate culture. Unilever recently announced a laudable (and hopefully soon-copied) policy in which every last employee was named “head of sustainability.” It is this willingness to be bold that results in true, company-wide change. Today nobody at Unilever is “off the hook” in terms of CSR, and no employee is leaving their CSR efforts to the “sustainability specialists.”LUKAS SNELLING It’s only after the entirety of an organization has been engaged, made aware, and made responsible that obstacles to a socially and environmentally responsible corporate culture can be met and overcome.Our eighth and final bonus lesson comes Engaging the entire corporate culture grants more results than just waste reduction orfrom Lukas Snelling, Co-Founder and an increased rate of volunteerism. A recent study showed that 85% of employees arePrincipal at Brave One Agency. Lukas has more likely to initiate spontaneous word-of-mouth promotion when they are involvedoverseen national media campaigns for with the CSR initiatives of their company, and 65% of them are more likely to do soFortune 500 Companies, non-profits, as when they are informed about such corporate initiatives1. This means that engaging thewell as advised corporate executives on entirety of your employee base doesn’t just benefit your internal, corporate culture -- ittheir PR and communications strategies, benefits your global reputation.particularly those related to sustainableand environmental initiatives. Whileserving as Director of Digital Media at CBS,Lukas founded the Green Radio Initiative,a program that creates actionablemessages for audiences to embrace moresustainable lifestyles across the full CBSPortfolio of assets. 1. Dawkins, J. & Lewis, S. 2003. “Corporate Responsibility: The communication challenge.” Journal of Communication Management, 9 (2): 108-119 BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 10
  11. 11. CONSULTING Once we examine the current CSR efforts of our clients, we advise on new sustainability strategies, create policies to further improve corporate citizenship, and
 deploy new communications methods that help to share your values with an audience of consumers, employees, and investors. MARKETING Whether designing a campaign for a profit or non-profit organization, we oversee the entirety of our custom, multi-channel campaigns from kickoff to completion. Our marketing campaigns put a premium on publishing valuable content and inbound strategies to establish your organization as a CSR frontrunner in your industry. PUBLIC RELATIONS At Brave One we have the experience and expertise necessary to oversee all of your PR efforts inBRAVE ONE AGENCY sustainability. We specialize in translating your complex CSR policies and initiatives into simple, effective messaging tailored to your audience. We understand that however conscientious your target consumer may be, they don’t understand ‘CSR’ – they have their eye out for ‘green’ andBrave One is a communications agency other watchwords we help you to find.helping companies face new global realitiesby embracing new, emerging mediastrategies to achieve their business goals. Content and Design Strategy Brand StrategyWe have the resources of a web studio, the Copywriting Brand Developmentinsight of a consultancy, and the boldness Graphic Design Brand Positioning/Gap Analysisof a veteran PR firm. Our clients are those Inbound Marketing Brand Books and Style Guidesorganizations that have bravely stepped up Email Marketing Brand Activation/Launch Campaignsto the challenge of today’s most pressing Content Creation Corporate Identitysocial and environmental issues. Print Advertising Demographic Research Online Advertising Brand Story and Messaging Digital Strategy Impact Strategy Website Development CSR/Cause Marketing Campaigns Mobile Development Partnership Planning Search Engine Optimization Thought Leadership E-Commerce Solutions Media TrainingBE BRAVE. BE MORE. Search Engine Marketing Social Media Strategy Tracking & Analytics Fundraising Stakeholder Engagement Social and Environmental Reportingwww.braveoneagency.cominfo@braveoneagency.com413-650-2770 BRAVE ONE / CSR SEVEN 11
  12. 12. www.braveoneagency.cominfo@braveoneagency.com413-650-2770