We all have heard the saying ‘do good and be good’ — but for brands today, it’s more than just a saying. It’s a business motto. With a growing number of socially conscious consumers, businesses are now associating themselves with causes ranging from veganism to girl child education. Through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, they want to go beyond money-making and establish themselves as changemakers; but of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Good intentions are never enough — they must be backed by communication and action. And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today. Keep reading for some tips on how to crack the CSR puzzle:
- Establish your goals
Asking yourself what you want to achieve and how it is relevant to your brand are the two foremost steps in building any successful communication campaign, be it CSR or not. I’d say while you are establishing your goals, make sure to link the brand vision, messaging, and attributes to your CSR activity. This will swiftly integrate the CSR communications into brand messaging, helping audiences make a strong connection between the brand and the cause.
- Strategise carefully
Like any other communication campaign, the second step is laying out a plan of action that will help you deliver impactful messages to the right audience, the right way. Now, there are different ways to approach this. While some brands run extensive digital campaigns, others use annual reports, PR coverage, and websites to make an impression. No matter what medium you choose, always have your messaging consistent across all channels and platforms. This will promote better brand recall and association.
A great example of a successful CSR strategy is that of a multinational tech giant. The brand encouraged its IT partners to move to renewable sources of energy and switched their packaging to 99% recycled paper. They dedicated an entire webpage to their environmentally friendly practices, peppering it with short, powerful lines and minimalist design for greater impact. All in all, they were open about their processes and practices. The result? It was named the ‘greenest technology brand’ by Greenpeace and got tremendous PR coverage.
- Advocate with integrity
There’s a very thin line between blowing one’s own trumpet and genuinely sharing information. So, be mindful of the line whenever you are drafting messages or creating designs. There’s always a risk of sounding boastful, despite good intentions. I’d suggest — don’t overdo it in terms of frequency, as it can be counterproductive. Remember you are not ‘selling’ your CSR efforts. You are merely communicating your contribution and inspiring the world to follow your path and make a difference.
Those were my tips and tricks — but I’ve saved the best for last. And that’s transparency. It runs through every stage of your campaign and should be the cornerstone of all your efforts. Always communicate honestly, own up your work, and never shy away from any CSR-related questions you receive. This shows that you sincerely care — and will win you many hearts!
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