Businesses used to revolve primarily around growth, revenue, and costs – the economic bottom line.
However, today’s customers want to know that the organizations they buy products from or do business with share their values, leading many businesses to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a way of life.
The triple bottom line – one that demonstrates a company’s positive impact on its finances, the communities it does business with, and the environments it affects – is a must in a healthy business model.
The role of marketing and public relations in these CSR initiatives is to make sure customers are aware of a brand’s programs and efforts. This calls for well-planned campaigns that build relationships and demonstrate a company’s commitment in an authentic manner.
Engaging established and respected CSR influencers, whether they are journalists, bloggers, or key stakeholders, can be critical to communications success. Although owned and paid media shouldn’t be ignored, earned media from key CSR influencers has the potential of spreading your message much further.
Familiarize Yourself with CSR Trends and Practices
Before launching any communications, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the overall CSR landscape. If you’re not already familiar with the topic, you’ll want to start your research with keyword searches on social media and Google, then go deeper by reading articles, blog posts, white papers, and perhaps some books.
Get familiar with new websites and publications that may come up. If you have access to a PR targeting tool, use it to identify CSR-related publications that you can add to your reading list.
See What Others are Doing
Don’t forget the value of seeing how other organizations are talking about their social and sustainability initiatives. Research what other brands are doing by reading press releases or following PR Newswire’s Twitter account @TotalCSR.
Use search engines to find stories that succeeded in getting earned media, then look at how the organization communicated their efforts.
You don’t want to copy a successful CSR communications plan, but you certainly want to learn from it and leverage methodologies that align with your own initiatives.
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