We ask, is it appropriate to use your CSR initiatives for increased press coverage?
“YES” says Sasan Saeidi, Managing Director, FP7/DXB
If the goal is to constantly do good first and do it genuine, then talking about what good you have done is only sharing positive vibes
We are living in a world of cause marketing. We are constantly surrounded by news that highlights one simple fact; there are people, there are places and there are societies that have it much worse than what we live through everyday. It’s a fact of life.
Today, society at large is not an even place, and brands and people need to ensure they are contributing and creating some good out there.
In a world where philanthropy needs more authors and all consumers wear a hat as social activists; authentic CSR stories deserve to be told. And told well. But lets not forget that the word authentic is underlined.
Yes it’s important for business; and yes its crucial for the internal culture and employer brand itself; but if the goal is to constantly do good first and do it genuine, then talking about what good you have done is only sharing positive vibes and increasing the success factor of that cause.
A widely quoted definition by the World Business Council states; that corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.
I do believe that this commitment needs to be transparent. It needs to be focused on ‘a’ issue. The commitment must be strategic, and at least a solution which is innovative.
More importantly, I believe great CSR campaigns are ones that create a movement and allow people to carry it forward and make it their own. Great CSR initiatives are carried forward. Always. And the more publicised, the better.
So in conclusion; if CSR initiatives are done correctly and with the right intent, then their stories should be told and it’s okay to talk about it; as ultimately the cause has benefited; and ‘good’ has been done.
And if the company or brand that has done it wants to tell its story; then so be it. But, a good and real cause should be at the heart of it all. This is non- negotiable.
“NO” says Yiannis Vafaes, Managing Director, GolinHarris MENA
Connection or appeal does not get created with a short-term approach to CSR, when activities are implemented only for the benefit of a few news articles
Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails. CSR can never be considered as charity, but should be considered as a vital aspect of a company’s business strategy. The overall sentiment of the society is critical for the growth of any business and over the years more and more companies have aligned with this approach.
A series of industry studies have established that people feel more connected and stay loyal to brands that are in some way contributing to the society’s welfare, helping preserve natural resources, empowering people by sharing knowledge or even helping conserve wildlife. This emotional connect is a priceless asset that brands cannot ignore.
However, this connection or appeal does not get created with a short-term approach to CSR, when activities are implemented for the benefit of a few news articles or with the frankly selfish aim of increasing brand awareness – for the simple fact that it is entirely transparent to the consumer. People expect companies to talk to them about their products. But that does not inspire them, and will ultimately fail to benefit the brand. True inspiration and engagement will stem from a change, big or small that people will see a brand making to things that matter to them every day.
Adopting a CSR approach that is not focused on getting media visibility has many other benefits and employee engagement tops that list. Corporations invest precious financial and executive resources to recruit and retain the right talent. Companies that offer regular opportunities for employees to work towards a cause have seen an increased level of employee satisfaction and great productivity.
In a consumer’s mind, loyalty is to the values of the company, not to the company. If there are no values, there is no loyalty.