How to create positive change & make the most of your corporate social responsibility

Summer 2019/20 has been a strange one. In one way or another we all seem to have been negatively affected by economic instability and the unprecedented impacts of climate change. These are unsettling times. As murky smoke haze and tight water restrictions become the norm, many of us have been asking, ‘how can we play a part in making things better?’

Even small changes are a step in the right direction, but what impact can be achieved by taking slightly bigger steps? Read on to find out how having a clear corporate social responsibility policy coupled with the right communications can help organisations share the good work they are doing and take others on the change journey.

Provide hope

Australians are currently experiencing a wave of desire to make a positive difference and businesses (both big and small) are pitching-in to do their bit. It’s not just the not for profits that are setting the change agenda. Commercial organisations with strong values are starting to have a key role as well. Some companies are donating much-needed goods and services to victims of disaster, while others are advocating for sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Big banks and media networks have been some of the largest donors to the recent bushfire appeals; large accounting firms are amongst those praised for strong corporate social responsibility policies and organisations across the nation have supported campaigns for social change, such as the marriage equality debate. Ben and Jerry has even shown that ice-cream has a role to play in agitating for change.

Organisations with a strong purpose are striving to make the world a kinder, healthier and better place in which to live and work. In doing so, they are taking on important leadership roles, providing much-needed hope and inspiration. Ethically-motivated consumers are on the look out for forward-thinking brands that make them feel good about themselves and their purchasing decisions, particularly during these times of political, environmental and economic uncertainty.

Marketing efforts can help share positive messages and get consumers or stakeholders on-board. Small steps towards change can become giant leaps when you communicate and engage with many. Capturing a sense of hope and optimism is key.

Social media is important tool for promoting brand values and engaging consumers in issues around corporate social responsibility.

Genuine corporate social responsibility

Consumers tend to be wary of empty corporate social responsibility statements and want more than just lip service. If your communications say one thing and your actions say another, your efforts will be for nothing. Meaningful action (undertaken for the right reasons) will truly resonate with people on an emotional level and help to influence others. In 2020 we expect to see clever brands move towards more consistent content strategies and corporate social responsibility efforts that reflect the authentic core of the business.

Being able to identify core values is a great way of showing relevance. Stakeholder and community consultations can enhance understanding around important issues. It’s also essential to ensure these values underpin everything you do. Strategic workshops can help to crystalise brand values, ready for them to be communicated.

Having a clear tone-of-voice and consistent messaging is also essential for demonstrating authenticity. Creative messaging can captures people’s imaginations and tug on their heartstrings when executed and delivered in the right way.

A clear annual marketing plan will map out activities to ensure all marketing efforts are aligned to core business goals – both from a profit and social perspective. Considering the right channel(s) for your messages is also important for achieving resonance. When done correctly, marketing activities can take your quest for change to the next level.

An advertisement from Ben&Jerry's showing a strong corporate social responsibility

Ben & Jerry are vocal on a number of issues including climate change, marriage equality and the US prison system.

Think big

Businesses need to think big in order to inspire and influence others. This doesn’t necessarily mean big budgets, but rather big ideas. Even small organisations can have a positive impact by having a clear goal in mind and working consistently towards it.

A picture of a gAyTM and marriage equality support poster - corporate social responsibility marketing activities

Businesses both big and small rallied in support of marriage equality.

 

Organisations with positive agendas might be able to communicate them better to help them stand out from the crowd. Businesses hoping to influence others may need to consider advertising and promotional activities to get the message out, and strategic use of social media is likely to be highly effective as well. A strategic understanding of the Stages of Change model is essential for social campaigns targeting health and wellbeing.

The starting point for all of this is a willingness to make a difference. The next steps are a strategic plan for how that can be as big a difference as possible. So go on… what are you waiting for? Use this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to do some good and to influence others to join you.

If you would like assistance in promoting your corporate social responsibility agenda or affecting larger-scale change please contact us for more information.  We’d love to help!

Contact us for a quote or to discuss your next project.

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