There are a myriad of ways for companies to participate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) from directly supporting the community, to creating unique and health-focused working environments, all the way to something as simple as being transparent about practices – both internally and externally. Chances are your organization is doing something positive in the realm of CSR and you just haven’t realized it yet. Once you discover that great thing you’re doing, the next step is to figure out how to share that message with others.
Part three of our Power Play workshop series focused on turning those positive CSR efforts into a force for creating advocates, brand champions and rabid fans. For example, you’re probably familiar with Lush’s recyclable packaging and fight against animal testing or Whole Foods’ emphasis on local sourcing for products and donations to food shelters. Then of course there’s local group American College of Education who is an avid supporter of Teacher’s Treasures, who both work hard to improve the current state of education in the United States.
Stop and think – how did you know these things? How did those wonderful endeavors happening behind the products become standard knowledge for consumers even outside of their main audience?
There are several ways of communicating your CSR story to a broader audience, so we invited four of Bohlsen Group’s experts from different backgrounds to share their insights during out event. The audience during this most recent Power Play workshop definitely put our experts to the test with some great questions. While the full Q&A would be quite lengthy, here are some key takeaways to inspire you toward speaking about your CSR endeavors:
A lot of companies are afraid they will be seen as bragging if they tell the media about the cool things they’re doing. Sometimes a press release is a scary thing to put out there, however, if you do it in the right way, it allows the media to do the bragging for you. There might be a potential client or vendor who finds they want to work with you because of what they read in a press release or feature article on your company. In this way, media relations can be a more authentic way of generating your fan base.
Remember the old adage, “Facts tell, but stories sell?” When creating content around your CSR program, always make the extra effort to put stories and people at the center of your campaign, above and beyond listing your accomplishments. People buy from people, not brands, and when your story is told from the mouths of enthused stakeholders – whether employees, customers, or partners – you’ll generate a fan for life and avoid that sense of bragging.
Get your employees and internal audience to be your own brand ambassadors and share your social content from their own accounts. When we became B Corp certified we were all aware of what was happening beforehand and were as excited about it as our president Vicki Bohlsen was. That meant once the announcement went out, we were all talking about it from our own accounts, and to this day we still share content related to the B Corp practices i.e. Bohlsen’s Best blog posts. Social media is a direct pipeline to a potentially large untapped audience.
Do your employees understand your CSR endeavors? Is your message consistent across social platforms? Are the focal points in your content pieces the same as the ones in your press release? Where is your main audience finding you? Planning how to participate in CSR is just as important as planning how to talk about it. You should create a dedicated internal team to work on key messaging, keep an eye out for strong ambassador stories and help ensure that your whole organization is consistent when sharing your story.