Brands that don't tell their CSR story properly are failing to maximize their return.
Many commentators and thought-leaders have observed that, in order to be effective, corporate social responsibility must be integral to a business, rather than an add-on. Too often, however, companies fall short of effectively telling that story.
The challenges so many companies face today include a tough economy, fast-changing social technology, and multiple social crises. But without effective storytelling companies have little chance to scale their socially responsible efforts by working with their customer communities and social media channels.
Let’s be honest: Branding is difficult, outright.
The ability of a company to define its purpose, core values, and vision of the world is often so obscured by the daily demands of running a business, reconciling competing agendas and serving fickle customers that managing the integrity of a brand gets little attention. But in the social business marketplace, such efforts are more important than ever; as the 2010 Edelman Good Purpose Report tells us, 86 percent of consumers want companies to put society's needs on the same level as business needs. Yet, even if a company does so, such heartfelt efforts aren’t maximized if that story isn’t well told.
That's why it's so important to look at the best practices of some of the smartest marketers and storytellers in the world.
- Patagonia offers powerful transparency through its Footprint Chronicles project, collaborates with its peers to scale its social impact through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and most recently has actively discouraged the purchase of new products to demonstrate its deep commitment to sustainability.
- Procter and Gamble has created a campaign where the purchase of a pack of Pampers funds a tetanus vaccination for a mother or newborn child in the developing world (to date funding over 30 million vaccinations saving an estimated 100,000 lives).
- Nike is opening up its intellectual property and sharing its supply chain and operational insights through efforts such as the Nike Green Exchange and its Environmental Design Tool.
These smart marketers are not only demonstrating an authentic commitment to greater social responsibility, they're also telling the story effectively building their bottom line and a sustainable planet.
Coca-Cola's Arctic Home project is the perfect example in recent months of what can happen when the biggest brands in the world—with the greatest creative resources and deepest pockets—recognize the importance of telling sustainability stories that are meaningful to their customers' lives.
It's this marriage of sustainable practices and brand storytelling through social media that is critical to the success of any brand in the social business marketplace. Through such alignment, authenticity and consistency in messaging, companies of all sizes inspire their customer communities to become brand ambassadors who amplify their message, products/services and good work through social tools.
The ability to seamlessly combine purposeful storytelling and social technology is the focus of the We First Social Branding Seminar being held in Los Angeles on February 1st and 2nd. Over the course of two days, participating brands will build a Social Branding Blueprint based on best practices, case studies and ROI of the world’s best marketers, so they too can build their awareness, profits, and positive social impact.
The event will be led by Simon Mainwaring, Sustainable Brands Advisory Board member and author of New York Times Bestseller We First (named Best Marketing Book of 2011 by strategy+business), Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair of Edelman Business + Social Purpose, and Robert Tercek, former President of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
As a special offer to the CSRWire community, registrants can enter the code CSRWIRE and receive a 50% discount, ($997 instead of $2099). What's more, every attendee gets an extra ticket to invite his or her favorite non-profit for free. This is the last week for registration, so visit www.WeFirstSeminar.com and enter the code CSRWIRE.
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CSR Event: We First Social Branding Seminar with Simon Mainwaring, Carol Cone, and Robert Tercek