In today’s business world, it’s not always about the economic bottom line. As competition continues to increase among various industries, consumers are starting to take a deeper look at organizations that share their same values and embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR programs are known to maintain internal and external stakeholder relationships, helping strengthen moral of one’s internal team, while helping attract potential investors that can have an impact both on business growth and society. One aspect of CSR programs that rarely gets talked about is supplementing such programs with public relations efforts.
From a business perspective, one of the biggest benefits of promoting CSR initiatives through public relations comes from consumer and client preference in today’s society. By showcasing that a company has a CSR program you’re not only putting value in a product or service, but you are placing value behind that company’s ethos as a corporate citizen. As a result, you’re relaying the message that the company cares about more than just profit, but also the importance of their community and the world around them.
If your brand does not do public relations outreach around their CRS program, they are missing out on the opportunity to share key messages that may not be readily evident to customers and clients. Public relations support behind CRS programs allows a company’s vision, mission and values come to life above and beyond a plaque on the wall or a statement on a company website. For example, Motion PR participated in Giving Tuesday in November by partnering with the local Anti-Cruelty Society to help create play toys for shelter dogs and cats. This was a great experience that increased team-bonding through the act of giving back to our community, and through word of mouth, our efforts were picked-up by local media. Beyond servicing our clients and their needs, these types of efforts demonstrate how CSR programs can help culture come to life and boost staff morale by rallying around one common effort. As company’s look to explore CRS programs and how to promote them, be aware that your efforts can stretch beyond one main philanthropic effort. Varying your initiatives by working with multiple organizations in support of multiple causes can make for a well-rounded, robust program.
As companies look to build their CSR programs, they should realize that the trend is moving into supporting multiple causes, mostly driven by employees’ interests. At Motion PR, our nonprofit committee is always tapping into our staff for ideas on how to give back to the community and the different causes our members support. Most recently, one our staff members, who is a member of the Rape Victims Advocates (RVA), a local nonprofit dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual assault survivors, led the charge for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. To help with their annual event, our office decorated t-shirts for one of their annual signature event to raise awareness around gender violence. While the initiative was small, it’s important to note that CSR programs do not have to be one giant project, but rather a multitude of smaller initiatives.
We know the importance of executing CSR campaigns for one’s company, but having it be a sustaining effort is just as important. It takes discipline and an assigned task force to lift a company’s CSR program off the ground. Treating the CSR program like another division of the company can help it be a longstanding component of the organization. With that in mind, companies should ask themselves how much time and resources are they willing to devote to CSR campaigns and what the overall objectives are. From there, infusing those efforts with public relations will have the biggest impact for a company and their reputation in today’s competitive landscape.