2013 green trophy

The “Best Content” series brings you a handful of the most thought-provoking and informative articles, reports, and webinars related to CSR communications published over the last year, broken down into bite-sized pieces.

Communicating CSR: Four Lessons from Chevron and IBM
Communicating CSR isn’t always easy: without the right messaging, a firm can come across as inauthentic or self-serving. By taking a very close look at Chevron and IBM’s CSR ad campaigns, this Forbes post delineates the Four P’s of CSR communication: purpose, people, programs, and partners. If your firm lives up to these four components, once you “understand the DNA of what you’re doing and why and focus on engaging your employees,” communicating CSR efforts won’t be forced or disingenuous. Read the post here.

Social: Where CSR Brand Leadership is Won or Lost
Social media can be an ideal platform to share your CSR story with key stakeholders, and yet, as CSRwire explains in this article, “many brands are reticent to participate.” Although B2B has approached social cautiously, a demand for CSR communication exists: “media, influencers and employees (current and potential) are using search as a barometer of company reputation and performance.” And because transparency is key for successful CSR communication, social media can help companies establish clear and compelling communications regarding their CSR activities. This CSRwire post explains “how to leverage social to drive CSR leadership,” from empowering and sharing to measuring and inspiring. Read the post here.

Measuring the Impact of Employee Volunteering: What Metrics are Most Important and Why
The results of volunteer efforts can be far-reaching: from enriching communities and lives in need, even to promoting employee engagement and supporting stakeholder relations. But, as this CSRwire post explains, “as with any investment, measurement is what enables managers to prove – and improve – the value of their volunteer programs.” The author goes on to explain various possible metrics – and how to implement them – for volunteerism, such as measuring social value or employee satisfaction. Read the post here.

Customer Outcomes of Corporate Social Responsibility in Supplier-Customer Relationships
The Marketing Science Institute published a study this year that explored the “influence of a supplier’s CSR engagement on organizational customer outcomes.” Though both foster loyalty and trust, the research compared the effects – and uses – of CSR engagement versus philanthropic CSR. Importantly, the study also concluded that companies must proactively communicate CSR activities, but must do so authentically to avoid “greenwashing” (the attempt of organizations to falsely convince consumers that they are environmentally responsibly). Read more and download the study here.

Getting the Message Straight: Internal Communication Fixes
During this webinar, hosted by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, three corporate citizenship professionals – from Dell, Adidas Group, and Intel – share their experience with “communication challenges to find the right balance of both work and reward.” Communicating CSR efforts is a delicate balancing act, requiring the right relationship between a company’s brand and its philanthropic or volunteer efforts, while remaining authentic. This webinar explores how to reach this balance through case examples.