The Greater Good

Look on virtually any corporate website these days and you’ll find a section devoted to CSR. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that if a company doesn’t engage in some form of CSR activity it may be perceived to be irresponsible.

There can be no doubt that the money and resources afforded by business through CSR have the potential to benefit society in many ways, but beyond a conformity to modern day corporate etiquette why would and should a business engage in CSR activity and if it does what should it do and how?

 

Know what you expect to gain

Unsurprisingly, with so many factors at play, the direct financial benefit of CSR is hard to measure, but beyond the bottom line there is evidence that CSR can deliver positive results, not just for society, but for business too. Google search “the impact of corporate image on sales” and you’ll find numerous studies that testify to the fact that positive corporate image and word of mouth around it has the potential to prompt consumers to both choose one brand over another and possibly even accept a higher price point when doing so. Furthermore, as business practices become ever more transparent through the internet so a negative image becomes increasingly detrimental and any steps taken to avoid one more important.

One study which looks at how CSR benefits business identifies three different types of socially responsible activity.

Philanthropy, through which companies make donations, raise funds and sponsor charitable NGOs. Business Practices, in which companies change their operations for the benefit of employees and wider society; and Production, in which businesses fundamentally change their product offer to the advantage of society and the environment.

The study demonstrates how each of these different types of activity impact positively on business performance, in different ways and to varying degrees.

However, what isn’t discussed is the degree of effort required by a business to engage in these activities, and so the value of participating is not fully clear.

For instance, philanthropic activities can and are for many businesses a relatively low investment initiative which may involve little more than investment in charity Christmas cards or staff fund raising events. On a grander scale, for the larger organisation a large and tax free cash donation to a partner NGO serves as a straightforward positive step but one that may gain little recognition from customers and the public at large.

For the more proactive and possibly larger organisation there is perhaps greater expectation of the contribution it should make.

 

Choose your cause wisely

Published in 2016 the World Economic Forums Global Shapers Survey gathered the views of 26,000 millennials across 181 countries in order to provide a snapshot of the concerns of the next generation.

The survey highlights some areas in which businesses may play a part in improving things. Environmental and Poverty issues are perhaps two areas where opportunities exist.

 

Understand the issue in detail

To ensure a company is doing the right thing by both society it needs to understand CSR issues in detail.

In recent years, there has been a lot of social commentary and activism centred upon the impact of poverty on basic female needs. In particular, the concept of Period Poverty has been highlighted and has prompted a number of corporate interventions at first by retailers opting to absorb taxation on female sanitary products and then by Bodyform which in 2017 made a three-year commitment to distribute its products free of charge to some of the most affected women and girls, a move that P&G competitor Always has now followed.

However, now some people are voicing the opinion that access to free sanitary products is a basic human right. As the conversation progresses the opinion that for anyone to be charged for sanitary protection may begin to take hold leading commercial manufacturers to come under fire by activists.

Without a clear understanding of these shifts in social conscience it would be potentially hazardous for a company to become involved in activities aimed at addressing social and environmental issues.

 

Decide how best to contribute

Once a business has identified a CSR objective and fully understood the issue it must then consider how it might best contribute.

Increasingly, CSR initiatives have become tied to more specific and practical solutions to social and environmental issues with corporates taking more direct action through philanthropy, business practice and production.

This enables companies to have a much more direct say in where and how they direct their efforts and so manage things both to the benefit of the cause and the business alike. But with this increased level of involvement also comes a greater degree of commitment in terms of both resource and money.

P&G’s long standing initiative, Children’s Safe Drinking Water demonstrates this. Through the initiative, P&G alongside a wide network of NGOs has distributed water purifying technology to over 75 countries in the last decade, funded through the commercial profits of the company with a consumer facing campaign.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel

Initiatives involving changes to business practices and production may be less transparent to consumers since they often operate behind closed doors and can be harder to communicate.

Lego has been working hard on its CSR agenda since 2014 when it chose to end its long standing corporate partnership with oil giant Shell.

Since then, the business has aimed to reduce the impact that its operations have on the environment, and has developed a new partnership with the World Wildlife fund, invested in off shore wind farms, worked to develop recycled packaging and invested $150m to researching alternative materials to replace plastics.

Yet whilst admirable, much of Lego’s efforts perhaps go unseen outside of its workforce and wider environmentalist circles.

 

Establish an emotional connection

Gaining that recognition is not simply a case of marketing, as with any form of advertising, the key to ensuring a positive commercial outcome is to ensure an emotional connection between the public and the chosen CSR programme.

Ensuring both a good cause and an emotionally compelling communications strategy to support CSR activity is therefore of significant importance if a company’s endeavours are to have a positive effect on business.

 

Communicate cleverly

In contrast to Lego, specialist outdoor apparel company Patagonia are more overt in their commitment towards low environmental impact production and living. The mission statement for the business is to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” An ethos which is embodied in its consumer facing “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign that encourages people to think about what they need and consume before making a purchase. Cleverly the campaign aligns the business with sustainable consumerism through claims that its products are of a superior quality and so more environmentally economical.

But Patagonia doesn’t stop there. Beneath the surface the company goes further with its environmental agenda, declaring itself an Activist company and backing a range of campaigns and initiatives more akin to a non-profit such as Greenpeace than a conventional commercial business.

In doing so the company has managed to combine a commercial imperative, alongside a strong ethical agenda in a way that is both emotionally engaging and intelligently thought provoking.

So, whilst there is an inevitability around CSR activity and the need for benefits to society and business alike, choosing the right cause, the means with which to support it and an effective way to communicate a programme can be a complicated challenge.

Ensuring that your company:

  • Knows what success looks like
  • Chooses a cause wisely
  • Understands the issue in detail
  • Decides on the most appropriate way to contribute

And importantly communicates a CSR programme cleverly in order to connect emotionally with the public are the keys to creating real shared value through CSR.

 

If you would like to know more about CSR, please contact Ian Addie.

Email Ian +

Get in touch

Fancy a chat? Whether you’re looking for a fully integrated agency or a specific specialism, we’d love to hear from you.

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Celebrating Lunar New Year & Year of the Dog

Growing up, Lunar New Year was a huge deal for my family. We would prepare weeks in advance, decorating the house in red and gold and making daily trips to the Vietnamese market to be sure we had all our essentials for the day of. Contrary to popular belief, Lunar New Year is not just a Chinese holiday and is widely celebrated in several Asian countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Korea and Singapore.

This is a time when family and friends come together and celebrate a year filled with fortune and prosperity. Lunar New Year is all about maximizing your luck! Because of that, I wanted to share some luck-boosting traditions with the Boston office. Some of which include:

  • Wear Red and Gold.
    Red and gold are lucky colors, often worn during the New Year and special ceremonies, including weddings and births.
  • Spring-ish Cleaning.
    Cleaning represents a wish to bid farewell to the old year, and welcome in a new year of good fortune. Sweeping and dusting is avoided on New Year’s Day, for fear that good fortune will be swept away.
  • Pay off Your Debts.
    Start the year off with no (avoidable) debt to leave room for all that good fortune coming your way.
  • Respect Your Ancestors.
    Leave out food and fruit for your ancestors so they can bless you with all their spiritual juju.
  • EAT THAT GOOD GOOD FOOD.
    Eat noodles for happiness and longevity, dumplings/spring rolls for wealth and oranges/tangerines for health and fullness. Most importantly, eating together will bring you good company for the next year so be sure to spend time with the people you care about most!

On February 16, we celebrated the new year with catered Asian food, an origami/game station, and of course wishing one another a luck-filled year. Happy New Year!!





The post Celebrating Lunar New Year & Year of the Dog appeared first on Jack Morton.

Sprint, Delta, and Airbus are teaming up to deliver in-flight 5G

The U.S. airline and European plane maker have teamed up with Sprint’s satellite startup OneWeb to deliver 5G internet as you streak across the friendly skies, reports Reuters. The consortium will be known as the “Seamless Air Alliance,” and will enable mobile providers to deliver their 5G services to customers via satellites. There’s no word …

The U.S. airline and European plane maker have teamed up with Sprint’s satellite startup OneWeb to deliver 5G internet as you streak across the friendly skies, reports Reuters. The consortium will be known as the “Seamless Air Alliance,” and will enable mobile providers to deliver their 5G services to customers via satellites. There’s no word yet on when the in-flight 5G will roll out to customers, but Sprint has said it will launch its land-based 5G network later this year.

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Turning Heads in the Virtual World: Performance Content in Virtual Reality

Post by Nicholas Wilkinson, Performance Content Specialist

The iconic scene in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report gave us a glimpse into the future of virtual reality (VR) with a bombardment of ads appearing out of thin air, calling your name and asking about those jeans you bought. As VR has the potential to integrate into our lives like smartphones have, marketers must evolve their approach to effectively connect with users on this emerging digital frontier.

CURRENT INDUSTRY TRENDS

Marketers are beginning to develop immersive branded experiences as VR industry leaders (i.e. HTC, Google, PlayStation, Samsung and Facebook) rapidly enhance the accessibility and usability of this technology. Google’s Daydream offers companies the opportunity to create an app within its platform that already hosts a range of games, entertainment and experiences of famous global landmarks. Facebook, owner of Oculus Rift, is seeking to connect with brands that are interested in specialized virtual content and product placement.

IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE CONTENT

The incredibly immersive experience of virtual reality offers significant opportunity in regards to performance content. VR will take engaging content created for users to the next level to create unforgettable brand experiences that will be constantly improved by complex tracking tools.

Forrester has cautioned marketers to, “steer clear of using VR as an ad pushing channel, but rather, focus on a more immersive, social and shareable experience”. To spark your imagination, we have collected our favorite examples of brands taking virtual users for a ride:

  1. Vroom has developed a ground-breaking VR car dealership that has propelled them to hit $1 billion in car sales this year
  2. com.au has developed an app on Google Daydream to save you from those tiring house-hunting weekends with VR home inspections
  3. Qantas has been exceptional in optimizing the VR process through:
  • Informing customers with a virtual experience of their premium flights
  • Entertaining customers with a simulated climb of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Plus driving conversions through the option to ‘Book Now’ to make it all come to life.

ESSENTIAL STEPS TOWARDS VR

Gaining an advantage in the emerging field of VR before it becomes a key element of your competitors’ strategy requires careful planning and strategy.

You must think beyond the publicity stunts to build a sustainable performance content strategy in VR.

Recommendations

  • Provide your marketing team with exposure to a VR experience to ignite strategic ideas to enhance your content
  • Review existing content and most valuable micro-moments to identify opportunities where tools such as 360-video and VR could enhance it even further
  • Optimize mobile content with the option to experience the content in VR
  • Identify popular virtual reality games and reach out for sponsorship opportunities to place your brand in the centre of this emerging space
  • Take inspiration from innovation leaders in your industry that have already adopted VR and create an app on Google’s DayDream that captures a specific product, tour or story-based entertainment to attract consumers’ attention
  • Keep in mind the primary purpose you are trying to communicate through your content and ensure that the use of this technology enhances and reinforces this purpose.

Even if consumers are unable to take part in the VR experience, Greenlight has found 71% of consumers think a brand is forward thinking if it uses VR and 53% said they would be more likely to buy from a brand using VR vs. one who did not.

THE VIRTUAL ROAD AHEAD

The impact of VR on the marketing industry will continue as brands strive to deepen connections with consumers. We will see more 360 video and increased capabilities in tracking consumer’s attention and emotional response to marketing through eye tracking and voice search. This will provide high quality tangible feedback on marketing effectiveness and future advancements. Companies that do not have the resources for a full-scale immersive experience are able to use VR through product placement, pre-roll and post-roll ads within popular VR content. Additionally, VR in gaming will continue to expand through branding, partnership and collaboration. Red Bull has led the way with a VR simulation of their famous Red Bull Air Race.

In terms of analytics and tracking, Vertebrae, a leading VR marketing solutions provider, helps brands focus on data around exposure, engagement time and interaction. This kind of advanced tracking can provide measurable outcomes to quantify and improve VR marketing effectiveness.

If not already, it is imperative that brands leverage VR to engage with their customers on deeper levels. Marketing is going to be central to the development of the VR environment, as it will provide the opportunity for developers to offer free VR content with support from advertising revenues. As both fields continue to develop together, VR will take center stage in the purchase funnel. To find out how your brand can stay ahead within the VR market place, contact Performics today.

The post Turning Heads in the Virtual World: Performance Content in Virtual Reality appeared first on Performics.

Happening Now: The FREE Digital Transformation Conference

Disclosure – “I am NOT affiliated with this event.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo This is interesting – the Digital Transformation Conference. A free online conference – happening right now and for the rest of the day. There are some good speakers talking about SEO, analytics, web apps, log file analysis and more. It’s kicking off NOW […]

Read the full article here Happening Now: The FREE Digital Transformation Conference


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UKTV Brings Terror and Excitement to The Streets for New Show Celebrity Haunted Mansion

The content-driven digital Out of Home campaign showcases latest highlights and scariest moments with footage direct from the live five-day special airing on W.

Today, UKTV has kicked-off a dynamic digital Out of Home (DOOH) campaign that brings to life the jeopardy, excitement and paranormal intrigue, of its hotly anticipated new reality show, Celebrity Haunted Mansion. The nationwide campaign will run on 950 screens across rail, roadside and retail environments from 21 st February through to 25th February.

The campaign features the scariest and funniest moments from the Mansion that day. As the show progresses, dynamic creative will reveal who the public has voted to eliminate, and is left in the running, to battle it out for the celebrity ghost hunter crown. Alongside video footage is the call to action to tune in live at 9pm and the show’s all-important Twitter link #Celebhaunted which generated a huge buzz during the show’s predecessors Celebrity Haunted Hotel and Celebrity Hotel Live!

The digital OOH campaign was conceived by UK TV Creative, produced by Grand Visual, with media planning and buying by Rocket and Talon. The dynamic campaign is managed and distributed by QDOT via the OpenLoop platform and runs across multiple digital OOH media networks. The activity supports linear and static OOH and is part of a broader multichannel drive announcing the show’s arrival on W for five nights from Wednesday 21st February at 9pm.

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer, Grand Visual commented:

“This content lead strategy makes the most of Digital OOH’s scale and flexibility and shows what the medium is capable of. What better way to engage Out of Home audiences, than with regular timely teaser footage delivered direct from the show each day.”

The post UKTV Brings Terror and Excitement to The Streets for New Show Celebrity Haunted Mansion appeared first on Grand Visual.

Weber Shandwick Opens Office in Kenya to Serve Growing Local and International Client Interest Across Africa

Weber Shandwick today announced the opening of a fully owned office in Nairobi, Kenya, to meet growing demand from domestic and multinational companies for marketing and communications expertise in the region.

This new presence builds on the firm’s existing commitment to African markets through its headquarters in Johannesburg, and its affiliates and partners on the continent. The office will act as hub for East Africa and allow the firm to execute pan-Africa client programmes that reach across the region.

Allan Kamau has been appointed managing director, Weber Shandwick East Africa, to lead the new office. Previously Kamau was head of Portland Communication’s Nairobi office. Prior to that, he had worked internationally for companies including The Financial Times and Africa Practice. Weber Shandwick will support public and private sector organisations looking to establish a footprint or expand their presence on the continent and act as an advisor on complex cross border market and international development issues.

Full story here.

The post Weber Shandwick Opens Office in Kenya to Serve Growing Local and International Client Interest Across Africa appeared first on Weber Shandwick UK.