Cause marketing and community efforts generally take precedent after, or in response to a crisis. Companies have generally decided upon a CSR component to strategy when a PR disaster has occurred, or in response to crisis of reputation. It is ideal to put out nice stories about your companies’ efforts, to soften the blow and limit the damage.
When it comes to a truly impactful CSR initiative, it should come from a place beyond strategy, and away from commercial goals.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS
Organisations are desperate to prove ROI on every company activity. Whether B2B or B2C, companies will always be selling to humans (at least for now). That may be a cliché, but a cliché with a very important lesson.
Currently, there are two routes most companies are following.
- Help the community with aid for the NHS, supporting employees and doing everything they can to help their stakeholders through this.
- Not doing the above, wilfully or not.
The main theme between the two is the relationships with stakeholders. Companies following the first pathway are communicating to the best of their ability with stakeholders and are being proactive with their helpful actions. If commercial goals are at the heart of these activities, there will be a great deal of unhappy Financial Directors.
Those following the second route fall into some broad categories. Firstly, the company is not in the situation to help. Understandable. Uncharted territory to say the least. Category 2, those who are trying, but are either uncertain and therefore inactive, or are struggling to communicate their efforts. Finally, there are those who haven’t wanted to help, or those who have communicated there position terribly.
Relationships are at the heart of every CSR activity. One of the critical components is communication, which some people forget. Past actions or political positions reflect on what you are saying now, very few companies operate in a vacuum. The way you treat stakeholders now will reflect how you are judged moving forward.
TIPS TO SPARE YOUR COMPANY A PR NIGHTMARE
In that respect, here are three considerations you should make before trying to do any good in the community as a business entity.
- Come from a place of mutual benefit, not commercial gain.
- Communicate your efforts with thought.
- Jumping on the bandwagon thoughtlessly can be more damaging than inaction.
You should aim to avoid greenwashing. Communicate your efforts to forward the groups you represent and give your local community a boost.