Approach CSR Like A PR Pro

Regardless of your company size, corporate social responsibility matters. By contributing to the greater good, you can not only make a difference, but also boost employee morale, stand out from the competition and engage your customers. Companies that practice CSR enjoy benefits internally and externally. Whether you want to help the environment, support local education or take a stand against poverty, it's important to incorporate social responsibility into your overall business strategy.

When businesses consider how they express social responsibility, Toby Cox, a writer and developer at Clutch, encourages them to think about the best practices of PR firms. Although public relations and authenticity sometimes seem like opposing forces, she says it doesn't have to be this way. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Cox's ideas for how businesses can speak up on social issues like a top PR firm.

Define your brand. Companies that know who they are can better define their brand purpose, which helps them navigate challenges in deciding whether to speak up on social movements. When you clearly know your purpose, you can confidently decide what to say or not say.

Identify the issues that align with your brand purpose. Not every social issue aligns with your brand and you can't predict what social crises will arise in the future. However, you can identify the issues that are relevant to your brand ahead of time, so you're not caught off guard when situations come up. Cox says companies that have well-defined brands are in a good position to know which issues are relevant to them and their audience and which are not. By determining ahead of time which issues are relevant, you can also outline a strategy and draft potential responses. Cox says that if an event or issue isn't directly related to your brand purpose or you don't have a history of commenting on similar issues, you can usually remain silent.

Make decisions strategically. Cox notes that being strategic about corporate social responsibility doesn't mean you must sacrifice authenticity. In fact, making strategic decisions proves beneficial for everyone involved. Strategic corporate social responsibility can elevate your brand by showing customers you care about how your business impacts the community. This gives consumers the option to support you or a company that better aligns with their values.

Keep public relations in mind. Public relations and corporate social responsibility are connected. Cox advises businesses to always approach corporate social responsibility with PR in mind. Consider how you want your customers to perceive your brand.

Whether you explore local, national or global social issues, when you take a stand on what matters, your customers notice. The benefits of incorporating corporate social responsibility stretch far and wide. Undertaking socially responsible initiatives, from volunteering to reducing your carbon footprint, is a win-win situation. Help your company make the biggest difference by following the tips above.

Source: Toby Cox is a content writer and developer at Clutch, where she reports on public relations firms and industry news.

filed under April 2019
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