Avoiding fluffy CSR

March 26, 2010

However much the C-Suite wants it to, fluffy CSR doesn’t work in PR. If you send a press release about your organisation’s new initiative to save a whale or help local school kids cross the road, it’ll get binned. .

In the digital age, organisations can communicate directly to their audiences. Unfortunately, plenty of communicators are squandering the opportunity by adopting the same approach that doesn’t work with media. They talk about their fluffy initiative (aforementioned whale, kids etc.) and leave it at that. Media doesn’t cover it for a reason: their readers don’t care. They won’t care now that they can access the content directly online.

When might they care?

When tangible effects and benefits are highlighted. So you’ve trained someone? Given something away for free? That’s not the story. The story is what happens next. Proving that the freebie or the training has had an impact.

When you treat people like grown-ups and admit you have a stake in your own CSR. Initiatives like Pepsi Refresh are criticised because they are mere gestures unrelated to the business itself. We live in cynical times: only action that benefits the community as well as the organisation responsible for it will be deemed truly authentic.

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