Effective CSR communication: Which tactic when?

Figure12ABCChoosing the most effective tactic to achieve your communication objective can be a challenge. How can you determine what strategy or tactic to employ?

Corporate citizenship is an enterprise-wide undertaking—not simply the responsibility of one person or a single department, so effective corporate citizenship practitioners must be master collaborators. For many, one of the most important internal relationships is the one they share with the communications and marketing department.

Communicating your efforts effectively is a critical tactic in helping stakeholders understand the long-term value in these environmental, social and governance investments—value that is illustrated in Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship's 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship Study, which finds that the majority of executive respondents report that corporate citizenship delivers value to shareholders over the short, medium, and long terms.Tweet: Communicating your efforts is a critical tactic in helping stakeholders understand the long-term value in #ESG investments bit.ly/1Nvdz1p

Data is essential in reporting corporate citizenship efforts, setting goals, and keeping your team focused, and can be used to reinforce of corporate citizenship’s role in creating business and social value. However, in today’s information-rich world, just publishing the data is not enough. The challenge is deriving insight from those data. When done most effectively, you’ll spur engagement, response, and action.

Let’s say you have the data (this is step #1). The numbers are positive and you’re ready to communicate them to re-enforce the value of corporate citizenship in your organization.

  1. Think about your goal
    • What is the action you want people to take?
    • Create a vivid image of what it looks like if you do get them to take action.
    • Share that image.
  1. Craft the message
    • Ensure your corporate citizenship messages are aligned with your company’s overall communication strategy.
    • Remember, complexity always loses. Keep it simple. Trim your message to the core. Don’t do this.

  2. Have your audience in mind
    • Think about the vehicle you use to communicate the message. Like most of us, your organization is multi-generational. How does your audience like to learn and digest information—verbal storytelling, visual storytelling?   Taking the time to imagine the communication method that would most speak to your audience is vital to ensuring the effective delivery of your message.

  3. Deliver your message again and again.
    • Effective communication isn’t a one and done job. The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer finds that 63 percent of the general population sampled needs messages to be repeated between three and five times to be believed.
    • A multi-channel approach is key. Don’t ignore digital and understand the increasing influence of search. When it comes to business information, consumers are increasingly referring to search engines.
    • Do you have a digital communication strategy in place to support your message delivery? Don’t forget to get social.

  4. Show progress
    • Are you reaching your goals—or better yet, surpassing them? How do you communicate this over time to your audience? The key here is to keep them engaged and interested. Consider the long term when creating your message – and how does that change over time?

Ask yourself: Are you leaving your audience wanting more—more information, more opportunities to engage? Are you inspiring your entire audience to know more, do more, and achieve more in corporate citizenship? If yes, congratulations! You’re on the right path.

Want to dive more into this topic and also explore digital communication? I invite you to join the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship in Anaheim, CA, January 27, 2016 and learn:

  • The landscape of social media in the corporate citizenship and sustainability sphere.
  • Best practices from successful digital communicators.
  • How to choose the digital channels most appropriate for your message and audience.
  • Where to align messages with other areas of the business.
  • How to utilize the channels available to increase employee engagement and encourage broader participation.

Learn more  





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