Posts Tagged 'corporate reputation'

Smart Marketing & Corporate Social Responsibility: Beyond A Marriage of Convenience

Infographic of corporate reputation and social responsibility by Boston College professor

We’ve said before that we’re big proponents of “smart marketing”:  Companies that show they “get it” by marrying their business mission and vision to also serve some public good. By another name, it’s also called corporate social responsibility.

That approach to business, articulated with authority by Henry Ford in the early 20th Century—has been a proven model for “good,” as well as for effective business practices. Today it’s carried forward by many visionary companies.

We like to call it “makes-sense marketing” because, in effect, these companies are paying it forward and stockpiling public goodwill, as well as managing their “bottom line.” Periodically, we like writing about those companies and their campaigns on these pages.

So it brings us great pleasure to share this round-up of “smart marketing” companies, first published by Hubspot, who have made their “giving back” programs an integral part of the company culture. These companies include American Express, Lowe’s, General Electric, and others you may not be aware of.

And, more recently, another natural disaster, the incredible Typhoon Haiyan, motivated another corporate giant—Google–to get creative and show how it could help. Melissa Agnes writes about how Google is combining its business mission and tools with public service to provide critical help to those suffering during an enormous crisis.

Please take a few moments to check out these stories, take a few notes, and perhaps a few lessons from what they’ve done. And, by all means, tell us what you think. We’d like to see smart marketing—makes-sense marketing—become a real movement!

*A final note: As if made to order, shortly after publishing, we ran across this Forbes article on “Purpose” that we think summarizes the ethos quite nicely. The only thing we would add to the writer’s bullet list is be certain to “act” on your purpose!

Starbucks’ Cause Marketing & CSR: Two Views

Starbucks logoGenerally speaking, we like Starbucks corporate style, and we’ve given them a few shoutouts in previous posts for providing a good example in cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR). But, like many companies, they haven’t always met our expectations in every area. So, to balance the perspective, we’re reblogging a post that offers potentially another view of Starbucks. This doesn’t mean we’ve changed our view of Starbucks; we still think the company’s miles ahead of most companies in social listening, social marketing, and CSR. But, fair is fair, and we  provide this post to keep you informed to make up your own mind. Let us know what you think.

“It is with interest that I saw with the US Government shut down continuing in Washington D.C. that Starbucks have started a campaign to facilitate change in our Nation’s capital. They are offering a free coffee to anyone who buys their fellowman their favourite drink in one of their stores.

My initial thought was this was good and I was pleased they cared enough about this issue to start this promotion. I considered that this shows their social responsibility by getting involved and trying to help… or are they?”

Read more Starbucks: Real Concern or Just Good Marketing? http://linkd.in/17DigzD

And, in case you haven’t encountered it yet, here’s an AdWeek write-up of Starbucks’ latest campaign.

More On Companies Daring To Do Good

Panera Restaurants

Over the span of our posts, we’ve complimented a wide array of companies that seem to be particularly attuned to marrying their business operations with what we call “smart marketing” and corporate social responsibility. Panera has been cited as one such company, on more than one occasion. Today, in his own words, Panera’s founder, Ron Shaich, talks about the principles that guide the company’s business and good deeds … Daring to Do Good

And on more than one occasion, we’ve written about the benefits of C-suite blogging as a way of “keeping it real” and staying in touch with customers and other important audiences. We’re happy to give a platform to others who share that view. Here’s a testimony from Twitter social leader & blogger, Claire Diaz-Ortiz …

“Starting a blog was one of the smartest things I ever did …”

May 07, 2013

Inspired reading, on both counts, we hope! Let us know what you think.

Six Ways Your C-suite Can Use A Blog

There are becoming fewer reasons why at least one member of a company’s C-suite doesn’t have a blog. Consumers are voting with their fingers that they like to engage with companies online.  Recent studies also show that consumers correlate a company’s accessibility via social media and blogs as an important factor in building trust. And as we all know, trust is the coin of the realm in terms of PR, brand and values marketing, and corporate social responsibility. So why not blog?

While we, at MediaWorks, are fairly new to blogging, we’re not new to PR, so this question of C-suite blogging caught our attention. Using our own experience with C-suite blogging as a baseline, we did some informal research on which CEOs, etc., are blogging and what they’re talking about. From there, we compiled our own checklist of six ways your C-suite can use corporate blogs:

Six Ways Your C-suite Can Use A Blog

1) To Explain Complex Processes Or Operations. CEO blogs from Caterpillar to Zappos have used blogs to simplify uses and intricate processes related to a brand. (Caterpillar has this down to a science; they even have leadership blogs by category, e.g., construction, marine, etc.) These kinds of blogs can help bring understanding and create affinity for the astonishing array of steps, choices and decisions that may be involved in bringing a favorite brand to shelf – from manufacturing processes and supply chain issues to sales and distribution matters.

2) To Give An Insider’s Look. What’s the organization’s point of view on an issue, industry trend or outlook. Marriott uses its CEO’s blog to frequently look at issues from the inside-out. Often, context and perspective can make a big difference in bringing about understanding, good will, or at least benefit of the doubt.

3) To Discuss Or Explain Trends, Policies, Protocols And Company Positions on Issues. People often wonder why companies do what they do. A blog post of this kind can help customers, supporters, suppliers, and employees explain a company’s history, priorities, motivations, and other values-related decision making. The opportunity to read these important dispatches directly from the top, and perhaps comment or query on them, can go along way in positioning a company as open and transparent. If you haven’t already, check out Whole Foods blog.

4) To Show Personality. Blog posts can humanize the company with a distinct face, voice and persona. These posts can create an image or perception of the company leadership as more more “casual” and less “formal”; more accessible, and less distant. It’s the opportunity to present a distinct tone, humor, aura that people can connect with and that has appeal. When possible, this can only be helpful in the range of relationships a company has to manage. Craiglist CEO Chris Newmark has undoubtedly mastered this approach.

5) To Preview Changes. From specific changes in products and brands, to industrywide or social changes that impact the company. Explain, get feedback, tamp down anxiety that usually accompanies such changes, and more than likely help offset rumors and unofficial speculations. Changes in name, logo or nomenclature, structural changes within the organization, seem a natural for these blog posts, as well as mergers and acquisitions, at the appropriate juncture. To this end, Edelman, offers a whole cadre of senior exec blogs on a variety of topics. John Deere, also with multiple blogs by category, frequently uses blogs in this fashion.)

6) To Showcase What Works. In this instance, the blog becomes another platform to spotlight, explain, or amplify recent successes—successful launches, announcements or updates on CSR initiatives, important acknowledgments or recognitions. Starbucks blog provides a good example of this.

So, if you’re still uncertain and straddling the fence on whether your company needs a C-suite blog, however you decide, at least you’ve been given some viable options to consider.

Worth noting: We found this story on a related topic: “Should Your CEO Actively Use Social Media? Here’s How …” Check it out: http://bit.ly/1au1Gtn

Corporate Social Responsibility: Starbucks Redux and Other Updates

Did you notice? Have you tasted it yet?  While others are writing about Starbucks serving beer and wine, we note that CEO Howard Schultz has upped the ante on his Creating Jobs for America corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign by increasing the campaign’s visibility in stores, and even temporarily branding the effort with its own custom brew, Indivisible.

We wrote about this CSR campaign after it was  launched in November, 2011.  We can only repeat our endorsement of a program, and a movement, whose time has come.

Since we first wrote about Create Jobs for America, Starbucks and its customers and partners have raised $11.5 million to help create jobs in the US.

What’s even better is that the $11.5 million investment has been leveraged to generate more than $80 million in loans to help create and maintain jobs in underserved American communities.

It should be duly noted that Starbucks and its foundation hasn’t accomplished this alone. Along with customers, other partners include Citi Community Development and Citi Foundation, which recently contributed $1 million to the effort, and the Opportunity Finance Network.

In our earlier post we acknowledged Schultz’s chutzpah in launching this CSR effort by titling our post,“Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is …” Since then, it’s clear this has become an even more collective effort, sparked with a new burst of  purpose and audacity.

We encourage all to continue press forward in this important social responsibility initiative. For more info, visit:
http://www.createjobsforusa.org/on/demandware.store/Sites-Createjobsusa-Site/default/Default-Start?gclid=COyA6ZGT8bACFYEKKgodsWwQWw

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility …

We’ve also blogged and tweeted  about Panera Bread and its growing social responsibility experiment, the Pay-What-You-Can-Cafes. We’re very pleased at the announcement that they’re converting one of their restaurants in our own backyard (Chicago) to the pay-what you can model.

We’ve said it warms our hearts when companies show that “they get it” by identifying signature corporate-giving-back efforts that not only advance their business model, but also address major social issues—in this case, poverty,  hunger, and even job training. For more details, check out Panera’s website, http://paneracares.org/what-we-do/.

A final note, while this campaign is new to us, Chevron recently garnered headlines for its “grow manufacturing jobs initiatives.” The “We Agree” campaign outlines the company’s social responsibility efforts on a variety of fronts, most particularly its $8 billion in energy production projects and jobs. Here, again, a highlight of the campaign is creating strategic partnerships to build collective action, and leverage resources for even greater impact.

Check it out for yourself. Here’s where you can find more information on “We Agree”: http://www.chevron.com/weagree/

What do you think of these CSR campaigns? Heard about others? We want to hear from you. Write us with your feedback here, or send us a Facebook update or tweet, via this post.


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