If a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?
It’s an age-old question, with an answer that has long been unknown (kind of like the chicken and the egg – and really, what did come first?), but one thing we know for certain – differing opinions make for great conversation, and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to CSR.
At Blender, we’re believers that your website should act as your best employee; your spokesperson, your sales person, and above all, a reflection of who you are as a business. For businesses actively engaged in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) your website is the single best channel to extend the communication of your efforts.
So, if you’re actively engaged in CSR, but you’re not communicating your involvement, is it really happening?
It’s important to highlight CSR on your website. Here’s why.
It breaks you apart from your competition.
Every business should be performing some sort of regular competitor analysis, especially companies working in Investor Relations, and CSR is a great way to break apart from your competition.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are great examples of using CSR to differentiate themselves from competition. While both perform CSR in a similar way (these companies aim for sustainability in water usage), they’re taking hold of CSR communication on investor websites, knowing the impact it has on not only consumers, but investors alike.
It increases sentiment of your business online.
Much like competitor reporting, most companies are also focused on sentiment about their business online. Positive sentiment can lead to an upward trend in revenue, while negative sentiment can lead to a downward trend in revenue (as these Korean tech firms experienced, for example).
Ask any Communications Manager and they’ll agree that positive brand stories should be in their arsenal to mitigate potential neutral or negative quarters. These positive stories are also excellent to release throughout the calendar year as your business goes through natural ebbs and flows.
Using CSR to increase the sentiment of your business online can not only impact the success of your business offline, but it can also impact the online sentiment of your brand with investors and consumers.
It attracts talent (making your HR Department your BFF).
Picture this. You and your competitor have a job opening for the exact same position. You’ve posted within the same week, and you’re going after the same group of candidates. It’s down to a few potential candidates, and you have your eye on one target that you feel would fit so well within your company culture.
Now, picture yourself on the other end of the table. This candidate is deciding between yourself and your competitor, and they’re ranking the pros and cons of both companies – until they realize that you have a strong CSR program, and actively give back within the community. Your company encourages employees to volunteer, and has a number of partner non-profit organizations that you donate to each and every year.
Which company do you think this candidate would choose? The company that understands the importance of contributing to the community, or the company that doesn’t?
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure type of story, with your business coming out on top.
It contributes to cost-savings (encouraging consumers to think the same) and acts as a natural PR story
One of the easiest places for a company to start engaging in CSR is to use it as a way to save on costs and overall expenditures. Whether it’s using less energy or using less packaging, these savings add up quickly.
A great example is General Mills. They’re on a path to reduce cost and energy savings, as they’ve installed energy monitoring meters on several pieces of equipment at its HQ. In doing so, the company saved $600,000.
General Mills went far and wide with PR for this strategy, focusing first on their website. It was included in all CSR material, and was quickly picked-up by publications around North America.
So, not only did this move increase sentiment of their business, it also contributed to cost-savings. It was a natural story for their PR team as well, circling back to an arsenal of content, if and when you need to mitigate neutral or negative sentiment online.
If you’re actively engaging in CSR and not highlighting your endeavours on your website, take note – the pros far outweigh the cons (really, are there cons?)
From differentiating your business from competition to engaging potential talent, the importance of highlighting CSR on your website is real. And, truly, it’s so easy.
To get started, just click here. We’d love to show you how we’ve helped businesses in your industry.