Posts Tagged 'CSR'

Social Brands & The Future of Marketing

“The best brands don’t just predict the future; they define it on their own terms.”

We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Social Brands in the We Are Social team, and we’ve been sharing those thoughts through our Social Brands series.

The SlideShare deck above brings all the individual presentations in the series together in one handy place.

The thinking extends well beyond these slides though, and you can find the full story behind each section in the following posts on the We Are Social blog:

Social Brands 1: Social Equity Drives Brand Equity

Social Brands 2: Communities Have More Value Than Platforms

Social Brands 3: From Ads To Added Value

Social Brands 4: Go Mobile Or Stand Still

Social Brands 5: From Big Ideas To Evolving Leitmotifs

Social Brands 6: From Selective Hearing To Active Listening

Social Brands 7: Experiences Are The New Products

Social Brands 8: CSR Evolves To Become Civic Marketing

You can also download the complete presentation deck by clicking here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to share them in the comments below, or on Twitter via @eskimon.

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word up

Nicole, a colleague at BBH Singapore, shared this fantastic piece of activity yesterday:

[image © Gunther Gamper, used with thanks]

It’s an initiative for the Fondation pour l’alphabétisation – an NGO that aims to promote higher levels of literacy amongst the French-speaking population in Canada.

The fundamental premise is very simple: by ‘buying’ words – either from vending machines like the one in the picture above, or from the “words depot” website – people can make donations to the Foundation that will fund literacy programs for the 800,000 Québécois who are hindered by low levels of literacy.

[screen grab of the motsdepot website]

I particularly admire the facility to buy the words in your Facebook status update for 10¢ each, which the site then posts to your Facebook page with a link back to the initiative:

Developed by Montréal-based agency Bleublancrouge, it’s a beautifully simple, yet incredibly powerful way to make giving to charity more personal and resonant.

As the Foundation’s overview says,

“Imaginez tout le plaisir qu’il peut y avoir à posséder un mot qui nous plaît ou auquel nous nous identifions. Car tout est pos­sible lorsque nous achetons un mot. Avec un peu d’imagination, ce n’est plus « royaume » que nous achetons, mais un royaume. Ce n’est pas « amour » que nous offrons, mais de l’amour. Alors, redonnons aux gens leur attachement aux mots, redonnons-leur le plaisir de jouer avec ceux-ci.”

Loosely translated, this means:

“Imagine the great joy of owning a word you like, or with which you identify. Everything is possible when you buy a word. With a bit of imagination, you’re not just buying “kingdom”, but a kingdom. It’s not just “love” you’re buying, but love you’re giving. So let’s help people rebuild a relationship with words; let’s help them enjoy the pleasure of playing with them again.”

By taking the benefit beyond simply relieving people’s conscience, this activity makes donating fun.

CSR at its best.

planning for the future (3): add CSR to everything you do

add csr to everything

Monday’s introduction to planning for the future highlighted an exciting shift in advertising’s role:

“Rather than simply interrupting [people’s] escapism, we now have greater scope to make [their] lives better.”

Today’s suggestion – to incorporate an element of CSR into everything you do – continues this logic:

If brands are to become a meaningful part of people’s lives, they need to enrich those people’s lives too.

Rationale

Give, and you shall receive

This applies equally well to brands as it does to people; indeed, many of the world’s great brands were born on the principle of cooperation.

Lever Brothers built the foundations of today’s Unilever on the principle of ‘doing well by doing good’.

Similarly, Cadbury created an entire social eco-system for its workforce around the company’s factory in Bournville – an approach rooted in the Quaker ideal of mutual benefit.

For some reason, this ‘considerate’ approach to business went out of fashion for many years, reaching a low point in the corporate greed of the 1980s.

However, a renewed focus on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility‘ (CSR) became popular in the 90s, and brands today cannot justify a lack of broader conscientiousness.

But CSR isn’t just a ploy to enrich the company’s annual report.

Indeed, simply throwing money at a charity can often seem more like an acknowledgment of guilt than genuine concern.

For CSR to be effective, brands must demonstrate a real commitment to driving change and helping people.

This is most effective when the area of CSR focus relates to the brand’s core purpose and expertise, and integrates with the brand’s overall marketing.

For example, while I’d applaud a petroleum brand that donated 10% of its profits to feeding the poor, I’d admire and celebrate that brand much more if they invested the same amount of money in developing ecologically balanced sources of energy that ensured a brighter future for everyone, not just their shareholders.

However, it’s often difficult to justify that kind of longer-term CSR to shareholders, who invariably demand results today (and not 30 years down the line).

The good news is that CSR is a powerful and effective way to build a successful brand – a financial benefit that even myopic shareholders can relate to.

This is because CSR has the ability to create much deeper connection and engagement than broadcast advertising ever could; by helping communities and society at large, brands can demonstrate that they’re on the side of the people, and that helps to establish a more powerful bond.

So how can brands make best use of CSR opportunities?

Let’s return to the Run London example from yesterday’s post.

Nike incorporates a significant ‘community’ element in each iteration of this event (and indeed in much of its broader marketing).

For starters, all participants are encouraged to raise money for charity through sponsorship.

Other initiatives, such as Nike’s ReUse-A-Shoe Program, take the concept of CSR even further:

Benefit

Feeling good about a brand makes it much easier for people to justify choosing it over alternatives.

Furthermore, genuine CSR inspires people to talk about the brand, driving word of mouth and amplifying ROI.

Action

Identify as many relevant opportunities as you can for your brand to give something back to its communities, and assign a meaningful portion of your brand’s resource – money and effort – to delivering these contributions.

Previous posts in the ‘planning for the futureseries

Introduction: a new planning manifesto

Use communications to deliver value: moving from advertising to adding value

It’s all about the benefits: a simple example of how to deliver a brand’s core benefit with a TV ad

healthy ideas

breast cancer awareness campaign

[image from comunicadores.info]

this ingenious piece of creative media is part of the academy of medicine of malaysia’s drive to promote breast cancer awareness.

the double cd inlay dramatically illustrates the consequences of failing to catch the signs of the disease in time.

the empty holder simply has the message “detect breast cancer before it strikes.”

the holder with the breast-like cd guide carries the message, “to find out how, insert and play.”

from comunicadores.info | spotted at notcot

we (re)built this city on rock and roll

[screenshot from orangerockcorps.co.uk]

orange rockcorps challenges people to give 4 hours of their time to improving their community.

in return, orange gives them tickets to an exclusive concert.

another useful application of csr to express a brand’s personality, and a sure way to drive word of mouth in the media.

find out more here | from notcot

powerful stuff

motorola solar-powered charging booths

[image from trendwatching]

There’s a lot of inspiring stuff on trendwatching. This month’s briefing profiles solar-powered cellphone charging kiosks from motorola in uganda.

As well as meeting a real market need – cellphones aren’t much use without power – these kiosks perform a variety of marketing functions.

On a simple level, they’re great for driving brand awareness. Even better, they take sales opportunities to potential buyers.

But Motorola score the big points for their CSR efforts.

Firstly, the kiosks are solar powered. Brilliant.

Secondly, they’re run by local women with an ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ – as motorola put it, they’re

Giving women the opportunity to run their own business, learn valuable entrepreneurial skills, and generate a positive income.

A great balance of give and receive. Activity that not only meets basic marketing needs, but gives people a reason to like the brand beyond its products. and to talk about them too.

Read more at trendwatching.com or their sister site springwise.com