Amplify Your Brand with Corporate Moral Courage
Understanding your audience’s ethos has never been more important. From combating climate change to addressing the realities of a global pandemic to the sweeping demand for an end to systemic racism, suffice it to say 2020 has been ripe with crises. Uncomfortable? Yes. Challenging? Also yes. But we believe hardship ignites opportunity. A chance to listen, learn, and do better. A chance to answer the call and take deliberate, meaningful, and measurable action. There’s no room for apathy, silence, or complacency in this new world. So how do you go about curating the narrative to convey the social responsibility story of your business?
Consistently championing your commitment to positive social impact during these extraordinary times has become increasingly imperative to winning (and nurturing) loyalty in the long term – investors, stakeholders, employees, and customers. Below is a framework to effectively tell your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) story while simultaneously meeting this moment’s challenges head-on.
Reflect your values
Ground stakeholders in your values and vision. Begin by revisiting the guiding principles that inform your company’s commitment to the people, planet, and communities you serve. Reflect on why your CSR initiatives and goals are a guiding foundational force in the decisions and actions your company takes.
Hint: Consider including a short, heartfelt video story on your website or at your next virtual event, to reflect the human impact of your company’s mission.
Your company’s social responsibility story is unique, and strategically weaving it through all communications is key. Seize the opportunity to consider programs and actions that can address the greater good as only your company or industry can.
What guides Hasbro’s leadership during Covid-19? In a PDF shared on their investor relations site, three pillars make the story clear and compelling. The concise graphic format makes it easy to reference and understand key aspects of Hasbro’s commitment to people, practices, and community. And while it’s relevant in pandemic times, it’s also consistent with the larger Hasbro story.
Tell people who you are
This moment is more than just a public relations opportunity. Being genuine and vulnerable in your storytelling will take you a lot further as your company consistently provides stories of impact alongside statements of commitment.
Look for places where your corporate responsibility intersects with the lives of real people – then tell that story with all the human emotion you can. A commitment to tuition benefits results in a path to college for thousands of young people. A commitment to coffee farmers results in more sustainable livelihoods for families and communities. A commitment to empowering store managers inspires an anchoring experience for those managers to lead their teams with empathy, awareness, and understanding. Human stories, told powerfully, illustrate your commitment and provide compelling examples of social responsibility in action; this in turn enhances employee engagement and supply chain sustainability, and ultimately contributes to the health of your business. These stories help explain why social impact matters, and put a face on your commitment.
Remember: Actions speak louder than words
Report on your actions, rather than simply making statements. The demand for accountability around bold Black Lives Matter social media statements serves as a valuable proof point of stakeholders’ expectations that companies provide updates on their progress toward the actions they’ve committed to. Don’t just say; do.
With a global spotlight shining on corporate responsibility, we’re at a historic inflection point that presents an opportunity for companies to more fully integrate and champion their CSR strategy, and spotlight their associated actions. Corporate moral courage has an important role to play: the world is watching.
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