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Go bigger than a food drive or go home: Step up your corporate responsibility game

By Jason Mudd

4 reasons your corporate responsibility profile speaks your love in PR messages

At times, it might seem like corporate responsibility profiles are like good memories: Almost everybody has one, they’re all different and they come up in conversation from time to time accompanied by a grin. However, if you’re not leveraging a strong corporate social responsibility profile as part of your brand’s message, you’re missing out on some serious brownie points with your audience – and some serious revenues. Read on for some tips on how to effectively weave your social responsibility into your PR strategy.

A recent Forbes article pointed to the success of IT services company Capgemini in using its community-based initiatives to tie team members and clients together to make more money. With more than 130,000 individuals sharing talent on its workforce across 40-plus countries, Capgemini is one of the globe’s biggest providers of consulting services, technology and outsourcing services.

If you’re part of Capgemini in the U.K. and you want to help establish new education resources in your community, that vision can be part of the Capgemini corporate responsibility message. If you’re in the U.S. and community development is your thing, you can go for it. Employee groups across locations can choose the initiatives that become part of the corporate responsibility “code.”

It works. The company reports increased revenues, happier people and better connection with its communities through weaving corporate responsibility into its philosophy and message. (Note the increased revenues part; in the Forbes piece it says directly that some revenue upswings are tied to this initiative.)

So how does corporate social responsibility become part of the showcase through your brand’s PR strategies?

1. Figure out what your audience most values. Get on board with that with a “you-and-me” kind of philosophy. Begin by asking. Start an “ask campaign” across events, news and social media. Highlight answers you get via the same platforms through which they were submitted. It’s not just Capgemini that sees this working – Newman’s Own salad dressings doesn’t dance around at all in telling everyone how it supports non-profit causes, fully, with each purchase. It even runs high-dollar campaigns touting this specific message over product attributes like tastiness. It, too, has figured out that aligning with its audience’s values really does work.

2. Talk about how your own people and your leadership are on board with these same values. Share an insider’s view of what your leadership and your team members value through a PR campaign or on video. Show the people who lead the company putting those values into action.

3. Go. Move. Take action toward your corporate responsibility motives – and don’t be afraid to reveal that action very specifically. Don’t assume your audiences can glean from your recent earned news coverage that you’ve helped 5,000 kids in poverty. Lay it out for them with real numbers. Customers are motivated by behavior, not promises.

4. Allow your corporate responsibility profile to be an actual profile. This means sharing on your PR message platforms that you may have more than one target when it comes to your goals in that area. This means audiences will have a broader base through which to connect with you. Now your efforts to be good stewards, good role models or to give back can elevate your company image to a new level: comrade. You’re in a serious relationship with your clients, which can be far more impactful than you might have imagined.

If you think your brand has been around too long for this concept to make a difference for you, think again. Major organizations are reminded all the time that sharing the message about their initiatives is a powerful reputation management tool that helps create a more connected perception among audiences. (TOMS Shoes, anyone?)

Do you need help articulating your corporate responsibility profile or giving it a voice among your PR strategies? Contact Axia Public Relations today. We’re on board.

Mudd_Jason_Color_hi_res_forward_crop– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy-Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway Insurance, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, It Works!, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter at @jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations at @axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.

Topics: public relations

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