A business cannot grow without having more people support its cause, and a business can only get massive support from publicly communicating its philosophies, ideals, mission and vision through CSR communication tools.
The tools to communicate CSR activities include but are not limited to:
- CSR reports
- Social media handles
- Corporate websites
- Blogs and newsletters
- Digital surveys and focus groups
- Digital conferences
- RSS feeds
- Maintenance hotlines.
CSR communication tools are different for every establishment according to its goals and objectives.
With the ample availability of public communication channels, the primary focus of inquiry becomes how successful most companies become at actively interacting with and engaging with their stakeholders? Therefore this article will explore the tools to communicate CSR activities. So read on to learn more.
What is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is when companies take action to improve society by addressing issues such as poverty, hunger, education, health care, environment, human rights, etc.
CSR is also known as corporate citizenship. In simple terms, it means that businesses should be socially responsible and act in ways that benefit society.
It’s about making sure that your company contributes positively to the world around you. This includes things like donating money or time to charities, volunteering, sponsoring events, and so forth.
What Tools Do Establishments Use for Communicating Their CSR Activities?
Nowadays, with its wide coverage, the internet puts an invaluable communication tool in the hands of most businesses for publishing their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Most businesses will weave their CSR achievements with the general communication strategies, publishing details about corporate responsibility across a range of technology-based channels.
Corporate Websites as an Internet-Based Tool for CSR Communication
The internet as a new communication system has gradually phased out older methods like those of print media such as newspapers, magazines, radios and televisions. Through the internet, corporate entities can interact with stakeholders and generate feedback that they can use for their strategic management schemes.
Most establishments can weave their CSR activities into their digital campaigns using their corporate websites as leverage for more outreach. Additionally, organizations can add blogging, digital surveys and focus groups to their corporate websites to enrich the digital experience.
For instance, search engine optimization is an added tool to enhance the communication of most corporate websites, and there is no reason it cannot work for communicating CSR.
Social Media as an Internet-Based Tool for CSR Communication.
Besides corporate websites, social media is a huge public communication channel and engagement. As a result, most corporate entities have as many social media handles as possible such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Therefore, social media exists as a strategic tool for CSR communication.
Additionally, it engages the public in building a sustainable environment by sharing ideas and forming social ideologies.
Some benefits of social media as a communication tool for businesses include but are not limited to:
- Creating rapid engagement for business stakeholders in real-time.
- Creating an avenue for digital conversations
- Forming massive opinion pools for statistical analysis.
Essentially, social media provides a formidable force for CSR communication, especially among gen z.
Also, many customers perceive social media as a reliable source of information. Therefore, companies who can establish active social media handles will also succeed in establishing deeper connections with their customers regarding their company’s ideas and philosophies.
For instance, companies can leverage social media power to champion a corporate social responsibility cause with massive engagement without appearing too invested in securing their public image because people like to identify with something greater than themselves, like nobility.
Here are some critical ways businesses can utilize the power of social media for CSR communication over social media handles.
By Developing Social Listening Skills
Brands must establish a twofold communication pathway between their management, customers, and the public. As a result, corporate entities must lend a listening ear to what their followers have to say concerning their CSR initiatives.
Through Nurtured Creativity
Getting creative with more visual content, especially on corporate websites and social media handles, is key to sparking public engagement. In today’s digital age, attention span continues to dwindle, and very few people are interested in reading long articles or content online. They would rather read a few lines of text with pictures or video illustrations.
Maintain Transparency in Communication
People will be more inclined to give more attention to your CSR cause when they perceive your brand as being transparent in its communication. It shows how much your brand prioritizes credibility, which is the essence of corporate social responsibility in the first place.
As a result, a forced narrative is no good for your brand, as social media users will be able to spot the difference.
Get Your Employees Involved
People love collective acts of service. As a result, getting your employees involved in your CSR campaigns strengthens your brand’s visibility while encouraging a unanimous business internal environment.
What Is the Relationship Between CSR Reports and CSR Communication?
A CSR report is a company’s comprehensive appraisal of its CSR activities to target groups in society. It is also the process of notifying several interest groups, including the company stakeholders, of a firm’s social and environmental impacts on its economic activities over a period.
Additionally, a CSR report can elevate a firm’s competitive advantage by enabling it to identify potential threats and opportunities. So while CSR communication is the target, CSR report is the tool. Therefore a CSR report needs to be of good quality to achieve the benefits of corporate social responsibility communication.
Here are the critical business aspects a good quality CSR report must fulfill:
Several factors within the organization can enhance the credibility of its CSR report. They include but are not limited to top management commitment, corporate policy description, and key stakeholder involvement. The report should also contain employee duties and obligations to the firm’s cause and data collection methods for more credibility.
A complete CSR report must include all business operations, strategies and areas of significant socio-economic and environmental impact.
A good quality CSR report uses both qualitative and quantitative indicators to assess corporate social responsibility.
Report Format Appropriateness
The report format is critical for its validity. It also includes its legibility and clarity and must be easy to read and understand.
More importantly, the size of the enterprise significantly impacts the reporting for corporate social responsibility communication. For instance, larger companies will most likely use an impersonal reporting approach due to many business stakeholders. In comparison, smaller and medium-sized companies can afford to be a little bit more direct in communication.
Although there are several benefits from publicly reporting CSR, some companies remain reluctant to the practice for the following reasons:
- Ignorance and lack of awareness of CSR reporting as some companies view it as a new concept and may be willing to try it out.
- Some companies may experience confusion on what aspect of the business to base their reports and communication.
What Main Points Should a Standard CSR Report Contain?
When preparing a CSR report, here are the main points to consider for a standard result.
The Business Context
The business context of any enterprise includes top management commitment statements, organizational CSR strategy, summary reports of the socio-economic and environmental impact of the business, annual business goals and objectives, corporate profile and other general information about the business.
Social Responsibility Management Schemes
Adopting CSR as part of management strategy involves corporate governance and stakeholder involvement, including partnership formation.
CSR reports are designed to provide a means of appraisal of company performance both quantitatively and qualitatively. The data represented in the reports can serve as benchmarks or reference points for generating corporate management data within a given period.
Report Creation Data and Scope
Every report loses credibility without its creation of information. As a result, details about the date of creation, adoption and utility are critical for record purposes. Also, some companies may include statistical tools and formulas involved in the report creation for accountability and sustainability.
General Principles of Effective Corporate Social Responsibility Communication
Companies that employ CSR communication enjoy numerous operational benefits as customers are eager to identify with any enterprise that demonstrates a genuine commitment to societal sustainability.
Here are some general principles to guide your business when engaging in CSR communication.
- Discover and identify your target customer’s values
- Concentrate on marketing your company’s societal impact instead of ideologies.
- Ensure that your organization is consistent with the ideology it supports in words and actions.
Why and How Should You Communicate CSR to Your Employees?
Your employees form a significant part of your internal business environment and stakeholders. Also, they help your business execute its corporate social responsibility. As a result, without the support of your employees, your CSR mission and communication could be a total blunder.
Here is a short list of how to communicate CSR to your employees to get them fully on board.
- Get them actively involved through group activities and effective project management.
- Make corporate social responsibility an organizational constant to have the idea permanently ingrained in their consciousness.
- Create detailed and well-structured CSR reports and make them available to your employees instead of keeping them classified for only top-level employees.
- Be practical about your corporate social responsibility commitments, no matter how insignificant and dismissive you may feel about the idea.
Is CSR the Same As PR?
There have been many arguments about whether CSR and PR are the same. However, even though both are socio-economic concepts geared toward business development and branding, they are not the same.
Essentially, CSR has a moral undertone to it by genuinely caring about society and the environment, while public relations is more about advertising and revenue generation for the company.
Additionally, corporate social responsibility is critical for public relations and must precede it for a successful business. Therefore achieving successful CSR implementation before seeking to develop the company’s PR saves its reputation from being strictly self-promoting.
So this session is about public relations’ role in corporate social responsibility. Whether it is product improvement, reducing environmental pollution, or bolstering job availability, brand communication is a way for organizations to tell the world what they have been up to and what they are about through CSR communication tools.
It is vital to note that CSR and PR are not the same. Essentially, PR ensures that customers and all business stakeholders know the organization’s commitment to sustainable development.
However, such awareness can only be achieved when the company’s public relations scheme happens after the corporate social responsibility. The reason is that the PR, if well applied, can help publicize an establishment’s CSR initiatives while achieving brand awareness and building customer trust and loyalty.
As a result, PR is the tool to give voice to a company’s CSR activities. So public relations is the communication channel for businesses to establish and nourish relationships.
Here is a table highlighting the pros and cons of public relations (PR).
|Pros of Public Relations||Cons of Public Relations|
|Directly communicating business activities without resorting to empty promotional campaigns increases the establishment’s influence.||It has poor control as any mistake in its management would bring massive public criticism.|
|Public relations is cheaper than paid promotional ads.||There is no certainty about its positive benefits as the company must be prepared for anything.|
|It increases your outreach and coverage.||There are no accurate means of evaluation and quantitative appraisal to ascertain the workability of your strategies.|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does CSR Communication Mean?
CSR communication involves pre-empting business stakeholder expectations, articulating corporate social responsibility policies and coordinating several organizational communication tools for providing clear information about a firm’s integration of strategic business, including socio-economic issues.
Why Should Business Executives Communicate CSR With the Public?
Business executives use CSR communication to show their genuine commitment to proffering solutions to social and economic issues of their time. Most business executives expect public CSR communication from employees, customers, investors, and other business stakeholders.
How Do You Explain Good CSR Reporting?
Good CSR reporting effectively communicates the company values and ideals. It provides the level of transparency required for customers and stakeholders to cultivate significant trust in a brand. Therefore, top businesses adopt excellent CSR reporting to elicit societal support for their ethical commitment.
In recent times, the internet as a means of communication dominates as an effective tool for CSR communication, especially through corporate websites and social media handles. Now that you know, we hope you’ll find ways to employ any of the tools discussed to boost your company outreach and coverage.