This informal CPD article on Developing a Winning CSR Strategy was provided by the London School of Public Relations (LSPR) a training and business development organisation located in Notting Hill Gate, London.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can improve your brand image, inspire and energise your staff, and can even increase the value of your company. However, putting into action a CSR strategy that is successful and echoes your brand values can be challenging. This blog will help you create a plan that leads to you positively impacting your company and society as a whole.
Defining Social Issues
The purpose of your CSR campaign is to tackle social problems within your industry. To achieve this you must first define them. Start by collecting a list of economic, environmental and social issues present in your society and then eliminate those that are not relevant to your brand's core values. You can also consult your employees and customers to identify social problems that your stakeholders care about.
Creating your Strategy
Once you have established the social issue you want to improve you can start creating a detailed strategy. Your CSR strategy needs to be more than just effective, it also needs to highlight your brand's current or desired image.
If your company is skilled in certain areas, then you may be able to use this existing knowledge to reduce the workload and cost of your CSR strategy. So, consider what strengths your company currently possesses.
The best CSR strategies become part of the day-to-day workings of a firm, and to achieve this you should involve all employees from C-Level down. Leveraging the assistance of top executives can increase engagement across the board.
When you have created a provisional CSR strategy and involved all members of staff you can conduct a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) to evaluate, consider and improve your plan.
Establish Some SMART Goals
After this, you should set some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) for your strategy. Approaching the task of goal setting on a micro level will make it easier for you to set these aims and also achieve them later on. It is important to actively monitor your CSR campaign's performance because it will allow you to present to stakeholders at key stages how your strategy is working and yielding a positive return. This will ensure that you continue to receive backing for your work.
It is finally time to put your planning into practice. This is the most enjoyable part of the journey, so breathe, relax and enjoy.
Once you have implemented your campaign it is important to promote the meaningful work you have achieved as marketing your efforts can improve your company's reputation and increase brand loyalty.
Promotion tools you can use are:
- Your Website
- Social Media
- Press Releases
- Ambassador Programmes
If you have faced problems and downfalls during your campaign then you should consider being open about these. A great example of a company doing exactly this is the dairy alternative business Oatly. They recently acknowledged they were too slow in switching paper straws for their products. On social media they announced that they 'Suck' (pun intended) and revealed their plans to make up for their slow adoption of paper straws. Being truthful will portray your business as genuine and trustworthy.
After you have gone through these different stages it is time to consider what parts of your strategy worked, and what parts did not. You can then use these findings to improve your future campaigns.
We hope this article on Developing a Winning CSR Strategy was helpful. For more information from London School of Public Relations (LSPR), please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.