Walking the CSR Line

20131101-093456.jpgCorporate Social Responsibility. The balance between profitability and sustainability. Few companies like to walk the CSR line, and even fewer do it well. But regardless of whether we enjoy it, CSR is a key component of public relations – especially “green PR.” This weekend I was lucky enough to attend a “Leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility” workshop at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference in Philadelphia. Here were a couple of my quick takeaways from it all:

 

Align Your Message  

Having a green image or working within your community is great…if done right. Choose a cause that’s related to your company’s goals or something that a VIP at your company has close ties to. Not only will be connected to your goals help you achieve them, but also your efforts will seem more genuine. No one wants to work with the company who picks a random organization to support just to seem more “green” or “involved.” Being passionate about a cause registers with clients and consumers and puts your company in a good light.

Go Big or Go Home

Set lofty goals. Look, we all like to set goals we know we can achieve. I’m the kind of person who puts filler things on my “to-do” list just so I know I can at least check something off. But the really impressive feats are the ones we don’t know if we can actually accomplish. People notice if you’re half-assing your goals, but if your company is setting legitimate, lofty goals (even if you don’t achieve them), you gain respect from clients and consumers. When it comes to CSR, it’s better to try and fail than never to try at all.

A Company That Cares

Good CSR doesn’t happen overnight. A company can’t just wake up and suddenly to be green. It’s about setting concrete and difficult goals. It’s about actually getting involved, not just putting on a mask to seem like you are. Don’t depart too much from your company’s intent, but challenge your organization or firm to be better, profitably and sustainably.

What is good CSR? It’s about a company that cares and that people care about.

Blogging About Blogging

ConsentFistI’m not the kind of person to post book reviews on her blog. I don’t want to slam on authors that put a lot of effort into writing, or praise authors that I particularly related to and beg readers to read something that might not be their “cup of tea.”

This being said, I just finished reading Rebecca MacKinnon’s Consent of the Networked, (which, by the way, I did thoroughly enjoy) and I had a couple of quick thoughts.

MacKinnon uses her book to highlight what we all get ourselves into by relying so heavily on the Internet. She covers everything from private, corporate censorship to government interference, and constantly stresses the rights of “netizens”.

I’m going to be honest – I’m an Internet optimist. Yes, as MacKinnon so often stresses, there are constraints on what people can and cannot post, but for the most part I believe the Internet is what you make of it.

In her book, MacKinnon complains how so much of the public isn’t aware of censorship because most of the information about it is found “in online niche media, blogs, and social media networks, read by niche communities of tech-savvy young people.” But isn’t it also a good thing that some people are actively writing and seeking out information on this? I consider that a win for the Internet.

Maybe I’m a baby blogger, and maybe I do have a niche readership of “tech-savvy young people”, but that doesn’t make my opinions any less valuable.  MacKinnon may belittle posts like this, but every thought has to start somewhere.  And if any of my posts reaches just one person, that’s good enough for me.

Well niche community – are you with me?