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#marketing 11 Expert CSR Predictions for 2017

In Marketing on 24 enero, 2017 at 3:24

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As millennials begin to dominate the workforce and consumer market, the way our world looks at the products and services we buy has changed for the better. Today’s consumers are more careful, cautious and educated about where and with whom they spend their hard-earned money. Successful brands are moving toward greater transparency and accountability to retain their customers and demonstrate responsibility to their communities and the world we live in. As we enter 2017, CSR trends are shifting and savvy companies will adapt in order to not only keep up but thrive. We asked 11 experts to weigh in on those emerging trends and share their thoughts on what we can expect for CSR in 2017 and beyond.

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TYLER BUTLER

Founder and Principal, 11Eleven Consulting, Former Director of CSR at GoDaddy

You can expect to see more large-scale campaigns in 2017 and beyond that leverage their company products to help their local communities. One great example of this is Subaru’s Drive the Love campaign. This campaign offers a $250 donation to one of a few select, well-respected charities with each Subaru purchase and also ties the campaign to the iconic song by Jackie DeShannon, Put a Little Love in Your Heart. You can expect to see more companies taking CSR to heart and sharing funds earned from their products and services in an effort to gain a more positive sentiment for their brand while also making the world a better place. Other companies who have successfully paid it forward based on customer purchases include Toms Shoes, People Water, Amazon, and PetSmart.

Also expect to see more employee activation. Companies now realize that there is a huge opportunity to scale their philanthropic efforts through empowering their employees. Whether it’s through volunteerism or matching donations and volunteer grants, there are several ways to mobilize a huge army for good by allocating a small portion of the company’s philanthropic resources to their employees so that they can, in turn, support their own charities of choice. One great example of a company giving employees significant time off dedicated to volunteerism is Timberland. This company provides their employees with 40 hours each year to use for volunteer work. The norm has been 16 hours to 24 hours in the past, but companies see these programs as drivers for millennial recruiting and are consequently enhancing their programs.

Expect to see more industry-wide initiatives such as the one being spearheaded by the TechForce Foundation. This foundation is bringing together transportation giants such as Nissan, Carquest, Shell, SnapOn, Advance Auto Parts and Bridgestone / Firestone to address the transportation tech-talent pipeline shortage that is greatly impacting their industry. FutureTech Success will launch in early 2017 and will showcase the best of joining forces bringing in education leaders like Iridescent Learning and Skills USA to deepen the impact of this effort and create a full experience by engaging youth in hands on at-home activities and challenges. With a lack of educated, trained and qualified transportation techs in the US, our country is at risk of a huge economic shortfall if this issue isn’t addressed quickly.

Cause-marketing campaigns will be an on-going trend in 2017. A great example of this marketing strategy is the Zappos campaign “Home for the Pawlidays.” In this campaign, Zappos covered the adoption fee of any pet selected from an ASPCA shelter during a pre-selected time frame. The campaign brought awareness to the issue of pet overpopulation while earning Zappos a ton of positive sentiment and helping shelters throughout the US during the harsh winter months when pet surrender rates are elevated.

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GREG PERLSTEIN

Senior Director at TMI Strategy, the consulting arm of DoSomething.org

Millennials want to be directly involved in impact work now more than ever. This means that companies must involve consumers directly in CSR programs. It’s not enough for young people to know that a company is donating money or that their employees are volunteering. They want the company to prove a direct contribution to the impact beyond only donating money.

The specific cause a company focuses on doesn’t particularly matter. Young people care about every cause under the sun (see our blog post about this topic). In 2017, people will be truly fired up for all the causes they believe in. This is a chance to recruit those people and harness their energy to make real change. Companies should be relentless, be specific and be honest to engage young people to the fullest.

Moving forward into 2017, video is everything. If companies aren’t creating video content and using it strategically, both internally and externally, to get people excited about their CSR work, they are behind the curve.

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JESSICA SABA

Community Marketing Manager, 1908 Brands

Many companies are entering the corporate philanthropy space by starting small and allowing their giving program to grow with their sales. At 1908 Brands, we value environmental conservation, clean energy and youth activism, so we became 1% for the Planet members. We commit to giving 1% of our net revenue to environmentally focused non-profit partners. The total fund was small at first, but as our sales grow, so does our annual fund.

Through ‘percent of sales’ giving programs, it is much easier to show the board that while profits are important to the corporation, people and the planet are priorities as well.

Employee input is more important than ever as we enter 2017. We host meetings to learn which causes are important to our employees. We always welcome non-profit suggestions from employees and if we are able to make a donation, we allow the employee who recommended the partner to deliver the donation. It’s incredible to see people light up when they realize they can direct a portion of the company fund to the projects they personally support.

In 2017, companies will value collaborations over competition. Through knowledge shares and an open willingness to connect, we are seeing companies that are competitive in the marketplace uninhibitedly share best practices and resources for effective corporate giving. For example, 1908 Brands is hosting a “Corporate Giving Summit” in April to bring together the ‘1% for the Planet’ corporate philanthropists to discuss program development, tactics for discovering and vetting non-profit partners and efforts to better solve the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

More than ever, the relationship between the corporate and non-profit sector has to be strong. Once we find a great leadership team with the abilities to run great programs, we are all in. We are hyper-focused on providing financial support and access to our business resources, connections and communication channels to help the non-profit share their mission. The more creative we can be in assisting our partners outside of traditional giving programs, the stronger the relationship becomes.

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DENIZ SASAL

Founder of The Career Mastery and former consultant with AccountAbility.

In 2017, more companies will realize the importance of materiality and CSR reporting. In 2016, less than 50% of Fortune 1000 companies reported on their sustainability activities either as part of their annual report or as a separate publication. As investors and consumers become more concerned with environmental and social impacts, these large corporations will continue to place these issues higher in their corporate agenda.

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STEVE WOODY

CEO of Avadim Technologies

The mission and core values for any company should be deeply entwined and brand the company culture. Anyone focused on bringing corporate responsibility to life and keeping it sustainable has to engage EVERY employee with the stated mission and provide pathways for them to allow the company to solve real-world problems for the greater good. The future of CSR will be embedding it into the company culture and allowing every employee to participate to stay engaged and keep work meaningful.

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DEEANN SIMS

Founder of SPBX Social

The number one trend I see for CSR moving forward involves big brands and corporate structures aligning themselves with nonprofit partners. Most nonprofits operate on a shoe string budget. By publicly endorsing a corporation, they not only benefit financially, but they are also able to maximize exposure for their cause. With consumers turning away from big name brands and looking more towards “local” and “small batch business,” corporations need to make a move towards social responsibility. Partnering with a chosen charity with similar values is a perfect solution.

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MICHAEL MONTGOMERY

Founder of Montgomery Consulting

In 2017, there will be fewer new “voting” promotions. Asking people to vote for their favorite nonprofit as a means of influencing company giving has been very popular in recent years. As a marketing tool, it worked like gangbusters. For years, dozens (sometimes hundreds) of nonprofits urged their supporters to go to sponsor websites to vote for their favorite organization to win what were often modest gifts of cash, product or service. The bloom is now off this rose. The growing difficulty of winning these competitions coupled with the small size of many of the prizes, has caused more sophisticated organizations to pass on these opportunities. It is only a matter of time before less sophisticated organizations follow suit. This doesn’t mean that voting promotions will go away. Well-established promotions are likely to continue for years to come, but I do not see this as an area that will continue to grow.

Integrating corporate giving and volunteering will remain popular and continue to grow. Employees find volunteering fulfilling and the volunteering/giving combination more readily generates positive public attention than giving alone. I previously talked about this for FastCompany.

Cause-marketing will continue to grow as well. Companies of all sizes find it both convenient and profitable to integrate their philanthropy and marketing through promotions that direct some proportion of revenue from product sales to specific nonprofit organizations. An example of this is the local ice cream stand that sponsors a night each week where a percentage of ice cream sales go to the local Little League team. At the other end of the spectrum are the complex, multi-company promotions in support of, for example, breast cancer awareness, research and treatment.

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SETH MCGUINNESS

President / Founder, Giving Great

In 2017, employees are going to have an accelerated emphasis on their company’s CSR program as millennials in the workplace move into higher responsibility and higher paying roles. This move in 2017 will require companies to be prepared to engage with their employees to a level where they are able to contribute as well as do more for social causes.

In the past, CSR has been synonymous with larger businesses, and those large companies have been able to promote their focus on social causes through giving, community relations and foundations. However, as HR technology is empowering small businesses to do more within their businesses (hire smarter, provide benefits easier, and make decisions faster), look for small businesses to become more involved in CSR. This shift will impact hiring for the larger companies as millennials expect to work for a company that is working to impact more than just their bottom line.

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CHRISTEN GRAHAM

President, Giving Strong, Inc.

Leading companies recognize CSR as more than philanthropy and as more than a checkbook charity. CSR will continue to break out of and reach beyond the traditional actions of community giving and employee volunteerism. Employee diversity, responsible sourcing, workplace safety, good governance and energy conservation are all attributes of corporate social responsibility. Next year we will see more companies embracing CSR across the enterprise as part of an overall strategy to be better corporate citizens.

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TOM PALADINO

Founder and CEO of Paladino and Company

In our experience, we see a lot of professionals in positions such as Community Relations and Director of CSR who are struggling to find the framework that best matches their business; addresses the questions of their investors and constituents; and tracks the data that will most benefit operational improvements for the company. We are already seeing companies getting smarter about the frameworks that they use (or sometimes creating their own frameworks), and we expect to see this improvement and empowerment continue in 2017 and beyond.

We expect to see the various departments impacted by CSR reporting improve their collaboration and cooperation. Carbon disclosure, for example, impacts operations, finance, marketing, accounting, and legal departments. With CSR reporting, it’s not just about documenting year-over-year progress or regression from a baseline – it’s about actively monitoring the activity of a business in order to improve outcomes. These groups are getting increasingly interested in not just the methodology and framework of the report, but in the day-to-day actions that can be taken based on that data.

There are a lot of questions about the new administration, and whether its policies will help or hinder the CSR programs for businesses of all sizes. The important thing to remember is that the majority of people running these businesses want to do good – they embrace the triple bottom line, and want to have a positive impact. Further, they know that socially responsible businesses is good business. We expect to see an accelerated adoption of CSR reporting by leading brands so that they can create clear market signals and send positive narratives to their customers. Customers trust companies that do good, and that certainly won’t change in the next 12 months.

The 2016 election has established the power of direct communications through social media, and corporate America will follow. Perhaps the SEC regulatory function can contribute to ‘fair and even’ fact reporting, and spur private sector solutions to climate change, resiliency, and human wellness.

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REED BUNDY

Founder & Principal at Ethostrategies, Former Director of CSR at Constant Contact

2017 will represent a critical tipping point in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) landscape, where most companies will shift their focus from external audiences towards internal stakeholders. The “old CSR” model of cutting a check and writing a press release will no longer meet expectations, requiring companies to develop sustained, genuine, and integrated employee engagement initiatives. As companies in high-growth industries compete for talent among socially-minded millennials, employees will increasingly expect – and demand – programs that are truly integrated into the business and not simply an add-on or an effort to offset negative externalities.

Related to this trend is the expectation that the private sector will need to lead social change as confidence in governments wanes significantly. For employees disillusioned by the incoming administration, their demands to work at places of principal will become more important than ever. Ultimately, these trends will enable the private sector to move into a more meaningful and sustainable next level of CSR where social change and business results are more strategically and thoughtfully linked.

This post was first seen on the Versaic Blog.

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#marketing Helping Reluctant Leaders Buy In to Leadership Training

In Marketing on 24 enero, 2017 at 3:24

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Training leaders can be difficult due to the fact that the training usually teaches soft skills that require person-to-person interaction and which vary wildly based on organizational needs and culture. This difficult endeavor is even more difficult when your leaders are reluctant to lead.

Business Insider notes that “being a manager is not a universal goal.” They cite a study indicating that “just over a third of workers said they aspire to leadership positions.”

In short, even if you hand-pick the best leaders possible and provide them with fantastic custom training solutions to prepare them for leadership, they might not get anything out of the training simply because they don’t want to be a leader.

Why is that? What factors keep great employees from wanting to be leaders? How can you work around those factors to gain those reluctant leaders’ buy-in? Sure, you could simply try to avoid promoting them to leadership positions, but if only one in three of your employees wants to be a workplace leader, it’s not feasible that you’ll always find a good potential leader who’s not reluctant. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get buy-in from a reluctant leader.

Here are three common reluctance factors and possible solutions below.

1. Potential leaders are worried about work-life integration

“Work-life integration” means that many employees don’t think of work in terms of 9 to 5 anymore. On some days, for example, they’d rather work from 9 to 12, attend their child’s kindergarten graduation in the middle of the day, and then put in their last five hours from 3 to 8 p.m. This mindset is particularly prominent in millennial employees, most of whom “desire greater work-life integration over anything else.” These employees want to care for their families, pursue hobbies and goals, and devote time to their physical and emotional wellness. Leadership positions often require more office hours and greater focus on the workplace, two things that can get in the way of a fulfilling work-life integration.

It may not be practical (or honest) to assure potential leaders that their new position won’t require more hours or greater focus, but consider offering flexibility along with increased responsibility. When leaders know that they can come into the office late after their yoga lesson or leave early to go to a family dinner, they will have more enthusiasm about taking on their new role.

2. Potential leaders are introverted

At Allen Communication Learning Services, we recently worked with a client who promotes the well-being of introverts. This client pointed out that while introverts aren’t outgoing in the way that extroverts are, introverts have qualities that make them great leaders. However, because leaders have classically been touted as the more outgoing types, introverts may be reluctant to be moved to a leadership position.

When a potential leader tells you they are reluctant to lead because they identify as an introvert, point out the great leadership qualities of introverts, such as “deep thinking, empathy, and the ability to listen.” Suggest that they have been promoted because of, not in spite of, their being an introvert.

3. Potential leaders don’t see themselves as the “leader type”

Yale Insights says that “most people don’t see themselves as leaders…. Leader is a big amorphous word, and it’s almost arrogant to attach it to yourself.” Employees who don’t see themselves as leaders might feel like they’re not good with people…or that they aren’t the most knowledgeable person in their department…or that they just don’t really know how to lead.

As with introverts, remind these potential leaders that “they were promoted because of their skills, insights, and abilities.” If possible, give specific examples where they demonstrated leadership qualities, or share praise that other employees have given them.

Final thoughts

You’ll notice that for each of these factors, you have to have an honest conversation with reluctant leaders to know the root of their reluctance. It’s better not to assume—if you think a potential leader is reluctant, ask for his or her thoughts about being promoted to a leadership position! That way you won’t have to wonder. You’ll know if he or she is concerned about work-life integration, identifies as an introvert, doesn’t see himself or herself as a leader, or if there’s some other factor at play.

Whatever the reason for the reluctance, you’ll be able to work with your reluctant leaders to get them to buy in to their leadership positions and, by extension, their leadership onboarding training.

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#marketing 5 CSR Tips So You Can Start Giving Back This New Year

In Marketing on 24 enero, 2017 at 2:54

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As the Chinese New Year rolls around again, the grown ups start filling up red envelopes with token amounts of cash as gifts to younger ones in the family. Much like any other holiday season (ahem, Christmas), the Lunar New Year is a season of gifting and showing appreciation. Besides the lovely “ang paos” (red packets) that we receive, it is also about showing you care and wishing others well. We’ve talked about CSR in the past and explained how it helps with brand management. This new year, we’ll talk about how it ties in with your overall 2017 marketing strategy.

As a business, giving back is always one of those things that are pretty difficult to do. Too much of it and you get called out for putting up a show. Too little and you get criticized for not doing enough. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are a few tips to integrate your CSR into the overall marketing plan.

 

1. Align your CSR with company goals

A good CSR strategy should tie in with the overall business goals and branding. For example, at HubSpot, we place heavy focus on customer education and spreading the good word of Inbound Marketing. While it might bring in a decent amount of revenue if we put a price on our certification courses or webinar sessions, providing these resources for free aligns with our goal of wanting to bring Inbound knowledge to a wider audience. When the alignment is made, not only are you able to bring greater contribution (since you’re leveraging on existing competencies), you’re also boosting brand identity.

Besides that, it is also important to see how you can plan your CSR initiatives such that it brings positive impact to the bottomline. Simply said, how can CSR help bring in additional profit for the business? The easiest way to frame this is that the brand will be positively associated with being compassionate and socially constructive in the minds of consumers. Research has shown that 67% of consumers are more likely to purchase products and services from a company that supports a cause, making your company a more ideal candidate. Plus, 80% of customers would tell their family and friends about a company’s CSR efforts, thus making them advocates for your business.

2. Which part of the customer journey does your CSR fit in?

There’s no reason you can’t do good and pay attention to your funnel goals at the same time. Just put aside some time to think about how your CSR initiative can be applicable to a customer at various stages of their journey with your business.

If you’re looking to attract new customers, share about an interesting CSR initiative like inviting less fortunate children into the office for an old school retro gaming challenge. Pay attention to the various channels and content types that would appeal to someone further up in the funnel. Social media, blog posts and interesting/out of the box event ideas are some of the best channels and content you can use to attract a customer with CSR.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to delight existing customers, consider getting them involved. Get them to join a sharing seminar that helps youths with shaping their career goals. Otherwise, organize a networking session for fresh graduates looking to enter the industry and invite your prospects to share their experiences and mingle. This way, not only do you get to do CSR, you also help your customers do good too!

Some activities, like a cash donation or a company charity run doesn’t in itself, fit into the funnel, but the promotional efforts for it can. This brings us to the next point, which is to…

3. Make your efforts known

A lot of companies keep their CSR efforts hush-hush. We’re not sure if it’s because they’re trying to be humble when doing good deeds, but we can’t say that we wholeheartedly agree with it. You don’t have to toot your own horn, but marketing your CSR efforts is almost as important as having one in the first place. Whether it is posting a quick Snapchat or posing for a Boomerang, your CSR becomes useful content.

Research involving companies like Procter & Gamble , General Mills and Timberland has shown that many of their stakeholders did not know about their CSR initiatives or did not find them personally relevant. However, a shift in strategy that updates consumers about their efforts has seen tangible results in terms of increased customer loyalty.

Putting your initiatives up on various marketing channels is also a good way to catch the eye of potential customers who are looking for socially responsible companies to fulfil their business needs. In fact, 90% of consumers would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price or quality, making this a great way to differentiate your business from competitors.

4. Listen to your stakeholders

Here’s where marketing can help too. By listening to your stakeholders and carrying out market research on what they think is the best way your company can contribute to society, you are giving them a chance to become involved in what traditionally is a business decision.

Further, taking your stakeholder opinions into consideration gives them ownership over the initiative and encourages them to become more involved with the business. The Body Shop is one good example. By listening to their customers and pursuing and ethical, no animal testing approach to their production process, they’ve won over the hearts of many existing and new consumers. They’re even going further and ensuring that their products are not only cruelty-free, but environmentally sustainable as well.

5. Track your performance

Like with almost every other campaign, you should aim to track the performance of your CSR initiatives to understand how it can be improved. Understand the reach and business goals you met. But at the same time, find out how many lives you’ve touched and how much difference you’ve made. It might take awhile to obtain concrete data, but reporting on such metrics provides a level of transparency for your business.

Performance tracking also allows you to identify areas for improvement and replicate success. By understanding which initiatives are the most effective, you’ll be able to expand initiatives in that particular direction to bring even greater impact to your brand identity and goals.

New years often signify new beginnings and it’s always great to start a brand new year off on a good note. That’s why this Chinese New Year, the HubSpot team wants to help your business grow.

You can download the 2017 Marketing Strategy Templates & Guides for free and start achieving your new year resolution of having a kickass marketing strategy.

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