CSR: effective with a combined arms approach?

CSR: effective with a combined arms approach?

According to Nielsen, 55 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for a product from a socially responsible company.

Making CSR visible to the public pays dividends for businesses, and many marketers are using digital methods to achieve this – but is this the best way?

Brand citizenship is a strategy that promises to provide the desired visibility. It is a way of building a deeper relationship between the consumer and the brand by connecting their purchases and interactions directly to good works related to brand purpose. Digital is an obvious tool for such campaigns, because it puts the company in touch with consumers in real time.

However, there are alternatives to pure digital. Jim Moriarty, Director of Brand Citizenship at international agency 72andSunny, explains: “I think the digital-only mindset has less value than it used to. The real question is ‘How can we best engage with the public?’ It may be in an analogue way, it may be using a digital approach, or it could be a hybrid.”

72andSunny’s ‘Made with Code’ campaign for Google is a good example of the hybrid approach. “Google were trying to address the statistic that only one per cent of girls study computer science. That’s a big problem for Google, as they hire a lot of women and want to continue doing so.”

“For Made with Code, we married physical with digital. We had girls coding patterns for Christmas tree lights, then had them physically lit on the White House lawn by President Obama. The participants had the amazing experience of designing and creating something beautiful, then seeing it brought to life in the real world.”

Google’s reputation as a socially responsible company has been boosted by such public displays, and the brand itself has been strengthened because of the connection between Google’s brand purpose and the philanthropic attempt to encourage more girls to get interested in IT.

The combination of physical and digital has been crucial. “Digital is great in that it scales really well, but it’s a bit ephemeral,” says Moriarty. “Sometimes having a physical thing just makes sense. But they’re really highly complementary.”

Rob Coston Reporter CPL
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