If you’re a Chief Marketing Officer in the Fortune 500 world or somebody who aspires to be one, you’re probably spending your time trying to figure out how you’re going to make yourself indispensable in a position that has the highest turnover rate in the C-suite. You’re constantly on the look-out for how to accurately assess successful levers that drive consumer behavior and carry out the vision of your brand in a multi-channel world.
If there is one universal truth about Corporate Social Responsibility as it stands today, it’s that there is simultaneously no good uniform definition and an extremely strong need for a well defined CSR strategy.
In April of 2016, I decided to interview as many corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals as I could get in front of. Over 12 months later, I have amassed over 150 interviews chronicling a variety of enterprises that have really shaped my perspective about the space.
A couple of years back I helped organize a conference for Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Philanthropy executives where we recruited author and leadership expert, Simon Sinek, to speak.
Simon’s best-selling book, Start with Why (see his Ted Talk on the subject with nearly 31 million views and counting), as well as subsequent speeches and articles, are all centered on something called the Golden Circle approach to leadership.
Publicly espousing commitments to social responsibility without genuine organizational buy-in to back it up is a dangerous gamble for corporations to take.
Too frequently, genuine corporate social responsibility strategies risk being drawn astray by a desire to appease the most vocal activist and advocacy groups.
Darden Restaurants—probably known best for its Olive Garden franchise—is a prime example of a company facing such a dilemma.
Michael Porter said it best in his TED talk:
“If we can get business seeing itself differently, and we can get people seeing business differently, we can change the world.”
Indeed, business is already beginning to see itself differently. People, too, are beginning to see business differently. When the economics of business change, inevitably it opens the door for new opportunity. But what exactly does that mean for all of us?
And other critical questions shared values professionals lose sleep over.
(This post has been updated to reflect post-webinar information)
We’re aware — it’s a bold title. But the truth is that Corporate Social Responsibility, cause marketing, community affairs and corporate philanthropy executives are struggling to provide evidence-based assessment of their efforts.While the term “broken” may be harsh, we have heard from many shared values professionals that the pressure is mounting for more data-driven *proof* that their work has measurable impact that justifies the expenditure. In other words, ROI.
Budgets. Everyone’s favorite part of their job to loathe. And loathe them, shared values professionals most certainly do. Why? Says, Paul Klein, Cofounder and CEO of Impakt—a consultancy that helps businesses use social change to drive business results—CSR is often seen as a hard cost to a soft program.