CSR Communication: How to talk to your customers about your good work

Nov 22, 2010   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Company Culture, Marketing & Communication  //  1 Comment

You’re one of the good ones.  You’ve decided that you are going to conduct business in a socially responsible way.  You’ve begun taking steps to become a better company and you even started an official corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.  Good job, you won’t regret it.  Now that you’ve launched your CSR program, it’s time to share your good work and vision with the world.  But how exactly are you to do that?

CSR Communication is Not a One-Time Thing

Communicating your CSR work effectively requires more than a static website or an annual press release. Blogs, message boards, and social media tools like Twitter and Facebook are the best tools for ongoing discussions about your company. By engaging your community with these tools, you offer them a sense of ownership in the good work you’re doing.

3 Tips to Communicate your CSR Program

#1 Make it Personal

You need to show your customers how your corporate social responsibility program is ultimately just an extension of their values, your employees’ values, and your organization’s values as a whole.  When people purchase your product or use your service, in a way, they become a part of the company.  You are all in it together, so be sure to remind everyone of the good work that THEY are a part of.  Every person, from the customer to the CEO plays a role in ensuring that a company conducts business responsibly.  Share with them what they have helped create, and do it often.  How have your customers enabled your company to act more responsibly today?  This week?  This month?  This year?

#2 Be Honest

Your customers are smart.  That’s why they started doing business with your company in the first place, right?  Openly communicate to them what your company is doing right, and acknowledge areas where you feel like there is room for improvement.  Tell them what you are really doing to act more responsibly, and don’t embellish.  Talk about areas of improvement as opportunities to do even more good, and set clear goals that address these issues.  If you are up front about both your triumphs and your struggles, your audience will have greater respect for both your CSR efforts and your brand.

#3 Engage and Reinforce

After you share what your company has already done and where you want to go, ask your customers for more ideas.  By actively communicating with your customers, not only do you get to find out what they really value, but you also build a rapport with them.  Offer some questions to guide them, but make sure that the conversation is mostly customer-driven.  Allowing them to be more open with their responses could bring a great idea to light that your organization hadn’t even considered.  Let your customers work for you.

In It Together: Your Interactive CSR Community

Dell offers a model for engaging their customers in a CSR community.  Though their approach to sustainability isn’t perfect, they are constantly striving to improve and  have been quite successful at getting customers to talk about CSR and offer possible solutions.  ReGeneration.org, Dell’s Environment & Corporate Responsibility blog, provides an interesting insight into the company’s environmental initiatives. And the environmental section of their IdeaStorm community allows consumers to interact with the company and one another to generate innovative ideas to improve Dell’s impact.  The same community-building ideas that have worked for Dell can work for companies of any size.

Just remember that you are having a conversation with real people, and conversation goes both ways.  If you open up and get your customers to feel like the two of you are working together, your CSR victories will be their CSR victories, and who doesn’t want that?

Are you sharing your CSR initiatives with your customers? What’s worked best for you?

  • anjana dhital

    thanx 4 ur tips