Below are the common mistakes, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals make when creating communication materials or simple things you can do to improve your regional CSR marketing.
Leaving the communication job to marketing department
- Nobody in the company will be better than you in knowing the details of your activities.
- It is your product; you have to lead the development and communication.
- Regular business marketing approach does not fit to your CSR communication.
Assuming that your stakeholders already know everything about you
- Always remind your internal / external stakeholders of what you do and why it’s important.
- Don’t wait important events, small periodic updates work better than big announcement.
- Don’t use jargon, acronyms.
Confusing features with benefits
- Your initiatives solve problems; talk about the problems you solve, not the way you solve them.
- Features are what your initiative does. Benefits are the solutions your agency provides.
- Benefits motivate stakeholders; features do not.
Sharing statistics instead of stories
- A statistic has never made anyone cry.
- A good story activates the imagination and sparks emotions.
- People remember stories, not statistics.
Thinking that “everyone” is your audience
- The way to conserve a small marketing budget is to target your message to the people most likely to respond.
- One-size-fits-all communication materials aren’t as effective as messages tailored for a specific group.
Using boring photos
- Show; photos of the people your initiatives engage with, close-ups and faces and action photos
- Don’t show; posed group photos, executives giving checks, speakers standing at a podium, fancy benefit balls and dinners.
Thinking of your CSR page as a final destination rather than as a starting point
- Make it easy for people to find the places they want to go—and where you want them to go.
- Highlight key destinations on your site, like “features” and “benefits.”
- Choose navigational words that see the site from your visitor’s point of view.
Thinking that people read your newsletter to learn what’s going on
- Stakeholders want to see proof that your initiatives are making a difference.
- Categorize the initiatives and show WHO the stakeholder was and WHY it made a difference.
- Don’t waste newsletter space with details about program administration.
Thinking that your annual report needs to be prepared when the year ends
- Create an online channel and start sharing updates when they happen
- Give a public access to all CSR related updates and press releases categorized by stakeholders
- By that way, your annual report will be an easy and quick job
Thinking that social media is free
- Maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube requires dedicated staff time.
- Social media isn’t one-way. You have to listen, respond, and participate in the conversation.
Dr. Fatih Mehmet GUL is the Founding Director of CSR Middle East and Country Manager for Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives. Dr. Gul is on the prestigious list of "2011 TOP 100 THOUGHT LEADERS in Europe and the Middle East". Follow Dr. Fatih Mehmet GUL on twitter @drfameg