This blog often discusses the merits of storytelling to bring an authentic and relevant voice to your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. Research from Edelman, Cone and others demonstrates that your stakeholders (consumers and employees included) want to hear more about how your company is making a difference but they won’t connect to those good works in a press release. People, especially millennials, want to see demonstrated impact and want to understand how they can be a part of your initiatives – by volunteering, by purchasing a conscious product, by co-creating your brand image around responsibility.
If you aren’t sure how to start storytelling – especially in a way that will resonate with millennials and take advantage of digital platforms – just take a page out of Intel’s playbook. The company recently launched an employee zine (digital magazine) called IQ that publishes social content a la Flipboard. You can read all about it in Adage here. The zine features content that is liked and shared by Intel employees and displays it in a visually appealing way that simulates how people consumer social content.
As stated by IQ Editor-in-Chief Bryan Rhoads in the AdAge write-up, IQ seeks to help Intel ‘connect with a younger audience and tell them the bigger story of who we are as a brand. […] Many of them don't know, so we need to tell them the story of Intel that is beyond PCs and beyond processors."
(Image from AdAge profile on Intel's new IQ digital magazine for employees.)
I would love to see this type of storytelling and social curation embraced by companies for sharing CSR, cause marketing and community engagement content and news. Think about the power of aggregating the ‘good’ news your employees share about their volunteer activities or pro bono projects. Consider the audience insights you can gain by seeing what cause content your consumers are sharing. Social recommendations are the new decision tree. In a world where people trust their friends more than marketers, the true brand influence comes from earning peer recommendations through authentic brand values and promises and then harnessing them to tell a compelling brand story.
How will you translate your CSR story for millennials?