Last week, the Ethical Corporation hosted its Responsible Business Summit USA in New York City. I was fortunate enough to attend, due to my enthusiastic tweets (shameless plug: @CaliMcG) about the event. Lesson learned: the possibilities are endless on the Twitterverse.
Ethical Corporation packed the house with representatives of huge corporations, innovative thinkers, and, like me, cause-marketing aficionados. I thought you might enjoy reading my favorite quotes, and insights gleaned.
“The best [business-related] thinking happened during the recession.” - Kyle Peterson, Managing Director, FSG
How could that be? During the recession, businesses were laying off employees left and right, and making hard choices, in an attempt to slash spending and cut costs. I was intrigued.
Peterson continued, “Tough economic times forced businesses to think deeply about their role in society, and thus the idea of shared value was created.” While I won’t wade too deeply in the shared value debate, I will posit that when examining your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, ensure it aligns directly with your business objectives and your view of where you fit in the community. To do any less would be a disservice to you and your CSR goals.
“Businesses, when acting like businesses, make more substantial changes than when acting as philanthropists.” – Kathy Pickus, Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott
I couldn’t agree more. Inauthentic cause marketing is easy to spot, and companies may even see vociferous backlash from ill-prepared campaigns. When businesses think long and hard about CSR strategies as a business interest—not just a “feel good” initiative—they make better decisions. P&G’s ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign is a great example of sliding business thinking into the cause marketing arena.
“There’s a false choice between doing well and doing good.” – Mark Newton, VP of Corporate Responsibility, Timberland
Truth. Timberland understands this concept more than most, and is leading the way in sustainable thinking. In fact, the company has figured out how to sell shoes, use sustainable and recyclable materials, and be cool. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share this video—put on your headphones and watch it. Now.
“Employees are our ambassadors.” – Carol Clark, Global VP Beer and Better World, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Yes! Since I began working at Network for Good, I’ve heard this adage over and over. At first I thought it was just a catchphrase, until I saw the hard data on employee engagement. Your employees are already engaged online and off; when they feel valued and appreciated, they will return the favor in myriad ways. Whether it be recruiting new talent or maintaining a presence as a leading brand, engaged employees strengthen your company; improve office moral; and beef up your bottom line.
“We made our corporate responsibility report more snackable.” – Suzanne Fallender, Director of CSR Strategy & Communications, Intel
Well said. Fallender’s observation that consumers and employees are bombarded with thick reports reminds me of my work on Capitol Hill. Congressional staffers, like many human beings, don’t have time to 1) read or 2) care about lengthy reports and metrics. Instead, they prefer bites of knowledge—statistics, anecdotes, fresh information—that is timely and relevant. By reducing the size of information released, Intel keeps consumers and employees interested; leaving them wanting more.
Which of these quotations resonates most with you? If you attended the conference, please add your favorite quotations in the comments section!