Archive for the ‘PR’ Tag

CSR – a fad or philanthropy?

     

    Corporate social responsibility or sustainable responsible business or corporate citizenship: 

    Virtue is its own reward and for business enterprises, it can profitable too. Many companies incline towards a social cause in order to win public trust and portray a favourable image in the media. There has been an increasing demand for CSR and are being increasingly held responsible for their actions which have a direct bearing on the public, stakeholders and the environment. Therefore, it has become important for companies to win long-term public trust through ethical business practices. Also, with the coming of social media, it has empowered the customer as an equal participant and given more ground for media scrutiny.  

     But there are many factors that question the legitimacy of companies who take up social issues. Is it because they feel its their moral and social duty or does it all boil down to profits? Does CSR really takes the genuine concerns of the society/customers into consideration or is it all strategic philanthropy?

    Paul Davis Jones and Cary Raymond describe CSR  as a “strategic philanthropy” where contributions of dollars,  volunteers, products and expertise are invested to a cause aligned with the strategic goals of a business .

    On the other hand, William J. McEwen in the article”Does Corporate Social Responsibility Matter?” highlights the importance of CSR and how it can help in being emotionally bonded with the customers. “Today’s financial markets bears compelling testimony to the fact that emotions truly do matter. Companies don’t need to be better at everything. They need to be better at the things customers feel are important. Research shows that the companies that generate “fully engaged,” emotionally connected customers sell more, make more money, and are better able to withstand the stress of economic downturns.” (source: Gallup Management Journal Online; 1/28/2010, p1-1, 1p;)

    Benefits of doing CSR:

  1. Changes the perception of audience (media, stakeholders, market and customers) about the company as being socially, morally and ethically upright!
  2. Gives the company a benefit of doubt in times of crisis.
  3. Being socially engaged rubs well on the brand image and customer loyalty
  4. CSR can mobilise various the business strategies and increase profits. 
  5. CSR represents a tie-breaker, a “sweetener” that can help enhance a customer’s feelings of connectedness with a company.
  6. Retains employees and attracts best talent.

The other side: 

Various arguments have tried to define the true purpose behind the practice of CSR

1. Some critics argue that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses.

2. Others believe that is nothing more than superficial window-dressing

3. It is an attempt to avoid scrutiny of government and community watchdogs over powerful multinational corporations.

4. Corporates shorten the most needy causes and choose the one’s which suit their strategic interests and business policies. 

5. The practice of CSR has always been debated and kept under a critical lens because it emerges out of a crisis, accident or an emergency.

6. The consumers are skeptical today because their faith has been shattered by tall promises and hidden motives behind CSR. Therefore, winning its credibility is a big question.

7. The company cannot expect to provide cheap services or substandard products and get away with it just because the company is affiliated to social causes.  

8. CSR has often been considered as a tool to beat the competition and attract more media attention. The underlined motive of CSR is profit and that is what defeats the entire purpose of being socially inclined. 

Following are some major examples of CSR. Read on and decide which is ethical and which is not?

Recently, many companies have taken a proactive approach to the environment, transforming the nature of their organization and products to reflect this. They are discovering that well-formulated environmental strategies can lead to a number of business advantages, such as better quality, reduced costs, improved environmental image, and the opening of new markets. Also, relations with stakeholders (such as regulators, local communities, and environmental groups) improve along with business profits. 

The drug giant Pfizer decided to do a good deed for its customers who had lost their jobs due to recession and thus, lacked prescription coverage, Pfizer would supply 70 of its name-brand drugs, from Lipitor to Viagra, free of charge for up to a year. For a company whose reputation has suffered some blemishes, including $2.3 billion in fines last year for improperly marketing drugs to doctors, the free-prescription program was well worth the cost. “We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do,” says Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler. “But it was motivational for our employees and got a great response from customers. In the long run it will help our business.(Source: Richard McGill Murphy; “Why doing good is good for business?” Fortune; 2/8/2010, Vol. 161 Issue 2, p90-95, 6p, 7 Color Photographs.)

Philip Morris, the tobacco giant donated more than $17 million in a year to schools, hospitals, cultural organizations and charity groups. Critics believe that many of these funds were targeted to minority organizations which would help beat tax and anti-smoking bills. The CSR was well strategized in order to gain some political benefit. (Source: Ralph Tench, Liz Yeomans; ” Public Relations Strategies and tactics; 7th edition)

McDonald’s has a blog entirely dedicated to its CSR policy (http://csr.blogs.mcdonalds.com). Although not extremely well established in the blogosphere, the blog is growing in popularity. The blog itself is written by Bob Langert, McDonald’s Vice President of CSR, and is dedicated to informing the public about the five key issues relevant for McDonald’s: balanced active lifestyles, responsible purchasing, people, the environment, and the community. Would you call this genuine or a mere distraction from the real health issue?(source: Fieseler, Christian1 christian.fieseler@unisg.ch Fleck, Matthes, Meckel Miriam; “Corporate social responsibility in blogosphere”; Journal of Business Ethics; Feb2010, Vol. 91 Issue 4, p599-614, 16p)

The corporates owe a lot to the public who buys their products and services. As long as they don’t comply with the ethics conforming to their professional standards and social behaviour, CSR will only perceived as a mere hypocrisy, astroturing or spin.  If CSR is being done to aid the stakeholders, organisation and society and not camouflage some malicious activities, it will  help gain long term mutual benefits for the parties involved.

Diksha

Social media – a peep into the future

Practising Social Media PR for a profitable business-measuring its pros and cons

London, U.K. – TweetFace; a popular social networking website announced its launch of a new webcast “PR and Social media” to underline the benefits that social media can have for business organisations. An official press conference held today at 2:00 pm in Threemasons Hall, Holborn was attended by 50 journalists and PR practitioners from different sectors. 

Hi TweetFace!

Tweetface for the first time has taken the initiative to reinforce the fact that the social media platform can be a boon for business entities if its complete potential is realised. 

Diksha Sethi, Digital PR executive of TweetFace and the creator of this webcast said “It is important to learn new ways to communicate to the audience in a digital environment. I look at it as a possibility of connecting with your audience at a more personal level which has been driven by social change.” 

The webcast highlights some key benefits of social media for any business organisation; local or international. 

1) Social media is cost effective and offers unlimited space, unlike the traditional newspapers, radio and television. 

2) It is easy to recognise the potential market and segregate your niche which further helps in customising the message accordingly. 

3) Social media gives the audiences an equal chance to voice their opinion and help organisations deliver exactly what is in demand. Thus; saving their time, energy and resources. 

4) New Public Relations strategies like viral campaigns, webcasts, blogs etc have the capacity to change public opinion towards an organisation or a brand from negative to neutral and from neutral to positive. 

5) Increasing Revenue On Investment is the most important goal social media helps to achieve for organisations. 

Matthew Holland, Head of digital PR department of TweetFace further hinted at the importance of being fair and honest in using this medium which is still under the experiment stage. “The nature of the medium is more volatile than television or radio. Because its reach is far and wide, the message looses it control once it has been disseminated. Therefore, it is extremely important to be honest in delivering your message to your audience. Else, the outcome can be ravaging for the brand’s reputation.” 

Social Media has brought about a paradigm shift in the PR practices directed towards various sectors of business where the consumer forms the focus. Apart from being a visual treat, this webcast shall touch upon some key approaches to communicating in an evolving digital world.
 
The webcast is available and downloadable from TweetFace and YouTube. 

 

            ________________###___________________ 

Boiler’s Plate: 

TweetFace was founded by Danny Berg in 2003, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit in 2 weeks. 

TweetFace is the world’s 2nd largest social network, with over 400 million users. 

TweetFace added 70 million unique user from 2009-2010. 

Till january 2010, TweetFace had 124 million users just from the U.K.

             ____________________________________________

 

Danny Berg:CEO and Founder TweetFace
Office: 1602 S, White Avenue
Shaftesbury
London, U.K. 

Contact Person:
Ms.Diksha Sethi Sharma
Executive communication manager
Phone: 0203467654 (ext-123)
mobile: 07898226050
Email: sethi.diksha@gmail.com 

Follow us:
http://twitter.com/diksha_sethi
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http://www.linkedin.com/myprofile?trk=hb_tab_pro

 

Social Media Webcast

Public relations and Social Media – webcast by Diksha Sethi:

After taking the new media and PR module, I realised how the nature of communication has undergone a drastic change within a span of 4 years! While in some parts of the world, the best way to communicate for people is stil the E-mail or maybe the telephone, for some others, tweeting updates through social networking websites has become an addiction.
 
Making this webcast was a struggle initially, but now that I can see the finished results and finally about to upload my video, it gives me a sense or relief that i’ve finally done it! This webcast is an attempt to understand the flavour of social media in our day to day communication alongwith the buiness context. Social media is still a cause of apprehension for many entrepreaneurs because they havent realised the power of social media and how it can give an image makeover to brands. (either new or established). Not only the image and reputation, it also has brought a paradigm shift in the fundamentals of doing business! Rather than spending millions on a expensive PR campaign, smaller, more personalised and interest-driven attempts are being made to gain the audience’s attention, support and loyalty. The tables have turned; pushy sales has taken a back seat and building customer relationships has become centric.  
 
Despite all of us being so diverse in our cultures, traditions and mannerisms, yet the medium has picked up on our basic needs to share, talk, express our emotions and stay in touch. Ofcourse it cannot substitute for a physical exchange of ideas, yet it has become an inevitable part of our busy lives. Social networking websites hae been customised according to our cultural backgoundsand do allow us to personalise content! at the same time, it facilitate formation of comunities, fan clubs and groups with those who have some commonalities with us. This phenomenon helps businesses to identify their niche and target their message to the right audiences!
 
If there are positives of using social media for a business activity, it has some of the dangers too. If on one hand social media is fast,accessible, cheap and has a massive reach. on theother hand, one mistake can be lethal for the reputation of the brand and the company. For eg: the dominos gross video spread like wild fire and had millions of hits on outube overnight! It gives less time for comntemplating in a crisis and demands prompt action. otherwise, things can be blow out of proportion. A careless use of the medium can get the world attacking you in no time. Another danger is the lack of control over the user generated conten being disseminated through blogs, videos, picture sharing or social networking websites. Too much transparency could spin the tide.
 
well, its time for me to wrap up and get ready for the london fashion week. hope you enjoy the my little endeavour 🙂
 
Cheers
Diksha 🙂
 
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