By Deborah Hackshaw
For many companies, corporate social responsibility is a standard practice or an established strategic approach to business. Now more than ever, during this crisis, companies are understanding the importance of strategic and authentic communications on their corporate social responsibility initiatives and philanthropic contributions.
Companies all over the world helped countries and communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies made financial donations, some purchased products and equipment to fight the virus, converted their production chain to produce items such as masks and hand sanitizers, donated food to families and so on. In addition, some companies helped their employees with smart working and financial support.
As the economic fallout of the pandemic becomes more apparent, companies realise that they must shift their focus from short-term measures to more strategic priorities. With budget cuts, they are finding that they must do more with less, particularly since customers, employees and the general public expect companies to continue supporting social initiatives and maintain their corporate values.
In normal times, companies often found it difficult to communicate the impact of their responsible business practices and philanthropy on the people’s lives, communities, and the environment without overstating their social behaviour and risking stakeholder scepticism. This is even more so in times of crisis. There is a well-founded fear that anything that is communicated in times of crisis requires a great deal of attention.
Communications must be seen in light of supporting the common good and not merely fulfilling a duty. The reliance on advertising campaigns, press releases and annual reports to communicate a company’s good corporate citizenship is no longer enough. Neither are reports to satisfy reporting commitments.
Clear communications from independent and trusted spokespeople add value to strategic CSR communications that respond to authenticity. It helps ensure positive public relations that minimize stakeholder scepticism.