A very comprehensive report on how sustainable companies are communicating their green convictions and deeds through social media was published last week. The Social Media Sustainability Index, commissioned by SMI,and authored by Matthew Yeomans of Custom Communications, is a useful series of tips on the Do’s and Don’ts of CSR in Social Media for optimum reputation management.
There’s been a lot of discussion about elevating corporate responsibility to become a strategic driver of your business. Most companies would like to benefit from their ethical efforts in the form of increased customer attraction and loyalty, yet few have figured out how to do it successfully. When marketing and PR are relied on, it can often backfire in accusations of greenwashing. The secret is to apply brand-strategy principles to build your ethical reputation.
As consumer expectations rise and trust in corporations decline, the need for ethical business practices is greater than ever. Yet in a recession, companies seeking to cut costs will likely postpone important CSR initiatives or cut spending in favor of core business initiatives. But it doesn’t have to be either-or. Companies that consider social and environmental initiatives as potential innovation platforms and brand builders — not expenses — will come out ahead.