Cone launches tool to measure effectiveness of CSR efforts

Cone Communications is launching the Cone Social Return Assessment, a tool to help companies assess the effectiveness of their CSR and cause efforts.

BOSTON: Cone Communications is launching the Cone Social Return Assessment, a tool to help companies assess the effectiveness of their CSR and cause efforts.

The diagnostic tool aids companies in uncovering gaps and opportunities within three core elements, including awareness, engagement, and impact. The tool also provides a plan to optimize the CSR initiative’s business and social return, and it showcases how the effort is measuring up against goals, best practices, and industry benchmarks.

Cone developed the tool based on results from its 2013 global CSR study with Echo Global, which found that companies are expected to be an active participant, if not a driving force, in solving the most pressing social and environmental issues.

With CSR and cause efforts becoming increasingly prevalent among companies, it is becoming a "cluttered, cynical, and skeptical space," said Rich Maiore, SVP of CSR at Cone.

He added that measurement is an "Achilles heel" for many CSR programs.  

"There is a lot of challenge around what to measure, how to measure, and what to do with the data once you have done all those things," explained Maiore. "For PR pros who are quite busy and pressed, this tool attempts to make that more streamlined, easier to do, and easier to understand."

The element that separates this tool from others on the market, according to Maiore, is that it looks at and rates a company’s CSR awareness, engagement, and impact separately, and then adds the scores together to provide clients with a final result between one and 100. The evaluation is done by Cone.

"A company may be good at raising awareness and engaging consumers and stakeholders around a social issue, but it isn’t doing a god job of communicating or demonstrating impact," said Maiore.   

The Cone Social Return Assessment is based on clients’ needs, such as what they want to achieve or measure. Maiore said he could not disclose price information on the tool due to its customizable nature.

Information about the Cone Social Return Assessment tool is available on Cone’s website as of May 22.

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