Meaningful CSR - from corporate to collective social responsibility?

How can companies evolve from driving a traditional social purpose strategy to one that allows their target audience to play an active part?

“Seventy per cent of consumers believe that big companies need to drive positive change in order to transform our models and champion a desirable future,” Havas’ prosumer report ‘Beyond COVID’ reveals.

As companies slowly start to find their bearings in a new ‘normal’, understanding how consumers’ affinity towards brands has changed is no longer an unanswered question.

Participants showed that they are expecting real change and commitment from brands more than ever. How can companies move the needle from driving a traditional social purpose strategy to one that allows their target audience to play an active part?

• Revitalising their vision and mission. Values speak for themselves - 77 per cent of consumers prefer to buy products from a brand that has a strong vision of the future. It might be time to dust off your client’s existing statements and adapt them to incorporate new values that will resonate with today’s consumers.

• Bold convictions require strong actions. Once the vision of the company is clearly defined, the selection of relevant CSR activities and partnerships will naturally flow. How will they help a brand deliver functional, personal and collective benefits - that will, in the process, help them survive in a world where people wouldn’t care if 77 per cent of brands disappeared?

• Aiming for a collective impact. The study also revealed that “the crisis has only heightened and accelerated people’s desire for radical action when it comes to meaningful change” – they’re ready to act.

• Sharing results. The media crave statistics, research and reports. However, 87 per cent of millennials believe the success of a business should be measured by more than just financial impact. It’s time to step out of our pre-pandemic comfort zones and challenge ourselves to brainstorm beyond a viral PR stunt for the masses – and truly impact lives.

Today, eight in ten people fear the economic crisis will be greater than the health crisis. As we look towards the future, it’s important to reassure audiences. Now more than ever is the time to engage with our audience, bearing in mind that “82 per cent of respondents think they would be more motivated to act if they were shown the beauty of all we risk losing, rather than reports focused on the bleak reality of eco-destruction”. 

This isn’t a year short of surprises - nor opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mathilde Montel is communications director at Havas Middle East


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