CSR Communication Should Be More Impactful

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Ismael Bena MBA
Management Consultant, Netherlands

CSR Communication Should Be More Impactful

CURRENT CSR COMMUNICATION STATUS: SUPERFICIAL
While the notion of CSR has become mainstream and its benefits have been demonstrated to win over employees and shareholders, the communication of these efforts has remained superficial and one-dimensional.
In general, the intention of CSR is to pursuit environmental or social issues, for example through integration in business practices. But corporations fail miserably to focus on the mission completion and instead direct most of their attention to the communication (self marketing) of such efforts.

BETTER CSR COMMUNICATION NEEDED
To achieve positive business and social change, the success criteria of CSR should aim at moving beyond awareness building or informing the general public of the corporate's issues and efforts. Instead, the goal for CSR communication should be to connect with people on an emotional level so relevant, that it results in action and response, creating buy-in to support the companies advocated mission (Humlen, 2014).
When there is a lack of response from society, are corporations correct to assign this disconnect to the lack of awareness, social apathy or non-interest for the addressed issue, or should they strive to make more efforts to advocate their CSR objectives through better communication, moving beyond standard reporting practices?

HOW CSR COMMUNICATION NEEDS TO CHANGE
Humlen (2014) argues that for communication to make a difference, quantity and quality are determinants to make an impact. Behavior change is not influenced by rational information, data or details, rather by emotions and changes in social norms. Therefore, corporations are better off to pursuit, through more effective forms of communication, a wider flock beyond those already “in-the-know”, if their CSR efforts are to become impactful to address the advocated cause.
Source: Humlen, A., (2014) “CSR Communication Goal Should be Impact, not Information,” TSSS, ONLINE, link (accessed 15/10/2014).

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