This lesson will describe Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. We will define CSR and identify ways in which the practice of responsibility acts as a management function in public relations practice. For your reference, I have included several good reads on corporate social responsibility, there are quite a few industry trade publications on the topic as well. CSR was once a buzzword, and you saw so many companies initiate corporate social responsibility in some way, jumping on the bandwagon. However, as we'll talk about in this module, CSR is meant to be a long term investment in the community in which the company operates. Consumers grow more and more savvy each day, and due to social media, they are interacting directly with brands, for better or for worse. Consumers have certain expectations of brands and companies in society, and in recent years, those expectations are very high when it comes to people and the planet. Public relations isn't just a one and done effort, remember, that would be more in line with a stunt, which is not how good public relations is practiced. Instead, it's a long term that we plan and act for, not short term objectives. In this video, our lesson agenda will cover branding, what it means, and how public relations contributes to branding. Then, we'll define CSR and the connection to branding, and lastly, we will discuss community relations. As you may have noticed by now, about public relations, all of this is connected. We cannot talk about branding without talking about CSR, we can't talk about CSR without talking about community relations. Public relations is complex, though many people perceive the practice to be very simple, it's not. When used as a management function, public relations oversees and manages the brand's communication and storytelling, that's both to the inside and the outside. Meaning, internal stakeholders like employees, should be brand ambassadors, while external audiences should be leveraged to meet communication goals and objectives. Public relations in that management function is a counselor and an advisor. Those two terms suggest that PR practitioners are well informed to act as a counselor or advisor to the brand. All right, so here we go, what is branding? Branding is the strategic process that manages the presentation and influences the perception of a brand. Let me say that again, branding is the strategic process that manages the presentation and influences the perception of a brand. Now, many people think branding is the logo or the tagline, and yeah, that's part of it. But public relations is the intangible part of branding, the part you cannot see. Public relations, manages the storytelling of the brand, and tries to influence how consumers see the brand. When I say the word Volvo, what comes to mind? For most, it's safety, year after year, Volvo wins awards in the category. The focus of manufacturers has always been that of safety, that is what Volvo wants to be known for, what differentiates them from competitors. Sure, advertising contributes to the notion of safety, but it's PR that is telling the story and facilitating that word of mouth. Dare I say, advertising has lost its edge, consumers don't want to see it, they pay money to avoid it. And so, brands have to figure out how to connect with consumers in a more authentic way, that's where PR comes to the rescue. We are about creating relationships, helping stakeholders understand our story or educating them to our point of view. We are always telling our brand story in different ways, to different audiences, so as to create word of mouth. In order to manage our brand's reputation, we have to be sure these messages connect with audiences and push forward our mission. Many forget that storytelling is what connects with consumers and builds a relationship. Public relations is powerful, but only when used strategically. The process of branding is concerned with these different variables, attributes or the set of qualities your brand wants to be associated with, benefits or the emotional translations of the brand. Values, the organization's mission and core values, and the personality or set of human characteristics associated with the brand. While public relations draws on all of these variables, its biggest priority, centers on communicating the brand's values. Public relations tell stories about the mission and core values of a brand. Think about the North Face, as an example, this brand is an American outdoor recreation products company, producing clothing, footwear, and outdoor equipment. The brand is all about the outdoors, and when you think about the North Face commercials, websites, events, etc, what's the common message? The outdoors. And even more than that, the North Face wants to enable exploration, and that means different things for different people. For instance, when does one pick up climbing? Unless exposed, many groups would never even consider the hobby of climbing. The North Face goes into inner cities, in urban environments, and makes it a point to teach girls, especially, girls of color. The North Face wants everyone to explore and have access to exploring the outdoors. And that includes, teaching new populations to climb, and be sure the North Face is telling that story in their brand communication. Public relations should communicate credibility with key audiences who affect business results. Such as media, policymakers, consumers, and shareholders, so as to create word of mouth and brand recognition. Remember Volvo and safety or the North Face and outdoors and exploration. Credibility is an important element in supporting the power and value of an organization's brand to all stakeholders. All of the elements of corporate branding, from tone and personality, functional and emotional benefits, the core message and end goal to the brand's reputation. These are leveraged with internal and external audiences, and can help raise and organizations recognition and credibility with audiences. Enhancing the awareness, understanding, and commitment to a brand through PR, is usually part of an overall strategy aimed at sustaining and raising standards of performance. So again, branding is the process of managing the image and identity of a brand. Image is what the brand says about itself, identity is what the public says about the brand. It is most ideal when a brand's image and identity a line, meaning that what the brand says it is, the public also thinks it is. However, this is not always the case, and this poses many challenges for PR practitioners. How can we be seen as credible when image and identity do not align? Part of branding is involvement in corporate social responsibility. In the last three decades, there has been much debate on the role of corporations in society. How we think about business, orients our company's mission and core values, but also defines CSR. Milton Friedman in 1970, argued that the only responsibility of publicly held companies is to increase profits. That is organizational excellence he argued, later in 1995, John Paul Zak, a public relations executive and editor of business and society, said that CSR can be committed to both profits and the community. Arthur Page said, all business in a democratic country begins with the public's permission and exists by public approval. CSR is not merely a communication challenge, it is a management planning and performance challenge. Public relations can help an organization know the standards needed to achieve CSR through issue monitoring consumers are more positive when they see CSR as being values driven and strategic. They think poorly of companies whose efforts are attributed to egotism or to merely accommodating. CSR is an evolving concept and like public relations has a variety of definitions, Kotler and lee defined CSR as a commitment to improve community well being through discretionary business practices and contribution of corporate resources. These authors found an increased commitment to give more, to report on the giving, to set high social goals for organizational success and then to use these details to build corporate reputation and brand equity. Here are several more definitions throughout the years In a more recent entry on corporate social responsibility and the encyclopedia of public relations. Rollins proposed that CSR means doing well by doing good, that means for instance, that organizations with high CSR become the employers of choice, a neighbor of choice, the vendor of choice. The real challenge is for organizations to be accountable beyond financial obligations. Very simply, CSR refers to the voluntary actions taken by a company to address the impacts of that company on stakeholders. It's important to note that these actions are voluntary, meaning a company has to opt in. There are realities, however, that must be considered when planning CSR first, every organization operates in a multiple stakeholder arena where each stakeholder is likely to hold different expectations of how it should operate. There are no absolute standards of corporate responsibility, which means they are defined or socially constructed by each generation. CSR cause companies to operate in the public interest or in the community interest according to Page and Parnell, there are different ways to practice CSR first brand and corporate reputation. CSR can positively impact a company's perceived reputation, communication is required to capitalize on the good reality and overcome poor perceptions. Another area that some focus CSR efforts is environmental, social and governance. Nielsen's 2015 global survey On CSR revealed that 66% of consumers will pay more for sustainable brands, millennials even more so, with 73 percent willing to pay more, millennials are the most sustainability conscience. And CSR engaged generation, diversity and inclusion is another practice area of CSR. The summer of 2020 saw a climax of protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly thereafter, we saw more and more companies start diversity initiatives. But there's a difference in hiring diversity, in hiring and including diversity and making a sustainable commitment toward change. That means professionally developing talent, promoting diversity and cultivated an environment that welcomes diversity because diversity makes us more creative, more innovative. Another practice area is corporate citizenship, and this references how we act in the business world, do we act ethically and responsibly? Some CSR focuses on business practices and principles for example, Edelman, a global public relations agency, is known for initiating ethical training among employees. Since PR is often thought to be dishonest, Edelman's initiative is important to the field and to the profession, I also think ethics training develops a certain type of organizational culture. Lastly, we have environmental stewardship we see a lot of greenwashing or misleading consumers about the company's environmental practices or the environmental benefits of a particular product. Instead, this environmental stewardship is building a business that gives as much as it takes from the earth and the environment. Legos is a good example, they've made a commitment to reduce their carbon footprint and phase out single use plastic in all packaging by 2025. That means change a lot of change from the product that is being sold to the packaging and processing of the product, Legos making the commitment meant long term change. And though it might be painful in the short term, Legos recognize that investing in the brand now meant sustainability in the future, Legos has other CSR initiative, but that's just an example of environmental stewardship. There are different types of CSR engagement and so I like us to look at each briefly cost promotions means that a company is donating money to support or increase awareness for a cause or charity. As an example, Mcdonald's might match customer donations for the arthritis foundation. Cause related marketing means a company contributes to a cause or charity based on a percentage of sales revenues. For example, Gap might donate a dollar for every pair of jeans sold to the Red Foundation to end AIDS worldwide. Corporate social marketing is support for a behavior changing campaign to improve safety, health or the environment. For instance, Coors might fund a campaign to stop drinking and driving corporate philanthropy is when a company directly donates to a charity. For instance, Fedex donates money every year to ST Jude children's research hospital community volunteering is encouraging your employees to get involved in a cause by giving time off or offering a sabbatical so they can volunteer. Lastly, is socially responsible business practices, this means that companies adopt business practices to support a cause. For example, I mentioned Legos earlier and this change in day to day operations to make more sustainable, environmentally friendly products. That's an example of socially responsible business practices, Legos recognized the impact of their brand on the environment. And made long lasting changes so as to guarantee long term success by making these changes, Legos is proactively warding off potential future crises. There are some pillars of CSR that we should consider, this is a must have list for CSR. First, CSR efforts should be integrated with the company's mission and core values. But even more than that, CSR is a culture and a strategic planning process. When integrated with the brand, CSR should be relevant to the company's work, meaning the strategy should have a viable connection to a brand's core operation. If the CSR relationship is not perceived as congruent with the brand, then there are problems with authenticity and credibility. There must be stakeholder interest in CSR efforts. We as PR practitioners want to listen and respond to needs of the stakeholders. This demonstrates that two ways symmetrical communication and breeds trust. CSR should be part of the brand strategic plan, meaning it's part of our daily focus. Not simply an add on. CSR should aim to optimize the value created by CSR efforts and then leverage it to persuade stakeholders. Next SPR practitioners, we believe in evaluation. So it's important to evaluate and critically analyze our programs of communication. This implies that our communication objectives identify the root of the communication problem and that our research tactics are grounded in research. Lastly, and this is part of strategic planning CSR should be long term plans that allow management to build positive relationships with stakeholders in the community. Ultimately, CSR can positively impact a company's perceived reputation. CSR amplifies a good image. Building brand image or equity through CSR is not at all about opening a checkbook, it is about starting out with a value oriented philosophy as the foundation of a brand. The consumers of today expect organizations to help change the world even in the smallest of ways. It is common knowledge that a good brand is a reflection of quality, price, service, and attributes of a product that help distinguish one product from another. All these are factors that make a brand all that more appealing and influences consumers buying behaviour. However, being in the information age, customers often explore other factors as well that aid in their decision making process. Customer buying behavior is not necessarily based on product and service quality or price perception, but also on how ethical the company has performed in manufacturing its products and services. A good brand must provide a positive impact on its owner and also ensure that there is no negative impact to the general public. It means that brands must contribute positively to society by inserting ethical values, especially in the broader social context. Thus, a positive association of the brand with the general public will result. It has been shown experimentally that consumer knowledge regarding an organization CSR initiatives may lead to higher evaluation of the company and a more positive evaluation on the company's product. The true level of consumer awareness of such efforts is, however uncertain and may be quite low. This indicates the need to examine the role of customer awareness as organizations attempt to use CSR as a tool to create positive brand image. In the early 1980s, Johnson and Johnson's Tylenol brand suffered a catastrophic setback due to product tampering that resulted in the deaths of seven people in Chicago. News of Tylenol bottles being laced with cyanide quickly spread, creating a nationwide panic that that was expected to cause irreparable damage to the brand's image. Johnson and Johnson's response has been the gold standard for crisis communication. Johnson and Johnson placed customer concern ahead of profits, which doesn't happen very often. The company use media relations to alert consumers not to take Tylenol and to not resume until the extent of the tampering was determined. The company also stopped producing an advertising Tylenol and they withdrew the product from all the stores in the Chicagoland area. However, more contaminated bottles of Tylenol were soon discovered, so Johnson and Johnson took the major step of ordering a national recall of the brand. This demonstrated Johnson and Johnson's commitment to public safety. Beyond Media relation Johnson and Johnson also established a 1-800 hotline for consumers to call. They created a toll free line for media to call and receive recorded messages with the latest statements on the crisis. They held press conferences at the corporate headquarters and they created a triple safety seal packaging. All of this shows how PR was used as a management function. The crisis shaped Johnson and Johnson's public relations strategy from a passive to a proactive approach, the brand recovered the market share lost during the crisis and reestablished Tylenol as one of the most trusted over the counter consumer products. To wrap up this module, I want to point out how CSR overlaps with the foundational principles of public relations. CSR should only provide value to our brand's mission and offer a way to strategically plan. This is the management function I keep harping on. This ultimately sets public relations apart from stunts or publicity or buzz. We are about supporting the brand in achieving its long term vision.