On Nov. 28, Patagonia CEO Rose Mercario announced in a LinkedIn post that the company would be putting $10 million—the amount it received in tax returns following Trump administration tax cuts—toward alleviating the harmful effects of “human-caused climate disruption.” Here are some lessons learned from Patagonia’s initiative.
TOMS has pledged to donate $5 million toward ending gun violence. This is the largest single corporate donation toward gun control in U.S. history. The initiative has received an outpouring of positive press coverage and social media engagement. And as a mission-driven brand, TOMS has often led the pack insofar as social and online messaging around social good initiatives over the years. Here are three best-in-class solutions TOMS deployed for its latest campaign that communicators can apply to their own CSR messaging.
Vaporizer manufacturer JUUL Labs has gotten out in front of looming regulations on the e-cigarette industry by transforming its brand into stewards of legitimate and responsible vape use. Yesterday, the brand announced it would cease sales of its four flavored vape pods in all of the 90,000+ retail stores that currently carry its products, and delete all social media accounts but Twitter.
The amount of corporate attention to the 2018 midterms during the last few months is a sign that the relationship between companies, consumers and politics is undergoing a significant and permanent change. Brand publicity in this election cycle is a harbinger of what’s to come as consumers expect brands to take stands on relevant issues.
Even just a couple of years ago brands were more than a bit cautious when wading into social and political issues. Things are different now. Consider the size and scope of the 56 companies that signed a letter yesterday protesting rule changes for transgender people. Still, brands need to be careful when taking stands on social and political issues.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage at Wednesday’s International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners open session and took a pot shot “platform and algorithms” that “weaponize personal data,” as senior executives from Facebook and Google watched in silence. His words support the increasingly popular belief among communicators that social media regulation will actually be good for the big platforms, as it leads to improved user trust.
Communicators in the CSR and sustainability space often need to be opportunistic as they search for ways to build their programs. Using the United Nations General Assembly as an example, Judith Rowland of FleishmanHillard provides tips communicators can use to leverage opportunities at large meetings of public and private leaders.
Despite the demand for transparency, traditional thinking still holds that when brands receive bad news they should do their best to keep it quiet. When a brand disrupts this pattern and amplifies its bad news, it becomes newsworthy. This describes the case of a gunmaker that issued a press release when its bank refused to continue doing business with it.
The idea that most Americans have lost the ability to speak civilly to each other in these uncertain times may not be Robert Reich’s alone, but he offered an imperative specific to the 2,500+ communicators at the international PRSA confab—in an age when people don’t know how to talk to each other, or how to listen, it’s communications pros who must act as stewards and promoters of civility. “You are people who set the tone very much for what we and how we communicate,” Reich says. “And there is now a vitriol, and anger in the system. We are not communicating.”
Brands make sustainability commitments all the time. Some gain headlines and go viral. Others receive little or no coverage. A veteran of sustainability communications, FleishmanHillard SVP Bob Axelrod, offers four tips to ensure your sustainability efforts and other CSR work will receive the coverage it merits.