Build a Better CSR Strategy With the Crowd

In the United States, consensus is hard to come by; in most political elections, a 60-40
majority is considered a landslide. So it means something when 91% of Americans agree that, “Companies should not only invest socially but also operate responsibly.” Who knows what the 9% minority was thinking, but regardless, demand for corporate social responsibility (CSR) is high.

Yet talk is cheap, and Americans know it. In the same poll, part of the 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, a mere 31% of respondents said that they would be more likely to buy a product from a csr2company that talks publicly about their CSR mission. By contrast, a full 69% percent said that they would be more likely to buy a product from a company that talked publicly about its CSR results. As Jonathan Yohannan, the Executive Vice President of Cone Communications’ put it, “purpose is no longer in enough. ‘proving is purpose’ is the new mantra for effective CSR.”

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Still, in the flurry of promises and potentially vague results, it’s easy for your company’s initiatives to get lost in the weeds. The solution that many brands have turned to is simple: if you want your customers to know about and believe in what you are doing, involve them in the process.

This is where crowdsourcing comes in. Why attempt to guess what your consumers want from your CSR initiatives when you can let them tell you? The most renowned integration of crowdsourcing and a CSR program was 2010 Pepsi Refresh Project, which gave away $20 million in grants to winners of monthly voting campaigns . Yet even on a much smaller scale, projects can make a difference. Last month we wrote about Polartec’s $10,000 grant giveaway that struck a chord with college outing clubs, one of their target market segments.

Crowdvoting works particularly well for CSR campaigns for a number of reasons. First, consumers have become all too accustomed to overblown mission statements. Does anyone really believe that Walmart is “driving meaningful change in a way that no other company can” just because they say so? A crowdsourced CSR campaign puts everything above the table for your customers to see; your meaningful work can be recognized as more than just chatter.  Second, crowdvoting CSR initiatives turn your audience into your evangelists. If structured correctly, you don’t need to spread the word about the work you’re doing, because those trying to win support are doing it for you. Third, there is ample opportunity to involve members of your own organization–employees or other stakeholders–to ensure that your mission and values are shared.

Of course, building a crowdvoting tool from scratch can be both costly and time consuming, and ultimately direct dollars away from the more important work they could be doing. Launcht is proud to offer accessible corporate social responsibility crowdsourcing platforms that can serve as both an effective agent of good business practices and a tool for an integrated marketing strategy.

Learn more about our white label crowdvoting platforms here.

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