How to embed CSR on a shoestring

Big companies have the financial flexibility to implement big CSR programs. But what about the little guys? For small to mid-sized companies with smaller coffers it can be difficult to find the resources to properly incorporate community focused objectives.

One way to overcome this resource scarcity is by bolting CSR objectives onto another business function. The case below presents us with Clarendon Homes, a building company operating in News South Wales and Queensland that has used their marketing budget to achieve CSR outcomes whilst also improving reputation and leveraging their brand. Take a look at the brief film below. Be warned, there may be tears.

Clarendon’s advertising and media strategy here is to partner with Sydney radio station KIIS 106.5′s The Kyle and Jackie O Show, as part of their ‘Giveback’ series. Initially their media spend results in prime time brand acknowledgement on air across the Sydney metropolitan area, whilst simultaneously helping a member of the community care for her family and work through very difficult emotional circumstances.

Audiences love these emotionally targeted advertising pieces. We are curious about the human reaction to overwhelming generosity, and companies are aware of this, secretly filming reactions to unusual and heart-warming moments. By tying itself to this initiative, Clarendon Homes has differentiated itself from the competition as a caring and humanised family brand, rather than one of many faceless building companies around the country. It creates goodwill around the brand, ensuring alignment with community values and the ideals of current and prospective customers. It also shows that they can assist to fill a very specific and personal need; a crucial element for those designing a new home.

In using a community focused strategy Clarendon Homes have successfully met their advertising targets of brand recognition and retention whilst simultaneously achieving their socially responsible outcomes by adding social welfare value to members of the community.

Merging of these functions works well for smaller organisations, however we are seeing some large corporations start to create goodwill from their advertising. Recently Samsung got in on the game, by teaching an entire town sign language to give a deaf man one perfect day; this was advertising a new video helpline to assist the hearing impaired use their services in Turkey.

If you are on a tight budget trying to service multiple needs, have a think about how your media and advertising budget is spent. If you think creatively there are definitely ways you can help your community and embed your company as a household name and a brand of choice.

Comments? Questions? Queries? Let me know what you think!

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