A company’s efforts when it comes to corporate responsibility should be communicated more broadly than simply in the traditional annual general report. Beyond just reporting on the facts, consider how to communicate what your company is doing in relation to corporate responsibility through stories. Additionally, you should think about sharing these stories across a variety of channels both internally and externally.
Why corporate communication drives success
There are multiple benefits from sharing stories about your company’s endeavours with corporate responsibility. They not only make your current employees feel proud, but they also build brand loyalty with your existing customers. What’s more, stories about corporate responsibility can attract new employees and customers.
A great example comes from an email that was sent by the Co-Founder of Who Gives a Crap, Danny Alexander, during the onset of coronavirus restrictions last year.
Who Gives A Crap is a toilet paper manufacturer that my two daughters had recommended for some time, suggesting I should buy from them because they are an ethical company. Upon receiving the email mentioned above, I was influenced enough to start buying from them.
The email had an informal writing style and included an acknowledgement that the company was benefiting from the panic buying of toilet paper. It went on to explain that they would make an "immediate A$100,000 [US$77,300] donation to four charity partners that are helping the most vulnerable people deal with this global crisis".
They also advised that, in the coming weeks, they would have enough toilet paper for their customers but were sending the first batches to the people who needed it most. So, they donated 10,000 rolls of toilet paper to Foodbank Victoria, who help distribute household essentials to people in need near their team in Melbourne, and they were working with their people in the US and the UK to do the same.
That alone would have influenced me to start buying their toilet paper, but they went on to talk about what some of their employees were doing. This included Tiger, who had been grocery shopping for the elderly in LA. Jean, who helped organise vegetable donations for families in Manila. Amy, who donated 600 bars of soap to a village in Malawi, where she used to live. And my favourite, Bruce, who volunteered to teach his partner to drive in Taiwan’s empty streets, saying, "This may not be saving the world, but it is true bravery!"
The email wasn’t about their product; it was about their community, and it ended with, "Sorry if you were expecting this to be about new toilet paper. We’re still sold out, but I promise you we’re working on it.’
The stories shared kept me engaged and motivated to read the whole email. I also clicked through to all the links about their employees and customers. Subsequently, I am now a devoted purchaser of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper. It was the stories that I connected to, which made me purchase the product.
These stories have been actively communicated by Who Gives A Crap. The authenticity in them has created connection and engagement – the foundation of long-term brand loyalty.
How to pull it off
So when it comes to bringing your corporate responsibility efforts to life, consider three simple questions:
- Could you share stories about what your company is doing to support your community (but not have it feel like advertising)?
- Can you share stories of your employees doing good things in their community?
- Are you using a variety of channels to share these stories?
Get these right and you can look forward to customers seeking you out instead of the other way around.
Gabrielle Dolan is a global expert on business storytelling and real communication. She is also the author of Magnetic Stories: Connect with Customers and Engage Employees with Brand Storytelling.