Tag Archives: Business

Corporate Social Responsibility: Less Human, More Being

As an event marketing professional, planning trade shows and conferences for corporations, I see a lot of waste and opportunities to give back.  When I started out in this field about 15 years ago, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was not really talked about.  In the past 5 years, I have noticed a huge shift in the corporate mindset of how an event is planned and executed.  CSR has become a priority, and is at the forefront of planning each and every event program that I am involved with.

In this blog, I am going to touch on a brief history of CSR, why it’s important, and talk about how I can utilize CSR practices in my role as an event manager.

What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

Although I have seen variations on the definition, Corporate Social Responsibility is the accountability a company has for its impact on society and the environment.

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A concern for social responsibility can be traced back to the 1930s.  However in the 1950’s we saw the start of the modern era, where Howard Bowen published a book called the Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, and coined the phrasecorporate social responsibility”.  In the book, Bowen states that “the largest business firms are vital centers of power and decision, and actions of these firms touch the lives of the American people at many points”.  He asks the question “what responsibilities to society can business people be reasonably expected to assume?”  These thoughts were revolutionary for the time.  Bowen has later become known as the “father of CSR”.

The notion of CSR has evolved since Bowen’s era, and the concept of CSR has grown from a company’s sense of responsibility not only towards the community, but towards the environment in which it operates.

What I have also come to realize is that corporations are not the only entities to have an effect on social and ecological systems, but we as consumers can make a powerful impact.

I recently watched a TEDx video on YouTube called From Me First to We First by Simon Mainwaring.  Mainwaring’s premise that prosperity is no longer the wealth of a few, but the well-being of many opens your eyes to shared humanity.  This idea to shift from personal self-interest to mutual self-interest had a profound effect on me.

Social media provides us with an opportunity to celebrate companies on the basis of their social responsibility, and make a personal, purposeful contribution to society by consuming goods and services that give back.  Mainwaring states “What we do in our daily lives can play a role in this me first, we first transformation, and help capitalism grow up”.

 

So why is CSR so important?

There is a consumer demand for more purpose-driven and sustainable practices along with an expectation on corporations, as influencers, to contribute to social and environmental realms.   Building relationships with customers is the cornerstone of any successful business.  Having socially responsible policies in place can impact the decisions of these customers.  In fact, the next generation, (Millennials) have a higher demand for CSR and transparency to ensure companies are conducting their business in an ethical way.

With today’s digital era, social media platforms have allowed everyone to have a voice and it can make or break a company’s reputation and affect their bottom line.  Some benefits of CSR engagement are:

  • Positive business reputation/public image
  • Increased customer sales & customer loyalty
  • Better brand recognition
  • B2B partnerships
  • Positive work environment
  • Financial profit from sustainable principles
  • Environmental innovations for technology and techniques

 

How Can I Utilize CSR Practices As An Event Manager?

Have you have ever stuck around after a trade show and witnessed the wastefulness of materials during the break-down?  Have you seen the tables filled with food left virtually untouched during a conference?

Events take a heavy toll on our resources, society and the environment. They can generate significant waste and even cause tension in local communities.

Ask yourself the question “How can my event achieve the same outcome with minimal negative impacts on the environment, communities and local economy?”

Then educate yourself on sustainable practices in the event industry and implement them.  Research local charities near your next event venue.  More often that not, hotels and convention centers have a CSR program in place and can help you in the donation of goods after an event.

 

There are massive opportunities to make a significant social and ecological impact when planning events:

SOCIAL:

  • If you have samples of products or goods, find a local charity to donate to after the event is over
  • Dedicate time for an employee/attendee service project and give back to the local community
  • Instead of swag, make a donation to a charity. Have attendees vote for their favorite charity to donate to.
  • Do not put all of the food ordered out right away, instead, put out smaller quantities and refill. Work with venue to package up and donate untouched food to a shelter or food pantry.
  • Instead of renting costly Audio Visual equipment, purchase some of these items locally, and donate them to a charity after the event is over
  • Donate a portion of the registration fee to a local charity or organization
  • Offer a discount on event fee for a donation to a local charity or organization

Several years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency cited the meeting and event industry as one of the most wasteful industries in America.  Event organizers have stepped up their game to focus on sustainable practices:

ECOLOGICAL:

  • Select venues and suppliers that have CSR policies in place and that are eco-conscious
  • Cut down on printing collateral, or print minimal assets on recyclable paper
  • Utilize digital communication when possible for invites, collateral, etc.
  • Ensure recycle bins are widely available at your event
  • Analyze your booth property for eco-friendly alternatives: Are graphics multi-use? Are they printed on eco-friendly material?  Are we using LED lighting?
  • Cut down on the number of staff attending an event. Make sure that everyone going has a purpose. This will also save money on airfare, per diem, hotel costs, and reduce your carbon footprint
  • Instead of bottled water, have water stations with glasses, or recyclable cups
  • Find ways to utilize natural décor and materials or utilize multi use materials
  • Produce as little waste as possible and consider the environmental impacts when ordering food, drink, meeting supplies, transportation and overall planning

 

In conclusion, as a planner of meetings and events, you must ensure that CSR practices meet the needs of your corporate mission without compromising the successfulness of the event.

As an individual consumer, we have a choice to purchase goods and services from corporations that give back to society–Do your research before purchasing!

Maximizing positive impacts will do more for the greater good of humanity and leave a legacy to be proud of, both personally and professionally.

–Lisa Leach

–Follow me on Instagram

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Benefits of Social Media On: Businesses

It is obvious by now that social media has taken over the way that people and companies advertise and communicate, but how? The changes are significant and have their benefits. In this three-part blog series, I will be explaining the benefits of social media’s influence on three major subjects: visual media, music artists, and businesses. These posts will hopefully be informative to those who don’t know about the benefits in relation to these topics, as well as entertain those who do know the benefits, and hopefully teach them something they don’t know. 

Welcome!

Over the course of the last two posts I talked about the benefits of social media on visual media and music artists. This time, I will explain how social media benefits startups and existing businesses.

The rise of social media has created a new way for businesses to market themselves in clever ways while simultaneously reaching a wide audience, for relatively low cost. Matt Risinger, a sort of building scientist, discovered the advantage of using YouTube to promote his business. As quoted in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Risinger said,”I didn’t get huge traction at first, but I kept going. Even though I might have only 300 views on a video, one of those people watching might be an architect in Austin who would say something to me. Or maybe it was a potential client who watched before they interviewed me for their project. They felt like they knew me at a meeting—even though I’d never met them before—because they could watch a video of me. I got enough feedback that made me realize this was worthwhile” (Scott, 2017 p. 97). This is a textbook example of how video content can benefit a business. Picking this quote apart, we not only see that video content is obviously helpful for visually showing off a product or service, but it can be used to instill a feeling of confidence, or credibility for the business and its people. Risinger started out with a cheap camera and little viewers, but now has a larger audience and much higher quality video content.

By now it is not too difficult to figure out how businesses can exclusively benefit from social media, but Business2Community.com mentioned one benefit that maybe isn’t everyone’s first thought. This benefit is called competitive analysis, and this is what Dhariana Lozano of Business2Community.com has to say about it: “You can use social media to target your competition’s fans, see what they may be doing that you can improve on – or simply identify ways to stand out within your industry” (Lozano, 2016).  This is an interesting angle that seems only achievable on social media, where all marketing is focused and public.

There obviously are more advantages for businesses who utilize social media, but I covered a couple here in this post.

It is east to see how much social media platforms have positively affected many people and entities such as visual media, music artist, and businesses. I hope that over the course of these posts, you have learned something and have a positive outlook on social media.

Thank you for reading!

Sources:

https://www.business2community.com/social-media/10-key-benefits-social-media-business-01461178

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott (2017)

 

Fortune 7 Billion: How Much Value Is In Your Personal Entity?

Survival of the Fittest – Separating Yourself from the Pack:

Competition is fierce and times are changing faster than ever. With the amount of opportunities that are made available to us all, how do you plan to take advantage of those opportunities presented to you?

The Importance of Building and Developing Your Own Company:

Building and developing your personal corporation adds tremendous value in your personal and professional endeavors, allowing you to further leverage your skills and experiences to capitalize on opportunities that would have been absent and hard to find otherwise.

As a young entrepreneur who is looking to establish him or herself in there respected industry, it is a must you start immediately on this life-long project, by focusing on tasks that propel your career tenfold.

Self-Education:

Self-Education is the key to achieving success. Although we all are trying to find time to do more of the things we enjoy in life, carefully putting together a learning plan that allows you to take small incremental steps towards getting better is key to our success.

My Personal Learning Plan:

My personal learning plan consists of the following: read 1 book every month and schedule a meeting with at least one mentor per month. As you can see my personal learning plan is not complex at all, but it allows me to continue to grow and reach higher levels.

I find the most value in choosing a piece of literature that meets an area you would like to become more knowledgeable in such as marketing, branding, sales, writing, etc.

Mentorship:

I also suggest building relationships with well-established professionals who may serve as a mentor to you to provide you with personal feedback and insight on their personal experiences.

Here is an article that further supports mentorship and why it is important to your success.

Marketing and Branding:

How you handle yourself on social media is another aspect that we all need to think about. Often times, people on social media are too careless and are unaware of the consequences their online activities may be causing. This is also a huge part of adding value to your personal entity, as it may be the first and only things people see prior to meeting you.