Webinar Recap: The Radically Engaged Business – A 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Encore Presentation with Carol Cone

Sep 6, 2012 9:00 PM ET

Volunteering Is CSR

For the August edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we spoke with Carol Cone, the renowned "mother of cause marketing" and Global Chair of Edelman Business + Social Purpose. This webinar was an encore presentation of Carol’s 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit keynote speech, where she wowed audiences with her thoughts on building a purpose-driven business and developing a successful cause marketing strategy.

Here are a few of Carol’s key take-away points.

Employee engagement is key.

According to a recent Gallup study, organizations with high employee engagement had a 3.9 times higher earnings per share growth than those with low employee engagement. Furthermore, engaged employees put in 57% more effort and were 87% less likely to leave the company than disengaged employees.

Employees are the center of your brand, and they can be the center of your cause marketing campaign, too. Happy, productive employees can push your business and cause forward, leading to essential future growth.

Adapt to an evolving marketplace — and consumer.

Carol emphasized the importance of understanding that we live in a world in transition, where many social issues are at play. The modern "citizen consumer" is an empowered member of a shifting marketplace, where customers expect transparency and social responsibility.

86% of global consumers believe that businesses should value social issues as highly as profits. Additionally, a recent Edelman study found that, when choosing between two products with equivalent prices and functions, a consumer is more likely to choose the one that promotes a cause. These consumers are also highly active on various social media platforms, making them more aware and empowered than ever. They expect authenticity and accountability — and they’ll be able to tell if your company’s efforts are not genuine. Make sure you’re using technology effectively, and that your social media efforts mirror your investment in social issues.

Tell your story.

Finally, Carol discussed the importance of storytelling in communicating a company’s socially responsible policy and impact. It’s important to focus your efforts on one issue that aligns with your organization’s industry and audience. Only after you’ve chosen a relevant cause should you select a partner.

Then, you can begin to shape your narrative, using personal anecdotes and compelling language to form an accessible and inspiring story. Don’t brag about your accomplishments; instead, aim to connect with individuals.

So what exactly is a radically engaged business? It’s an organization that has adapted to a changing world, marketplace, employee and consumer. A radically engaged business knows that corporate social responsibility isn’t just a feel-good addition to your marketing strategy. Investment in social issues is essential for your future growth and continued survival in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Watch the full webinar here.

Don’t miss our next Best Practice Network Webinar on September 13. Register today for What's the Difference? Exploring the Convergence of Cause Marketing & CSR Craig Bida of Cone Communications and Dave Stangis of Campbell Soup Company!