3BL Blog

Viewers don’t want a polished sound bite machine, says author of book blasting media training

When I travel to Northampton, Massachusetts, to spend time at 3BL Media’s headquarters, I invariably walk away smarter about the way corporate social responsibility and sustainability communicators do their jobs.

My colleagues on 3BL Media’s media consultant team work closely with clients, publishing content and reporting back on the effectiveness of various media types.

While some content types ebb and flow in popularity, video remains a reliable performer. 

It’s no wonder.  YouTube is the second most trafficked website in the world, with 20 billion visits a month. ...

CR Software Platforms Share Big Data Findings

One of the benefits of running a digital platform used by corporate responsibility teams is being able to learn from the successes and mistakes of your clients, and to access big data to help demystify important issues.

For example, we were curious whether 3BL Media clients were increasing engagement around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Mining the 3BL Media news distribution platform showed a doubling of content referencing the SDGs in 2016 on top of a huge spike the prior...

Baltimore Utility Chief Emphasizes CSR Following Freddy Gray Death

Freddy Gray’s death while in the custody of Baltimore police pushed the riot-torn city’s only African America big company CEO into action, emphasizing corporate social responsibility to heal the scab that had been ripped off the community”

Baltimore Gas & Electric chief Calvin G. Butler Jr. said the 2015 death and racial strife pushed the 200-year-old utility to use the power of procurement in partnership with service providers and nonprofits to hire and train more people from inner city neighborhoods.

“The economic divide was getting wider and wider,” Butler said of...

Corporate Reputation Drives Both Kinds of CCO

All CCOs are not created equally. But they’re getting closer.

After decades working alongside chief communications officers, I figured other corporate professional masquerading under the CCO acronym had little in common with the wordsmiths who manage corporate messaging.

That myth was exploded when I attended a gathering of the other CCO-- chief compliance officers – and realized their concerns about corporate reputation were completely aligned with the ink-stained wretches who manage comms.

The occasion was the Global Ethics Summit, an annual conference presented by...

Aspiring to be a Mensch: Big Budget TV Spots Lead with Social Impact Messages

Being a mensch seems to connect with consumers.

Two big-budget national TV ad campaigns – one from pharma giant Pfizer and the other from the wealth management firm Ameriprise Financial – are trying to drive sales through storylines involving the kind of social impact work usually reserved for nonprofits and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

In the case of Pfizer, taking the fibromyalgia drug Lyrica allows a man to do what he loves, donning a blue “volunteer” shirt and ...

Box of Chocolates Triggers ‘V-Waste Guilt’

As someone who spends quite a bit of time with sustainability professionals, I try to minimize my own environmental footprint. 

So it was a bummer earlier this week when my efforts to be a good husband and green-minded consumer generated unwanted V-waste. 

My Valentine’s Day shopping routine was disrupted because the New York City jewelry and chocolate stores where I routinely bought gifts had both recently closed, presumably the victims of steep midtown Manhattan rent hikes.

Rather than undocking a Citibike and pedaling a mile or two to buy a pound of delicious...

‘Transformative Power of Transparency’ Tops on New GRI Chief’s Agenda

Unlike another world leader who is one month into his new job, Tim Mohin has heralded his new administration at GRI by kicking off a global listening tour.

A veteran sustainability officer at tech giants like AMD, Apple and Intel, Mohin has yet to issue any sweeping executive orders.  He took his roadshow to Phoenix this week for the “GRI Reporters’ Summit” and received input from companies using the Global Reporting Initiative’s standards to keep stakeholders briefed on environmental, social and governance issues.

“I know that reporting can be a positive force for change,”...

Everyday is Earth Day for Minneapolis Media Focused on Sustainability

Unlike many cities where Sunday newspaper readership has tanked, plenty of Minneapolis residents still treasure delivery of a chunky Star Tribune as part of their weekend routine.

“It’s our meal ticket,” Business Editor Thom Kupper said of the 580,000-circulation Sunday edition during a 3BL Media event for sustainability communicators.

Those pitching Minnesota’s largest daily need to understand that the “digital first” mantra adhered to by print outlets in some markets does not apply for his team. 

Kupper, whose business reporting team numbers 17, is continually...

Election Weighs Heavily as Sustainable Business Execs Gather in DC

Congress returned to work Monday for a lame duck session following last week’s election. Today, hundreds of corporate social responsibility (CSR) executives head to Washington hoping their sustainable business missions are not up-ended by a Donald Trump presidency.

The elephant in the room at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 2016 Corporate Citizenship Conference is whether campaign rhetoric turns into policy, and whether business leaders will stay the course on ambitious social impact and environmental initiatives.

I will be attending the conference, themed “Progress...

Kumquat is the New S-word

If there’s any one topic that people working in sustainability can agree, it’s that their sector has an identity problem.

Acronyms abound. EHS, ESG, CSR and CR are just a few. There are professionals who feel that Social Purpose or Shared Value address both human rights and environmental issues. But just as many execs are solidly in the Sustainability camp. 

Joel Makower, the winning author and chairman of GreenBiz Group, says that the kids he interacts with will invariably describe the world they want to live in using sustainability language but without using “the S word.”...

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