Four Top Mistakes Experts See in Online CSR Communication

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Four Top Mistakes Experts See in Online CSR Communication

by James Osborne
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Online #CSR Comms: People want to hear real stories - the myth of perfection doesn’t fool #sustainability @CSRwire

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 12:30pm


After a long and often tortuous process of collecting information and then drafting, reviewing, approving and proof-reading, there it is: the sustainability content ready for your website.

And yet, when it seems that the hardest choices have been made, there it comes, the external opinion, the outside perspective. It’s the most unpredictable part of the process due to the variety of people out there with differing habits, expectations and opinions. What’s more, on-screen reading habits mean users will absorb only a small fraction of your actual content.

At Lundquist, we’ve been asking experts, professionals and stakeholders what frustrates them most while navigating corporate sustainability information online and engaging with companies. It’s research we’ve been doing over the past years as part of the CSR Online Awards, drawing on input from 1,600 people. We’ve been looking at the initial reactions in our latest survey, currently ongoing. Here are top four errors to avoid, according to the people who spend most time sifting through online CSR disclosures:

1. Presenting activities only in a flattering light or “spinning” everything with a positive angle

The experts’ advice: People always have their “PR goggles” on to help them peer through the bright veneer of corporate communications to the plain facts beyond. They want to form an opinion upon merits, not to be persuaded. So even when a project or initiative meets targets, do not overlook the fact that in order to reach positive results your company faced challenges and hard times. People want to hear real stories - the myth of perfection doesn’t fool. There is no reason to be scared of presenting drawbacks and (why not?) stressing the fact that your company had all the credentials for overcoming them.

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James is partner and head of sustainability at Lundquist, a strategic online communications consultancy in Milan (LinkedIn profile). Building on over a decade of experience in international journalism, he helps bridge the gap between companies and their audiences and develop strategies for enhancing relationships within a digital environment.

Keywords: Media & Communications | Business & Trade | Corporate Social Responsibility