In CSR, Dialogue and Substance Each Inform the Other - A blog by Perry Goldschein

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In CSR, Dialogue and Substance Each Inform the Other - A blog by Perry Goldschein

Perry Goldschein is a serial entrepreneur, marketing guy and recovering lawyer with a decade of experience in sustainability fields. Prior to SDialogue, Perry founded SRB Marketing, Inc., a full-service web marketing firm focused on sustainably-minded cli
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In CSR, Dialogue and Substance Each Inform the Other


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these blogger soffer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.   

Friday, November 27, 2009 - 8:22am


Just read an outstanding article on corporate social responsibility at  C. B. Bhattacharya, a distinguished professor at the European School of Management and Technology and Boston University, really hits some important CSR insights spot on.

Despite CSR’s increasing importance in board rooms and among C-level executives, they often “don’t understand the most effective ways to design and implement sustainability programs,” Bhattacharya says.  As a result, “they can’t fully capitalize on the potential [CSR] has for creating business value, and they are achieving little with it despite all their interest,” he adds.

So far, most businesses have focused on the “low-hanging fruit” of CSR.  They have focused on easy-win strategies or activities with direct commercial benefits, such as energy-efficiency initiatives.  This misses the bigger picture.

What Bhattacharya says he is slowly starting to see is a “second wave of corporate responsibility behavior marked by a clearer focus on the total business value such policies can bring.”  “To fully benefit from corporate responsibility, businesses . . . must start by seeing where and how key stakeholders react to a firm’s corporate responsibility initiatives,” which “involves moving away from a top-down strategy determined by the board to a richer process of bottom-up co-creation with stakeholders.” [emphasis added]

Bhattacharya then talks about using focus groups and “other marketing research techniques to understand the deeper psychological needs that corporate responsibility can answer for stakeholders, such as the self-esteem and pride that a consumer can draw from affiliating with a socially responsible company.”  I’m surprised he doesn’t mention social media in this regard, which my firm now considers one of the most powerful such tools for understanding and learning from target audiences. 

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