May 01, 2018

Four steps to a better CSR communications strategy

Tim Woodall, a strategist in Addison’s Sustainability and CSR practice, recently participated in a 3BL Media webinar (see the webcast), “Trends in CR and Sustainability Reporting.” Below are some of Tim’s ideas for improving your CSR communications strategy.

There is a lot of work going into CSR and sustainability reporting, but it’s not clear that companies are getting the most out of their efforts. Companies must get the right messages to the right people, and stakeholders must be able to find the information they are looking for. Here are four tips that can help:

1. Use all available channels

Think of your report as a central hub of information to draw upon, not as a destination. You can then plan to release report content on a regular basis, in places where your stakeholders consistently go for information.

2. Match the message to the audience

Give people what they want—easily, comprehensively and credibly. Your targeted outreach must match your audiences’ interests. And if you can get the right messaging and content to employees and customers, they will become your greatest brand ambassadors.

3. Create a hierarchy of messaging

CSR report readers can be classified to varying degrees, as either “skimmers” or “divers.” Ensure that your information exists at the different levels that meet their needs. And back up any claims with examples and data points.

4. Develop a road map to integrated reporting

Connect your sustainability and CSR strategy to your overall business strategy. Initial steps may include enhancing your annual report or 10-K with sustainability highlights. An increasing number of companies are now releasing their CSR reports closer to their annual meetings, even issuing them simultaneously. And the more sophisticated companies are combining the annual and CSR reports, offering complete information in a unified document.

To learn more about communicating your CSR report content effectively, listen to the webcast.

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