Communication is at the Heart of CSR Strategy - True communication requires both a speaker and a listener, ideally taking turns. You might have the best story in the world to tell, but if no one is listening, then your communication strategy is not very effective. The digital age has paved way for a dynamic era of corporate communication. Everything from blogs and RSS feeds to webinars and social media give organizations new tools with which to interact directly with their stakeholders. Such interactive communications are often referred to as viral, because ideas and opinions spread through the network via word‐of‐mouth and are usually perceived as highly trustworthy sources. Online communication has potential to create a ripple effect that grows as it reaches wider audiences. And social media empowers users to engage with organizations on a myriad of issues. So why not CSR?
These online networks are effective monitoring tools as they could feature early warning signals of trending topics. And, in the case of CSR communications, they can help business communicators and marketers to identify and follow the latest sustainability issues. The most effective CSR reporting will be mindful both of the company’s achievements, and the priorities of the people who will read the report: employees, customers, community representatives, NGOs, and yes, shareholders. Integrating their priorities into your CSR strategy can help you maximize the impact of your reporting. But how?