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Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR Causes

Can a business cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions? Dilmah, a Sri Lankan tea company, with a global presence, announced its carbon neutral status for its products, early this year. Here’s why it matters to the rest of the world: Currently, businesses account for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption. The longer it takes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the climate impact becomes more dramatic: from rising sea levels threatening Pacific islands to extreme weather patterns sparking fierce forest fires.

Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR CausesSource: Dilmah Tea

Dilmah’s tea production involves a complex process which traditionally requires firewood and electricity to dry the tea leaves. With two new mini-hydropower stations at Dilmah’s tea estate, this brand has achieved carbon neutral status for its products in early 2019 after embarking on this journey since 2011. This is Dilmah’s contribution to corporate social responsibility (CSR), and part of the core brand values that it seeks to convey to discerning tea consumers across the world.

The temptation is for business executives to view CSR as just another passing fad. But as customers, employees, and suppliers—and, indeed, society—place increasing importance on CSR, this is an opportunity for Asian businesses to look at it as an opportunity to globalize their brand while contributing to society at the same time. Therefore, how can a business optimize communication of their CSR initiatives to their target audiences?

Differentiate your communication strategy with precise positioning and targeting

Businesses are placing an increased importance on CSR – Among the largest 250 companies in the world, 92% produced a CSR report in 2015, informing shareholders and the public about the firm’s activities. When my team asks ourselves, “Which brand’s CSR campaign can I remember?”, we struggle to recall any brand as undifferentiated CSR campaigns do not leave an impression on target audiences.

When we look at the brands that have enjoyed CSR success, these brands tend to invest long-term in focus areas based on their own product characteristics and community needs. As an example, Honeywell seeks to address community needs into its CSR activities while stressing its industrial products enable a safer, more comfortable and more productive world. This company has been promoting a series of activities related to children’s fire safety education in China and Malaysia while using compelling statistics to explain why this is an area of focus, “265,000 childhood deaths worldwide occur as a result of fire-related burns each year, with a majority of them occurring in low- and middle-income countries. More than half the deaths take place within the Southeast Asia region, including Malaysia, where it is reported that one child dies every two weeks due to fires or other burns.”

Program in Malaysia to educate children about fire and burn safety.

Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR CausesSource: Honeywell

It is clear from the above example that good CSR campaigns can involve relatively less-known causes. But how can brands find the right fit for their CSR initiatives and when is the optimal timing to launch a PR campaign related to specific causes? By setting up keywords of their vertical and competitors on Cision Communication Cloud, brands may analyze trending CSR-related topics based on indicators of media and social media mentions. For your reference, our team has listed a couple of commonly seen topics and the associated timings when campaigns were launched:

Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR Causes

Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR Causes

Multimedia press release about support for the World Wildlife Fund to conduct a biodiversity survey. Source: GAC

Reaching out to the right media channels

In our opinion, an untargeted CSR campaign is an unoptimized campaign. Our suggestion is for brands to ask themselves, “Which media is following my CSR stories?”, “Which CSR topics are attracting the most views?.” Reaching out to the right media channels is critical to amplify the relevant brand messages and increases brand credibility.

Cision Communication Cloud also helps companies precisely targeting media contacts and social media influencers by filtering industries, locations, trending topics, extracting qualified media contact lists based on their preferences and previous publications. For instance, we have generated a list of global media who mentioned the Earth Day (April 22nd) in early March. Brands can now quickly reach out to specific journalists to seed and pitch stories.

Winning Partnerships: Positioning Your Company Behind the Right CSR Causes

As Asian brands play an increasingly important role in the global economy, CSR is emerging as an important tool to globalize their brand. Through a more data-driven approach, Asian brands may tap a holistic communication platform such as Cision Communication Cloud to convey their core corporate values, address possibly lesser-known but worthy community needs, shortlist the right media channels and when to approach these channels in their CSR activities.

If your brand is seeking to test drive our media monitoring services, you are welcome to email our team at