Can content play a role in corporate social responsibility?

29/Nov/2014 · 1 MINS READ

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not only emerging as a trend in business, it’s becoming a vital component of how businesses operate. How larger brands prove their place in the CSR realm is soon to be essential to the way they are perceived by both their consumers and competitors.

But how can content marketing play a role here?

Next week Brandalism is heading to Nepal to produce content for a client who is carrying out charity work. During this trip we aim to discover the place of content marketing within the CSR landscape and how brands can start to make an impact in this space.

The challenge however, was outlined quite clearly by a business we spoke to recently:

“How can we prove that investing a few thousand dollars in video content will be worth more to the charity than just making a direct cash donation?”

To answer this question we need to start with what we know:

The recent ALS ice-bucket challenge is an example of content playing a significant role in the generation of charity awareness and millions upon millions of dollars.

However, we also know that the success of this campaign was based on user-generated content (UGC) and its viral nature.

So how can a single business that doesn’t rely on UGC or viral campaigns see success in this space?

My thoughts are that it comes down to a similar theory – if brands can produce on-the-ground video content that demonstrates their involvement with their partner charity then they are helping the charity tap into an audience they may not normally have access to – as well as giving the charity marketing collateral to use in future.

The client we’re heading to Nepal with put it this way, which I think shows some forward-thinking in this space:

“By going to Nepal and creating content that everybody can use we are not only helping our charity but we are helping to spread their message to a far greater network of people. Our major aim while helping over there is to generate content that both the charity and our business can use in order to build long-term awareness.”

It’s about spreading a message and CSR content can help this happen in a huge way.

While I anticipate that next week will be massively eye-opening in terms of content investment vs. return for the charity, here’s how I initially see it: