Grand Prize: CSR Agency of the Year

Weber Shandwick mobilizes global branches to bring new thinking, passion to clients’ CSR

Weber Shandwick is doing for international CSR what Bill Gates did for malaria research: Instead of playing the old game better, invent a new game with bigger goals and vaster resources.

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You’ll have to pardon the folks at Weber Shandwick: They’re perhaps a little less interested in advising on old-style corporate-giving campaigns for their clients than they once were. You know, the kind of giving that splits its largesse more or less evenly among 10 to 100 beneficiaries, each receiving from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars every year. 

There! Our civic duty’s done for the year. Come back during next year’s giving period, please. 

Just as Bill and Melinda sidestepped traditional scientific and epidemiological thinking about how to eliminate malaria, so has the Weber Shandwick team decided that, while the United Way is fine, excellent, there’s also room for revolutionary, holistic new thinking about vast social problems. And the agency is determined to be a player in this new CSR game.

For its path-breaking work in 2014 to bring powerful new forces and apple-cart-upsetting new ideas to global CSR, Weber Shandwick is the clear winner of the Grand Prize: CSR Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

What did the Weber Shandwick team do in 2014 to carry off our big prize? This:
• Big corporations search for causes that are a good fit for their businesses. Weber Shandwick devoted itself to finding these perfect matches for its clients.
• The agency’s Social Impact Team zeroed in on how its clients Nike, Unilever, and Nestlé each built shared value, equity, and sustainability—and Weber Shandwick created employee, consumer, and public engagement with these values and goals for each of the three companies.
• Weber Shandwick’s Project Sunlight for Unilever publicized the deeds of remarkable young people and boosted causes to improve the health, well-being, and future of all children.
• The agency assisted Bank of America in launching the bank’s “Elizabeth Street Capital” venture, which gives women entrepreneurs mentoring and access to capital.
• In partnership with KRC Research, Weber Shandwick produced the report “Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism,” finding a new social cause sparked by social media. The report shows organizations how to ignite activism in employees and employee groups.
• Weber Shandwick practices what it preaches; its Impact Project, started in 2013, urges its offices around the globe to do pro bono work in three areas: the environment and sustainability, education, and technology.

That’s the short list of Weber Shandwick’s 2014 CSR achievements. Congratulations to the idealists in 126 Weber Shandwick offices in 81 countries who made possible this transformation in the agency’s thinking about an important slice of its business.

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