How we aligned CSR with our unique selling proposition

Peppercomm’s founder and CEO explains how its benevolence dovetails with its raison d’être. The surprising cohesive element: stand-up comedy.

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I’m surprised that so many corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have nothing whatsoever to do with the organization’s unique selling proposition (USP).

When I ask why, I often hear, “I inherited it and have far too many other fires to put out without having to worry whether our CSR is aligned with our go-to-market strategy.”

Failing to prioritize the link between CSR and USP is a lost opportunity. At Peppercomm, we take a different approach.

In the beginning

More than a decade ago, I incorporated stand-up and improvisational comedy in our training and development program. I did so after performing stand-up as a sort of bucket list item, thinking it would be a one-and-done. It wasn’t. The emcee that night pulled me aside and said: “You weren’t half bad. Would you like to perform at my show next Friday night?”

I started performing. I bombed more times than I care to remember. But over a two-year period of performing stand-up and improvisational comedy, I began to realize something very cool was happening in my real world of public relations.

I was becoming a better listener. I was able to fill those awkward gaps of silence that seem to occur in almost every new business or client meeting. And I became adept at engaging the client-side executive who was busy multitasking while I was presenting.

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