The secrets of successful corporate responsibility

How does an organization of any size launch and maintain a corporate social responsibility program? Start by committing these secrets to memory.

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According to the Reputation Institute’s 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility RepTrak 100 Study, only 17 percent of respondents trust what companies promise in their marketing. What’s more, a mere 6 percent perceive the top 100 companies as good corporate citizens.

That’s one reason why so many major companies make reputation management and corporate social responsibility a priority.

Microsoft has the best reputation for CSR in the world, according to the study. Next on the list are Google, The Walt Disney Co., BMW, Apple, Daimler, VW, SONY, LEGO, and Colgate-Palmolive.

What about a more typical company? How do organizations that aren’t globally recognized brands make CSR work for them?

Look for a strategic fit.

The best CSR campaigns are intuitive to the companies or groups that underwrite them. Often a corporate CEO or other executive has a personal or pet project and somehow it snowballs into a CSR commitment. But it’s far better to analyze your corporate values and focus on a strategic bulls eye. Tide sending a mobile fleet of washers and dryers to disaster-hit areas makes perfect sense. KFC supporting the Komen Foundation? Maybe not.

Get buy-in at the top.

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