Does CSR come from a good place or just another way to gain publicity?

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) also known as corporate citizenship or sustainable responsible business has changed the way companies are seen and judged today. CSR is policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. Large corporations around the world have engaged in responsible behavior by making sure that all their activities are meet ethical standards, and are not harming society. This range from a variety of activities. For example Walmart has shown its citizenship responsibility by making sure that  it’s reducing both the environmental impact and the cost of waste by working with (i.e. mandating) its vendors to reduce packaging.  Sustainability at Walmart is defines who they are as a business and their values as well as meet the expectations of society of how they should operate.

Since the 70’s when CSR started to become popular, we have seen a great change happening in the business world. Things like Walmart or McDonald’s making sure their activities are not harming the environment and engaging themselves to become more sustainable businesses, Microsoft committing itself to helping nonprofits doing work within communities etc. are a great example of the change that CSR has brought.

However, every time I think about CSR, I always ask myself the question if those companies that are committing themselves to the greater good of the communities are just doing it for the sake of social change or just as a new new of gaining publicity? It is hard to tell if all those actions come from a genuine place. But I came across an article form Forbes and I realized that one way to look at the intentions of companies when they claim to be socially responsible is to look at the idea of social change.

I believe that social change is greater than just being socially responsible by making sure that a business’s activities meet ethics expectations of the people. Being ethically correct is not something a company should brag about because that’s the normal thing to do. So when a company want to brag about its CSR report, it should look at the change it’s making within the communities.  The way to do this is to start by engaging employees in the so-called CSR activities. Employees have to understand why their company is doing so and so and what the impact that those actions will have in the society. once employees understand the reasoning behind all of this, they will commit themselves not to the company, but to make sure that every thing they do at their job is bringing a positive change for them and their communities in every possible way.

If the companies that claim their citizenship responsibility don’t consider social change as the core of their CSR activities, then everything they claim to do for our communities or for the environment is just a new way to gain publicity. If they are in it just for publicity or for looking good, then they should go back to the traditional ways of gaining publicity. And if they are in it for the greater good of society, then CSR is the best thing that ever happened to businesses

Dove Real Beauty Campaign is a Good Start to Shape Body Images Issues, Yet Not Enough!

 

When I first saw this video, it reminded me of all the other commercials about the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. This video really strikes me to my real core because it touches an issue that I care about a lot. The way beauty is portrayed on the media is affecting negatively lives of teenage girls who still have to define who they really are. You would think that once these girls turn into women, they will stop worrying so much about their image and whether of not they are beautiful. However, the older women get, the more self-conscious about their image they become.

Dove Real Beauty Campaign came into place at the right moment given how big the issue of self-image has grown. I remember all those Dove videos  (I posted one of them yesterday) and all the pictures I have seen before portraying what look like normal-looking women expressing their beauty in different ways. I am very sure that the idea behind this campaign is genuine because every woman, at some point or another, is affected by the images that her mirror reflects.

It’s great that Dove want to promote real beauty so that people can stop doing the impossible to look like some model who probably is either underweight or has had plastic surgery. Three out of four American teenage girls feel depressed, guilty and shameful after spending three minutes leafing through a fashion magazine — a magazine that probably features fashion models who, on average, weigh 23% less than the average American woman. It was very important that someone takes the first step to stop this.

However, I really find it very ironic that Dove does this real beauty thing, when her parent company, Unilever owns Axe, which is one of sexiest brands out there. Axe commercials always portray a young boy who, by using Axe, can attract those amazing-looking girls.

This video of Axe commercial is just an example of what is wrong today in the media. How women are portrayed is this commercial pushes other people to the edge. That’s is why many teenage have an image issue.

If we just look at these two videos, we can tell where the issue lies. I think that as part of Unilever CSR efforts, there is a need to reconsider the way Axe is portrayed on ads. It is important that Axe follows the steps of Dove and that the umbrella brand impose this on all sub-brands.

For me it’s a real paradox to see that Unilever would support two brands that seem to oppose each other when it comes to their views on what beauty is. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty should serve as a clear message to body image activists – rhetoric about negative ads is not enough. We have to focus on the deeper economic sources that perpetuate (and profit from) negative body image. Besides, Unilever needs to reconsider its impact in society and how the portrayal of some of its brands can affect society, especially on a issue that seems to become more and more popular.

How Media Affects the Way Beauty is Perceived

Beauty is one of the hot topics of our society today as people are striving to look like the beautiful models they see on TV, ads and movies. This is because the media has defined for us what beauty is, and what it isn’t. What they forget is that ordinary people come in different looks, sizes, shapes and color. As the media is our gatekeeper, people who regulate the media have the responsibility to make sure that the message they are sending out is the right on; that message should not harm society, rather should promote the well-being of our society.

Dove Real beauty Campaign is one of the most discussed beauty campaigns I came across recently. When people talk about beauty today, there is always a controversy that emerges because some people are fine with the way things are, and the way beauty is portrayed in the media, especially on TV, movies and ads. Other people aren’t as happy and say that the way beauty is portrayed today in media is wrong because of the consequences that this portrayal of beauty is having in society.

We have seen an increase in the use of different types of cosmetic products and plastic surgeries because everyone wants to look like the model they see on TV, ads and movies.  Unfortunately, most people haven’t understood how those women and men come to look so perfect on screen. Those people are beautiful, I can’t deny it, but they aren’t perfect because what we see is the result of real beauty combined with a lot of makeup, Photoshop and sometimes even plastic surgeries.

It is important that people start to see themselves as beautiful to reinforce self-esteem among people. I believe that this is where Dove got the idea of the Real Beauty Campaign that has been really successful, communication wise, since the early 2000. This video of evolution beauty shows how a normal-looking person can look like a model in just a glimpse. It is  a matter of proper make up, proper hair cut and some Photoshop and you are good to go.

For me, the idea behind this campaign is genuine as it touches to a social issue and trend that affects our society today. It is important that people get to love who they are, and how they look like.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches video is an example of how people tend to have a different view of how they really look like. Most of those women defined their “beauty” in the way they feel, and not in the way they actually look like, or in the way people really see them.

For me, media is to blame for the low self-esteem that people tend to have today. If the media portrayed people regardless of their looks, just ordinary people ( beautiful, ugly, thin, overweight, etc.), then our society wouldn’t focus much on beauty, rather people would channel their energy to improve their lives.

Growth of Digital Advertising is changing and shaping the Advertising and Marketing Industry

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Digital advertising, also known as online advertisement, internet marketing, online marketing or e-marketing, is the marketing and promotion of products or services over the Internet. Online advertising began in 1994 when Hotwired sold the first banner ads to several advertisers. With more than 80% of the population in the US using the Internet, no wonder why companies are more and more switching to digital advertising.

People get most of the information they need online. Therefore, if companies want to reach their customers or potential customers about an existing product or service, or about a new product or service, they will have to put that information where their target is more likely to find it. For example, I own a TV, and I haven’t turned my TV on since last December. That’s more than 4 months without using the TV. Don’t get me started on radio and newspapers. Does that mean that I don’t read or watch the news? Does that mean that I don’t watch my favorites TV shows and programs? Of course, not. I do all these things online.

For example, if Clinique wants to reach me and try to convince me to try their new line of skin care products, they will have to find me where I am.

This is the main reason why nowadays companies are doing more and more online advertising. It is the easiest and the most effective way to reach current and potential customers. Online advertising is taking over the marketing and advertising industry, and is giving a hard time to radio and print to get their hands on advertising revenues. In fact, digital marketing produced $36, 6 billion in revenues in 2012, according to the LA times.

The only way radio and print can increase their revenue through advertising is by using their online presence. It is only this way that they will attract companies that are more interested in reaching as many people as possible.

TV is the only medium that is currently resisting to internet marketing. In fact, TV advertising is still dominant and still growing. Most of the revenues that TV gets from advertising come from the Super Bowl. Regardless of how fast online marketing is growing, research shows that

Digital advertising can’t stop the rise of US TV ad spending, though the pace of growth of TV ad dollars is much slower. Still, eMarketer predicts US advertisers will spend $66.35 billion on TV this year, up from $64.54 billion in 2012 and set to rise to over $75 billion by 2017.

Although TV is still the may medium for advertising, the Internet is shaping the future of the Advertising and Marking industry. It will continue to grow and generate more revenues, not only in the US, but also in other parts of the world because of the fast growth of  internet usage.

 

Personal Biography

Natacha Maheshe  is a social media and marketing communications expert from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She moved to the U.S.A. to study Strategic Communications where she served as vice president of the African Student Association at Seattle University. She graduated from Seattle University in 2013 with a BA in Strategic Communication and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. While at Seattle University, she was an active member of ENACTUS and PRSSA. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa  honor society.  Her professional experience includes working for the Congolese nonprofit Espoir Pour Tous (Hope for All) where she participated in the project, “Ecole de rue” (Street school), that focused on educating street children and taught them how to read and write. She also worked for Klenske Ink, a marketing communications firm in Brussels, Belgium, where she helped the launch of one of the firm’s clients — www.capital-life.be –  an online English language business magazine. She is really interested in various ways social media has changed the way businesses interact with customers, and what social media can do to help small businesses improve their online visibility.

 

 

Social Media helping Nonprofits achieve their goals

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Social media has proven to be a success at helping NPOs reach their goals. They provide free tools like– blogs, sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare– to promote their image, to recruit new volunteers and high profile workers, to raise money to direct to their mission and raise awareness. Social media allows a conversation between a nonprofit organization and the people they are reaching out to. It has improved the way both communicate and has allowed many fights to be led, many issues to be treated. Many NPOs are overall happy that they have included social media in their everyday life because of all these benefits it is providing them with. For example, the American Red Cross is overall happy it has integrated social media in their everyday life because they have seen the results that follow.

Social media includes a number of tools such as the internet, mobile device, applications, websites etc. that can be used in order to convey a message by creating a shared meaning. The most popular forms of social media used today in the world and mostly by Nonprofit Organizations are: blogs, social website like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, video and media sharing platforms such as YouTube and more. These tools are free of charge, which makes them more attractive to NPOs to use them because they allow them to get their work done at low cost. Social networking sites have given non-profits an incredible portfolio of free tools to use to raise awareness, boost their public image, garner new volunteers, and raise money.

Companies are continuously launching marketing campaigns in an effort to promote their brand and boost their sales. However NPOs cannot afford to launch huge marketing campaigns using traditional marketing tools because of their cost. This is where Social media marketing comes in. Most social media marketing ‘tools’ are free to use and can provide the same amount of marketing exposure whether you are just starting out or are a giant conglomerate. Since NPOs budgets are so tight, they turn to these tools that social media provide to do their own marketing whether for the sake of public image or for the sake of raising money.  NPOs, by using social sites like Twitter or Facebook, reach out to more people in an interactive way, which allows them to get feedback on what they are doing and to improve areas in which they are not doing so well.

Volunteers are the greatest resource that a charity can have. There are some great social sites that can help swell your volunteer numbers, including Facebook and Twitter. The biggest social networking sites reach the greatest audiences and therefore the greatest amount of volunteers. However, other social sites have popped up with a specific focus on volunteering. For instance, sites like Idealist.org and Volunteer.org can help you find motivated, socially conscious and talented volunteers. Raising money for charities and causes is another reason why nonprofit organizations turn to social media. It is a known fact that NPOs do not make money and do not have money to spend on achieving their mission unless they ask a third party for money. Usually, they turn to philanthropists to get money, but sometimes they need more money than what philanthropists can provide. Therefore, they have to turn to anybody who can donate money to help them achieve their goal.  The traditional marketing methods used to reach out to people are so expansive that NPOs cannot afford at the same time using them and continuing their mission because it will cost them more money than what they can get. This is where social media intervenes by providing free tools that allow NPOs to get more donations for their causes. Charities like the Direct Relief International and the Natural Resources Defense Council have raised millions of dollars with Google’s AdWords and YouTube non-profit program and tools. Google’s portfolio of non-profit tools includes up to $10,000 monthly worth of AdWords clicks (generally used to find more donors) and free or highly discounted Google Apps .

Facebook, the addiction that brings me news and gossip

imagesCAHDLY7JLast year, I closed my Facebook account for two months. Why? Because I realized how addicted to Facebook I was and I knew that I needed to try to break the addiction. The first few days were unbearable. I had to find something else to fill in my Facebook time. Believe me, nothing could replace the numbers of hours I put in everyday in Facebook. I became used to the fact that I wasn’t using Facebook anymore, but something pushed me to reconnect my Facebook account. I realized how disconnected I was, how I didn’t know what was going on around the world. I reopened my Facebook account for these two reasons: getting the news from everywhere and be up to date with all the gossip that makes Facebook not boring at all.

When something wrong is going on in my country or when the government makes a new decision on exportation for example, when the congress pass a new law on media and so on, I get all that information on Facebook. I’ve already liked the pages of news outlet from my country as well as global news outlets on Facebook and it’s easier for me to access the news this way than going to the outlet website. News outlet Facebook pages are not the only one to inform me about what’s going on around the world. My friends do too. If they read, see or listen to something interesting or newsworthy, they post that on their page and some of them tag me if they think that the article or video will interest me.  The good news is that I am not the weird one. Many people use social media as a means to access news. In fact, One-third of adults under 30 get news on social networks now.

Besides news, Facebook has been a great way to keep up with gossip. We get gossip about celebrities, which sometimes is true and some other time false. For example, I really like Jennifer Aniston and it’s on Facebook that I learned that she is engaged to Justin Theroux, which was true. It’s still on Facebook that I learned that she is pregnant with twins, which was false. It’s also on Facebook that I learn that a friend got married or something good happened to them. Still on the same medium that I will know if the wedding party sucked or was great, that I will know if the dress the friend wore was beautiful and expensive or cheap and ugly. It’s also on Facebook that unfortunately people spread insults and defamation about other people. Sharing gossip with friends on Facebook is addictive and arousing, that’s what makes Facebook what it is today.

The most important thing that I learned is that Facebook is not only a great tool, but also a dangerous one. It can help people or it can ruin their lives. It is important to use it accordingly, just like other social media sites. Our ethic should lead all the actions undertaken on Facebook. Regardless of its negative impact, Facebook has been a great tool for me to get news and stay connected with the world wherever I happen to be.