How Smart Companies Build Relationships with Millennial Audiences in 2016 (hint: CSR)

December 21, 2015

By Alison Hanby, Business Wire

Company reputation is key when trying to attract Millennial interest in your brand.

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Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S., and when it comes to supporting corporations, they pay attention to the transparency, authenticity, and reputation of the companies and brands they associate with.

As Millennials rise in the workforce and obtain greater buying power, they look for like-minded companies to partner with. Are you making it easy for them to choose your organization?

Here are 6 ways companies of all sizes can capture Millennial attention through Corporate Social Responsibility:

  1. Promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) What is CSR? CSR encompasses how a company contributes to society and protects the environment; a company’s stewardship and transparency; and even how a company improves quality of life for their employees and the community they serve. Your company’s CSR program sends an important message to stakeholders and impacts consumer behavior, investor behavior and a company’s perceived value in the marketplace.
  1. Define Your Organization’s Purpose – Of course the top goal of most organizations is revenue, but that is not the same as your organization’s purpose. Today’s companies need to find a way to connect with these audiences.  For your first step in promoting your CSR programming you should start by showcasing the impact your business will have on the lives and welfare of those you serve. A clearly defined company purpose will encourage brand loyalty and promote authenticity, as well as attract and retain employees.
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Rutgers Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012

In a recent Rutgers University Study approximately 40% of Millennials interviewed noted it was “very important” to them to have a job where “they can make an impact on causes or issues that are important.” Define your purpose and shout it from the rooftops. Weave it into your news releases, brand content, website and more.

  1. Be Local – When looking to build your own CSR program, start by looking in your own backyard! Participation in your local community allows you to make smaller contributions that create big results. Stories of your authentic local participation will spread and word of mouth accolades will positively impact your company reputation, attracting Millennial consumers and employees, while balancing consideration for the shareholder.
  1. Be global The next step in a strong CSR program is to showcase the impact of your company and organization’s CSR promise on the world. Take a minute to define how your company decisions are bettering the world at large.
  1. Promote Your Good Works! Once you have defined your CSR programming, the next step is to promote it widely. Many companies not only designate a specific section of their online newsrooms to highlighting their CSR efforts, they utilize news releases to promote and amplify their good works and the impact they are generating on the world at large.

Leverage all the tools at your disposal to promote your good works. Company websites, social media and news releases are a perfect way to tout your corporate environment or your community involvement. Millennials are tech-savvy multitaskers switching from computer to tablet to smart phone in the blink of an eye, so why not launch an informative attack from all fronts?

  1. Involve your Millennial employees
    and give them the opportunity to lead, or at least inform your efforts. Your reputation depends on it. By embracing this new generation of employees and understanding how they think and behave, you will attract the Millennial customers and successfully grow your business.

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One suggestion is to offer a millennial employee the opportunity to take the reins on one of your social media pages for a week.  The freedom and responsibility to express your company’s purpose will increase loyalty, empower, and involve. It will help to cultivate your cause as well as contribute to that employee’s sense of connection to your purpose.  He/she may even share on a personal page, immediately amplifying your message and brand.

Today’s Millennials have access to more information and resources than ever before. When they search for good works, is your company information going to visible? Take the time to build your CSR program, to not only increase interest in your business, but to attract the buyers of the future.

Interested in learning more about promoting your CSR programming? Let us know.  Liked this post? Click here to share it on Twitter!


Corporate strategy, content and philanthropy top discussions at the World Business Forum

December 2, 2015

By Zach Wallens, Specialist, Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting Services

Whether you’re an account executive at a boutique PR firm or a senior investor relations officer (IRO) for a Fortune 500 company, storytelling is likely among your most fundamental job functions. All companies, regardless of their industry, have long communicated stories to customers, investors, internal stakeholders and media. As we adopt various digital technologies, the platforms on which these narratives are consumed continues to change. To thrive in this evolving environment, we can often learn from those who are truly innovators –business leaders, entertainers or, sometimes, people whose profession falls somewhere in between.Panel-7-Herminia-IbarraEarlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the World Business Forum in New York, where, for two days, thousands of executives from around the globe gathered to absorb knowledge from some of the world’s most renowned innovators. With a lineup of speakers that included Herminia Ibarram the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s Vice President, Global Marketing Solutions, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, the conference certainly provided the audience with thought-provoking business ideas, stories and laughs. The theme of this year’s conference was storytelling – specifically, how and why companies should disseminate their unique, compelling stories.

The event hosted by World of Business Ideas (WOBI), and its speakers lectured about wide-ranging topics, and some, in particular, are of definite interest to Business Wire clients. Here are the top business trends and strategies discussed during the conference:

  1. Brands must communicate their stories using several platforms and multimedia is no longer optional

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. news releases. blogs, email campaigns. In today’s business world, nearly all PR and marketing professionals are familiar with these storytelling channels. However, there is a distinct difference between distributing content via various platforms, and having high audience engagement. According to Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, successful brands don’t just tell their stories, they show them to consumers.Panel-9-Carolyn-Everson“Billions of photos are shared and uploaded, now we’re seeing an explosion of video. Eight billion video views a day on Facebook alone. Every time we estimate video growth, we under estimate it,” Everson said. “Brands love to tell their stories through sight, sound and motion.”

Because mobile devices and apps are such an integral part of consumers’ lives and purchasing decisions, companies must also consider how they can integrate these platforms with their core products, Everson said, noting that Facebook now adheres to a “mobile first” philosophy.

Kevin Spacey echoed many of Everson’s points, particularly her message about businesses needing to convey their stories using new platforms. He also stated producing the best content is still the most important.Panel-13-Kevin-Spacey

“What is it that really elevates these companies to be able to hover above the competition? I tell you, it is the story they are able to communicate, and when we tell better stories, our businesses have a better chance to provide a memorable experience and achieve success,” said Spacey, an Academy Award winner and star of Netflix’s first original show, House of Cards.

“The good news is,” Spacey continued, “with the emergence of new tools and new technology, I think there has actually never been a better moment to make vivid stories that stand out from the crowd.

“The storytellers who thrive are the ones who understand how to use these platforms to elevate their stories.”

Storytelling and content creation were two of the major topics throughout the conference, but other presenters, each from a different industry, spoke more about developing a corporate culture, collaboration and philanthropy.

  1. To build a successful, innovative company, it’s imperative that executives invest in their employees and promote a collaborative work environment.

Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, stated that for organizations to achieve sustainable success, companies must invest in their employees, through salary raises, wellness programs and affordable health benefits.Panel-11-Mark-BertoliniAccording to Bertolini, human capital is a company’s scarcest resource, and the ability to maintain engaged, front-line employees is vital to success within any industry. This sentiment was reiterated by Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Jobs, Isaacson said, once told him that the team at Apple was the most important product he ever built.

Isaacson further discussed the lessons he gained writing about the world’s most celebrated innovators, and he centered on the necessity for leaders to encourage collaboration among employees. “Innovation relies on collaboration,” he said. “It takes teams of people, rubbing up against each other, to make true imagination into real innovation.”Panel-12-Walter-Isaacson (1)Several of the speakers, including Richard Branson, said that successful business leaders hire employees who are better than themselves. The Virgin Group founder also wasn’t shy about his hatred of ties, his belief that employees’ dressing comfortably spurs creativity, and that Virgin’s corporate culture is an important part of its achievements.

“All a company is, is a group of people,” Branson said. “What sets Virgin Atlantic off against British Airways is the people on the plane, it’s their attitude. So we try to find leaders from other companies who genuinely love people.”

  1. To meet climate change and global development goals, the business community must get more involved.

Branson and Everson each spoke extensively about the philanthropic endeavors of Virgin and Facebook, respectively. The business community, Branson said, has made significant progress in its aim to curtail climate change and develop impoverished countries, but much more is still required.Panel-10-Sir-Richard-Bronson“If business people can join with politicians and social workers and adopt programs, and we’ll have enormous fun overcoming those problems, I really do think we can overcome most of the problems of this world so that our children and grandchildren can have as wonderful life as we’ve all had,” he said.

Everson cited Facebook’s internet.org, an initiative to provide internet access to the more than four billion people without it. Solving this problem, she said, would advance education, healthcare and business in developing nations.

“We believe connectivity is also a human right,” Everson said. “Because we can’t leave four billion people behind as we all continue to have access to information at our fingertips.”

You can see why Business Wire was thrilled to be a media sponsor for this event. These business tips and strategies were the main takeaways from the World Business Forum. Most interesting was that even with speakers from highly different industries and backgrounds, many shared similar opinions regarding the importance of storytelling and of embracing new content platforms. This advice holds especially true for PR and IR professionals, who must regularly communicate their companies’ stories, in press releases, videos and/or social posts. Brands are constantly telling stories to a wide array of audiences, and as the event’s speakers stressed, multimedia distributed over multiple platforms is essential for an effective communications strategy.

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Note:  Scribed images courtesy of @LudicCreatives. To learn more about visual scribing, rich pictures and infographics, visit their website at www.ludiccreatives.com.


Best Practices Guide to Successfully Navigating Social Media for Publicly-Held Companies

January 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

We are excited to share our latest guide for investor relations and corporate communication professionals outlining the steps they should take (and avoid) to both engage and manage their reputation across social channels.

Business Wire Benefits of SM for IROs

This report details the opportunities and risks of using social media as both a research and communication tool in today’s investor relations programs.  Included are 12 ways investor relations professionals can leverage social media tools for a stronger, more effective engagement program, as well as 12 reasons why social media platforms are not compliant communication tools.

Embracing social media as a news sharing and engagement tool

Business Wire continues to advocate utilizing social media channels to amplify the visibility of company news.  These channels, designed to enhance the communication between organizations and their members, are perfect for brand advocacy.

Business Wire’s guidance for running a successful and legally compliant socially oriented investor communication program include:

  • How to spot an emerging crisis or reputation attack using social media monitoring
  • The importance and impact of multimedia to analysts and other key constituents
  • Real time communications, or why live tweeting earnings works so well
  • Ways to initiate and expand third party sharing of pertinent company information increasing the visibility and authority of your news

Avoiding social channels as a sole means of sharing financial or disclosure oriented news

For the last 4 months, we have taken a long hard look at the concept of utilizing social media distribution channels for financial disclosure.  While we are obviously big fans of utilizing social media as a tool to share news and information, the technology simply is not there yet for these channels to replace traditional disclosure platforms.

Business Wire’s guidance on why social media platforms are not appropriate as the sole method of disclosure includes:

  • Potential coverage limitation
  • Lack of visibility of social updates
  • The impact and risk of message modification
  • Social network demographics and usage rates

To download this free guide in its entirety, visit http://go.businesswire.com/social-media-for-financial-disclosure
Share this with your friends!  Tweet this news out in one click by visiting http://ctt.ec/UEbvf

Want to schedule a time to speak with a Business Wire sales representative about social media, news distribution and disclosure compliance?  Let us know!


Less Transparency = Less $$$?

April 12, 2010

We’ve written a lot at Business Wired on the subjects of disclosure and transparency, including the causal relationship between increased communication and capital market benefits.  Looks like there’s even more evidence for transparency being good for companies’ bottom lines — and for lack of transparency hurting them:

After 11 years of publishing a list of the best corporate citizens, Corporate Responsibility Magazine plans to introduce in its April-May issue, out this week, its first-ever “black list” of the worst companies, or those that are the least transparent.

Transparency, as the magazine defines it, means making information about practices like employee benefits, climate-change policies or philanthropic efforts publicly available.

Dirk Olin, editor in chief of Corporate Responsibility Magazine, notes that, when compiling data for the article, they were able to find 30 corporations with no relevant data at all on those topics available publicly.  That group includes such corporations as clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and weight loss specialists Weight Watchers.

And what does that mean for shareholders of those companies?

The best corporate citizens list . . . had a total return on shareholder value of 2.37 percent over three years. But the 30 worst had a negative 7.38 percent return.

“Our aggregate analyses,” Mr. Olin said, “make a strong argument for the business case for transparency.”

Corporate Responsibility’s full “Black List” will be published next Wednesday, April 24.


Corporate Social Responsibility Update

February 2, 2010

The piece below was authored by our friend Hank Boerner, Chairman of the Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. on the newly approved SEC guidance relating to climate change risk.  Feel free to contact Business Wire with any questions regarding this update.

SEC DECISION RAISES THE BAR FOR CORPORATE (ISSUER) DISCLOSURE ON SUSTAINABILITY RISKS

One more shoe drops – this one a size 15 or more – in the rising and accelerating importance of ESG & Sustainability corporate key performance indicators and ESG-related factors for investment management and financial analysis, as well as for corporate senior executives, boards, and management specialists (e.g., investor relations officers, legal counsel, corporate secretaries, ESH managers, marketing officers).

On January 27, 2010 the SEC Commissioners approved an “Interpretive Release” (issuer guidance) on existing disclosure requirements related to business risk on the issue of climate change. (The vote was 3-2 along political party lines.)

The SEC did not make statements on, recognize, or endorse positions (pro or con) on climate change. It did not create new legal requirements or modify existing requirements. It did not refine the definitions of materiality to include “climate change” or “global warming.”

The SEC decision, says Chair Mary Schapiro, “…will help public companies in determining what does and does not need to be disclosed…will provide clarity and enhance the consistency of disclosure…the discussions, debates and decisions taking place in the USA and elsewhere on this topic have implications under our existing, long-standing disclosure rules…”

Four critical areas were addressed:

  • The Impact of Legislation and Regulation (corporate disclosure issue: how will these if proposed or adopted affect the company?)
  • The Impact of International Accords (the EU has “carbon” regulations; “Cap & Trade” legislation is being considered by the federal government; global accords could follow – disclosure issue: how would/do these affect the company?)
  • Indirect Consequences of Regulation Business Trends (disclosure issue: what legal, technological, political and scientific developments [regarding climate change] may create new risks or opportunities for the company?)
  • Physical Impacts of Climate Change (disclosure focus: the company should evaluate the actual or potential material impacts of environmental matters on their business. Note that the SEC has mandated certain environmental disclosure over the past 30 years.)

Read the rest of this entry »


New on Twitter: Corporate Social Responsibility News

November 6, 2009

You may have noticed a new addition to the “Follow Us on Twitter” box over at the right:  @BWCSRNews.  Anna-Christina Cabrales, our Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting specialist, will be tweeting the latest in Corporate Social Responsibility news from Business Wire as well as links to other CSR-related topics around the Web.  Make sure to follow her and keep up on everything CSR!


Target the World with Your Financial News

March 26, 2009

The upcoming G20 summit meeting in London, at which world leaders will gather to discuss the global economic situation, shows perfectly how the worlds of business and finance don’t stop at national borders.  Your company’s or organization’s news can have an impact around the world, so it’s crucial to target markets outside the US with your economic news.  Here’s a look at just a few of our options for reaching your targets internationally:

globe_lg1Global Financial Media:  Target media, investors and key financial newspapers, trade publications and news outlets in 117 countries and translation into more than a dozen languages.

Asia-Pacific Financial Media:  Target key broadcast and print media, as well as financial newspapers, trade media and websites, throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  Includes full-text translation into four languages.

Europe Financial Media: Send your news to 30 nations, including all of the EU members, Russia and key markets in Eastern Europe.  Reaches consumer and general media plus hundreds of financial-specific publications with translation into five languages.

London Metro:  Reach print and broadcast media throughout the London area, site of the G20 summit, via the Press Association, the national news agency of the UK.

Public Policy Wire:  Don’t forget to target government policymakers and other opinion leaders in the US with news that impacts public policy.

CSR Circuit:  Finally, publicize your corporate citizenship efforts with distribution to leading Corporate Social Responsibility publications and thought leaders, Socially Responsible Invesment funds,  academics, activists and financial analysts.

For a complete list of distribution options visit our Distribution Catalogue, or contact your local bureau for pricing and options.


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