David Coethica's Blog

Demand more good.

Make Your CSR Report Taste Better

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foodIt’s been far too long since my last post, and I finally give in and refuse to promise to write more regularly.

Whenever my best intentions to share the amazing projects and work, that I’m bombarded by daily raise their heads, so does a new opportunity for me to add value somewhere ‘important’ and screw that balance between being a great dad to my son, passionately pushing business in a better directions and an accelerating transition to triathlon geek. I like doing, failing and learning, and proud to fail repetitively!

I digress. Which is pure me. I am a creatively chaotic soul, increasingly comfortable with this understanding and I hope you will too!

And yes, there is a point coming soon. I am seeking a commercially orientated favour, but I probably have more social capital built up than most and surely one or two asks is allowed?

The point….

I would appreciate any feedback, and sharing (please!!! – all shared love will be reciprocated when noticed) of the big project we’ve been building since I headed over to CSRwire for 3BL Media. Yesterday we officially launched an innovative CSR / Sustainability Reporting service into the wild. It definitely pushes companies into a more considered frame of mind, communication and engagement, and could even be pushing many businesses further than they admit aiming for. We like encouraging progress and asking the industry to move forward!

I’ve believed in the power of non-financial reporting as an internal process for progress as much as it is a communication tool for many years, yet always wondered why so many allocate tens of thousands in investment in the data collection and creation of a document to then dump as a .pdf on a website few visit.

The whole ethos of this new product aims to get companies communicating their success, learning and future challenges, over weeks and months not 24 hours. It should be about focusing on separate topics, taking the time to more effectively share different messages to different audiences using different channels, but most importantly over longer periods. One off announcements often get lost in today’s hyper-saturated social media world. Maximise that isolated asset!

A good CSR / sustainability report is a narrative and data menu for stakeholders to selectively delve deeper into a five-course meal if they so wish, but don’t force people to rush their meals.

Please check out our big announcement here.

What do you think? Leave me any notes about your thoughts either here, or via @davidcoethica or @CSRwire.

Thanks folks.

Help Required For A New Home

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Which wayHave you ever felt strangely at home somewhere you’ve never been to before? It happens to me whenever I visit the US for some reason. I can never explain it, it just does. I suppose I should have expected a similar feeling coming when I agreed to embark on my latest journey, with almost old friends.

As of October 1st I’ve been the new Director of CSRwire for 3BL Media. I’m guessing you’ve probably heard of at least one of those two companies if you’re reading this blog and travel any distance across the online responsible business universe.

A handful of the Founders of 3BL Media had worked for CSRwire before leaving a few years ago to set up 3BL Media with their own vision for the then only emerging social media explosion. Two companies with a similar ancestry borne out of the outdated broadcast press release industry headed off in parallel paths.

I’ve been close to 3BL for a long time with my own path crossing theirs very early on as an upcoming consultancy trying to eek out a reputation with a meagre budget, much to share and dabbling with the new toy called Twitter. There’s even a couple of videos of me to be found as one of the 3BL TV videobloggers along side Christine Arena, Fabian Pattberg, Chris Jarvis and Elaine Cohen – time for a reunion guys (don’t forget those lovely party glasses Elaine)!

Both 3BL’s and my own paths have run in parallel, and occasionally crossed for a project or two along the way.

I always wanted to engage more with CSRwire than I ever did. It was always a go to place for news and original content. I’m just one of those loyal types that had friendships and allegiances with 3BL and felt uncomfortable supporting the opposition, but I could never stay completely away because they were producing great pieces with great leaders.

Anyway, enough of the trip down memory lane and me  sharing my childlike enthusiasm about a new role. I am after something. That most valuable of somethings. Your time. Not much, but a very precious couple of minutes to me.

We’re at the start of the process of integrating CSRwire into the bigger 3BL Media group and we wanted to explore this window of opportunity to engage with as many within our communities as possible to help us build a plan to accelerate into 2015.

I would appreciate more than you could imagine, just 5 minutes of your valuable time to let us know via this SurveyMonkey link what you thought was strong about CSRwire and how we build on those strengths. If you’ve never heard of CSRwire before, that’s fine, you have now, and your input would be just a valuable but you might want a quick tour of the website or @CSRwire Twitter feed first.

I’m also jumping on a plane to the US soon to catch up with the team at 3BL HQ and then onto the BSR Conference (#BSR14) in New York next Tuesday to Thursday (4 – 6 Nov). It’s my first public event in the new role and I’d love to catch up with any readers (or anybody you think I should meet) that are around the event or the city next week! Give me a shout if you fancy grabbing a coffee (I’ll be relying on caffeine by then)!

CSRwire will also be announcing a big focus on all things Sustainable Finance (#SRI, #ESG, #ImpInv) during November for anybody interested in those themes. You’ll be able to submit your own articles or media for consideration. I’ll update this page with the link when it arrives.

More news from the new fun will follow…

 

Could Weakness Become Your Opportunity?

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A lesson in the art of vulnerability, or how to click with your ‘date’ using Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

One of those socially invisible bleached out pachyderms insists that companies should constantly defend a cloak of presented perfectionism. As the corporate communications functions of businesses tentatively emerge, like the first struggling amphibians out of the water from the control and broadcast mentality, we are seeing fascinating case studies and pockets of enlightenment.

Does anybody believe businesses are perfect? Does anybody think they even come close, ever? The countless surveys and reports on reputation and brand perception suggest Read the rest of this entry »

Is Social Good Overtaking Cats?

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Climate Summit_HubFor the first time in quite a while I’ve noticed a distinct lack of cute / comedy cat posts (albeit somewhat distorted by buckets of ice water) and a stronger impression of more purpose based flashes in the social media world.

My gut, if backed up by more than a little professional insight into the data, feeling is that we may at long last be turning a social good communications corner. The activist world had too long preached at its audience to save the whale / panda / water / energy / planet to only see early plateauing of resulting engagement. Those who get it, got it pretty quick, but the wider mainstream world nodded, smiled and apathetically carried on regardless.

One latest indicator of the turning tide is the latest collaboration between Upworthy, Unilever’s Project Sunlight and the United Nations Climate Summit. In a space where such apathy has held fast, with nearly 10 million engagements – and yes, the ‘so what’ will need to be assessed – the reach is impressive. The campaign aims to ‘raise awareness and inspire action that prompts global leaders to adopt a more ambitious and urgent approach to addressing climate change’ is laudable indeed and I for one will be keeping a close eye on the story as it unfolds.

“With more than 100 heads of state and government joining leaders from business and civil society at the UN Climate Summit, we want to help them understand how much support there is for ambitious leadership and action on climate change,” said Dan Thomas, head of communications for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team. “Through partnerships with innovative and mission-driven companies like Upworthy, we are constantly seeking to engage new audiences in our mission.” – And about time too.

I appreciate the ethos behind Upworthy, even if I’m not 100% convinced with their format’s efficacy over time, but if very little else it demonstrates both the reception of, and the need for better storytelling, boldness and yes, even playing those mainstream marketing emotional tricks to more diversely convey social good messages.

From the latest press release – The Upworthy community is one of the most engaged on the Web. The average Upworthy post generates 35,000 social actions (shares, likes, comments), which is 39 times more than an average post from the Web’s top 25 publishers. One third of Upworthy’s audience is now outside the U.S., in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, and South Africa.

With such important challenges edging ever nearer we need those who know to maybe ask more for forgiveness rather than permission in getting their knowledge to the masses.

I’d also like to say a thank you to whomever made the bolder decisions (especially on budget) than usual to explore this collaboration. My optimism is mildly rejuvenated.

Check out this link to find out what all the fuss is about. It’s a no cat zone I promise.

PS – No real cats were harmed during the creation of this blog post, but countless links, images and videos were ignored or deleted.

 

Why Women Are Crucial For Greater Economic Growth

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A date for your diaries…

3BLchat imageJoin me next Wednesday (27 August at 3.30pm ET) as I step into the host’s seat again for the latest #3BLchat exploring Women’s Economic Empowerment.

I’ll be taking over the @3BLMedia Twitter handle to guide very special guests Melanne Verveer (Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security), Katy Knox (Senior Vice President, Bank of America) and 3BL Media’s very own COO & Co-Founder Cindy Schneider.

We’ll be spending 60 minutes focusing on:

  • How women-owned businesses have become an increasingly important part of economic growth
  • Existing obstacles that women entrepreneurs face including equitable access to affordable loans, and business and leadership networks
  • Programs and resources to help women entrepreneurs grow successful businesses
  • How mentorship can play a role in opening girls up, globally, to an alternative future

 

Follow this link for more information and how to register your place.

 

Apple’s Best Advert Yet?

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Yes, this is just an employee engagement video, but it’s also an Apple employee engagement video.

I wonder how many customers (and more importantly potential customers) felt that little bit more emotionally connected to a brand that has historically pretty much kept its head below the social and environmental parapet.

“Inclusion inspires innovation”

It is also further evidence of a company becoming being increasingly comfortable being seen in the CSR space. By adding a deeper values element to their brand Apple are on a dangerous trajectory of becoming a truly inspirational operation. It looks like Tim Cook is truly getting his feet under the big table.

That’s two responsibility videos in three months now! Cautious optimism grows.

Oh, and there’s a great soundtrack too.

 

Symantec Invest $2 Million To Tackle Youth Unemployment

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sym_cyber_career_connectionIf you are going to launch a new CSR initiative then having one of the most powerful and well-known politicians in the world standing next you may just help get it noticed.

Official CGI Photo Hillary Clinton Symantec Cyber Career Connection launchFormer US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently announced Symantec’s new pilot programme called Cyber Career Connection (SC3) at the Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting in Denver.

The programme aims to address youth unemployment through training and career support to help fill a substantial gap in cybersecurity jobs through a collaboration with NPower (@NPower), YearUp (@YearUp) and LifeJourney. The pilot kicks-off in August in the San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore and New York City.

“Symantec is committed to making the world a safer and better place, and as a leader in cybersecurity we believe we can help solve the cyber career gap and move underserved young adults –including people of color, women and veterans – out of low-end jobs and into highly paid and meaningful careers.

Symantec and the Symantec Foundation made an initial investment of $2 million in the Symantec Cyber Career Connection and will provide the curriculum and products to implement the program. While this is a pilot program, it’s expected to expand globally over the years and I look forward to experiencing the benefits this program brings to our workforce, Symantec, and the broader industry.” said Cecily Joseph (@CecilyJosephCR), Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Symantec.

This is definitely one story to watch with a rags to riches style case study just waiting to be found. If there are allegedly 300,000 currently empty cybersecurity jobs, with 60,000 of those available to somebody without a four-year college degree, then maybe there’s new path to a lucrative career for somebody from one of those targeted social groups.

For further information head over to Symantec’s blog for the details on SC3 here.

 

 

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