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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

How PR Fits Into Corporate Social Responsibility and 5 Brands That Get It Right

While the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been around for decades, only recently have  companies been more active about promoting their socially responsible practices. Perhaps they are starting to realize that consumers actively seek brands that align with their values, and mainstream journalists continue to rank among top influencers consumers trust.

The current health and social environment have only increased communicators’ and brands’ focus of purpose and social responsibility. According to PRWeek and Cision’s Comms Report, 80% of PR pros say they are amplifying their media outreach on matters of purpose and social responsibility.

Incorporating sustainable business practices within their larger business strategy, however, is easier said than done. The following five companies set the standard for adapting and promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives the right way:

Walgreens, Kellogg Donation to United Way Enables Real Impact
Kellogg’s Company teamed up with Walgreens this holiday with a donation to the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ). Instead of patting themselves on the back in their press release, Kellogg let United Way do the talking for them. The press release highlights a recent blog post by Pam Puerto, Giving Officer at UWGPSNJ, applauding the companies’ donation and the impact it had on those facing food insecurity.

Sands Releases 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance Report
Looking to promote their 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance Report, Sands used a press release to highlight the three main social initiatives the company has implemented. Sands noted how focusing on implementing some of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their business strategy led to being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America. ESG reports are commonplace, but Sands went beyond simply posting the report to their website – they took the initiative to promote and highlight key achievements and provided access to the full report.

Pepsi Invites Everyone to “Dig In” and Champion Black-Owned Restaurants
The key to providing quality content that gets noticed is to make sure your content is timely and speaks to your audience. Pepsi recognized the need to take a stand on the social unrest and racial inequalities affecting the country. With a multimedia news release, Pepsi promoted its consumer-facing platform Dig In to generate at least $100 million for Black-owned restaurants. Utilizing video content, imagery and including clear calls to action to share on social media, Pepsi provided consumers the opportunity to continue spreading their social message while promoting Black-owned restaurants at the same time.

Unilever and Google Cloud Team Up to Reimagine the Future of Sustainable Sourcing
The Edelman Trust Barometer found business to be the leading institution trusted to keep pace with the changing times. A long-time leader in corporate social responsibility, Google teamed with Unilever to advance sustainable business practices in-line with the UN’s SDGs. The press release highlights their initial effort to use data for more eco-friendly decision making and links to a video and other online content with more information on sustainable practices and progress.

Ben & Jerry's and Colin Kaepernick Unite to Change the Whirled
Since the 1980s Ben & Jerry’s has been supporting and promoting several socially responsible causes. When Ben & Jerry’s honored athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick (never one to shy away from taking a strong stance on social issues) with his own flavor of ice cream, “Change the Whirled,” they sent a multimedia-rich press release with animated video, photography and access to more information on Kaepernick’s activism and Know Your Rights Camp. With a catchy name, their friendly and cheerful tone, and a portion of the proceeds going to support the work of Know Your Rights Camp, Ben & Jerry’s shows a company can make a profit while making a difference.

As brands continue to navigate the social issues that came to a head in 2020, they must incorporate their social initiatives within their larger business goals. Meanwhile, communicators can promote these efforts more effectively through strategic use of social media, blogs and press releases to reach media and consumers alike.