Guest Post: A Marketer’s Perspective on CSR
Neil Blakesley is a long time colleague and VP of Marketing at BT Global Services. He was also an early supporter of my foray into social media three years ago – not something all VP’s of Marketing are comfortable with even now! Neil recently recorded a short video interview for Shama Kabani for her Dallas TV spot “Socially Sound with Shama.”. I spoke to him over the phone afterwards and asked him to expand on his thoughts on CSR from a marketer’s perspective for this guest post.
Well to be honest, Kevin, I could have spoken on the interview for another 20 minutes. I was torn between whether to list more of our US community investment initiatives like our digital inclusion partnership with One Economy or to speak more about the role of doing good through our products and services. In the end I timed out on either.
Marketing is not about deciding what the company makes and telling your customers why they should buy it. It’s about understanding your customers’ priorities and then working out how your core capabilities can help them address those priorities. And I am seeing our customers increasingly reflect impact on society and environment in their core priorities.
For example, I mentioned P&G in the interview with Shama. P&G express their mission as to “provide branded products and services…that improve the lives of the world consumers”. Unilever wants to halve the environmental footprint of its products while helping 1 billion people to take action to improve their health and well being. And, our customer Philips wants to bring care that touches the lives of 500 million people by 2015.
Enlightened companies are no longer reticent to frame their corporate responsibility as part of their core mission, delivered both through their products and through their community investment. And equally they are not shy to say it is beneficial for their business.
We can help them deliver that mission and I am not shy to say that’s good for our business too. With our presence around the world we can help our customers get set up in developing economies where they can provide jobs, products and services to help build economies. Our technologies can also help people do more with less to help reduce the cost of public services such as health care. Our solutions help reduce the burden on the environment by reducing travel. So from my marketer’s perspective, CSR is about both a foundation of community involvement and about helping our corporate customers to deliver business missions that help society and the environment.