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.


[GUIDE] 12 Steps for Integrating Corporate Communications Successfully

September 29, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

We are thrilled to announce the release of Business Wire’s latest guide: The Convergence of IR and PR: 12 Ways to Create a Stronger Corporate Communications Team.

This guide provides today’s communications professionals the rationales and steps to take to build a more robust corporate communications process, one that meets the needs of today’s audiences while reducing internal costs and redundancies.

The truth is many internal communication teams are working in silos. While internally these teams have separate reporting structures, goals and messaging, externally their customers and key audiences see no divisions within the company as it relates to accessing company information – they are just as likely to read an earnings release as they are to share a white paper or download a coupon.

But if today’s consumers are engaging with companies as a whole entity, why are most organizations still communicating different messages from different departments on different channels? Now is the perfect time to streamline internal processes to not only ensure a singularity in messaging, but to achieve higher message adoption and sharing, all while reducing internal costs and processes.

Recent, rapid technical and human behavioral evolutions have changed how humans consume news. Because the market is now aware of the intricacies that differentiate marketing, public relations, and investor relations, it is important for communications pros to work together to decrease those perceived separations.

And consolidating processes is not that hard! In our latest guide, we outline current communication roles, and how to bring them together to create a new, more effective process.

12 Ways to Create a Stronger Corporate Communications Team: The Convergence of IR and PR delves into how companies can:

  • Understand RegFD disclosure as it pertains to all discussion platforms
  • Cross promote company news and information
  • Share multimedia assets to increase emotional connections with end audiences
  • Centralize social outreach to increase visibility and awareness of one’s company information
  • Measure and monitor outbound and inbound discussions, decreasing the opportunity for negative brand attacks

Download this free Business Wire guide now! http://go.businesswire.com/IRPRConverge

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