CSR: Don’t forget to adapt your message
People working in advertising know how important it is to adapt the message to the target, or use different languages in order to reach different audiences. Do people working in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability know that too? Do they adapt their message to the audience they want to convince?
I am using some examples from the company EON that I saw in Sweden this summer. I won’t talk here about EON being a credible, truly sustainable company, and neither will I discuss if the image they want to build as a green company is coherent with their activities. That’s subject to a different discussion. I only want to analyse the argumentations they are using to sell their biogas. They use a different argumentation to sell their biogas. In one of their advertising they want to address the environmentally conscious customers telling them that biogas produces less CO2 emissions than the oil they usually use for heating:
In another “reklam” or advertising they want to address people who care about the money and the costs they will save if they decide to change over to biogas, instead of using oil. These people may not be environmentally concerned, but they count their pennies and do not want to waste their money:
Well, the same applies to our work as CSR experts. No matter how hard we work and struggle to get our sustainability and CSR message through, our efforts will be in vain if we don’t adapt our reportings, argumentations to the audience and stakeholders we are addressing in that precise moment. After all, would you use the same argumentations to convince a financial expert as you would use to talk to a customer or a supplier?