More companies are recognizing the need to have a chief responsibility officer. Maybe someday every company will have a fully defined CRO role, but until that day comes, more often than not, that duty falls to the chief marketing officer.
It's Your Job to Create and Promote Your Company's Socially Responsible Agenda, Culture and Behaviors
The situation presents distinct challenges for CMOs: How can one successfully drive the reinvention of the corporate brand while still balancing the shorter term challenges around sales and customer relations? Moreover, given current economic headwinds, are companies truly prepared to reallocate precious corporate resources to such activities? Obviously pushing them can also prove somewhat risky for CMOs -- and today, no marketer wants to become part of our annual tenure statistics.
The real question is not, "Why should a CMO institute a culture of responsibility?" but "How?" Smart CMOs will stack the odds in their favor by taking these three steps.
1. Be real. Before anything else, the CMO needs to take stock of what the company is already doing and can credibly talk about (we've all witnessed the backlash against claims that ring hollow). In some cases these practices are so intrinsic to how a company operates, they can be difficult to recognize as anything beyond the ordinary. Catalog everything, and you'll have a chance to spot patterns and areas of achievement that will come as a surprise to even your most attentive stakeholders. Then work with your team to determine those areas of focus that promise the greatest return. Is it a good thing that Home Deport supports breast cancer research? Absolutely. But think how much more value accrues to Avon courtesy of its Walk for the Cure and other women-centered efforts. This area of focus works because Avon is a company that has long espoused female empowerment, self-sufficiency and mutual support. The purpose beyond profit is intimately aligned with its business, its brand and its customer base. And that makes it far more believable and effective.
2. Build your bench. No one can bring about institutional change on his own. Don't even try. Take a cue from "Survivor" and identify not only those people inclined to support you, but also those most likely to undermine your efforts. First, go for the low-hanging fruit, whether that be a sympathetic member of the C-suite or a group of junior colleagues passionately committed to the change you espouse. Don't forget that you'll need buy-in from above and below.
3. Deputize your employees. It's an irony of the Web 2.0 era that just as companies are trying so hard to spark conversations with consumers online, so many continue to clamp down on employees' public utterances. Don't dismiss the potential benefits of informal communication online: Encourage employees at all levels to engage the public in the inner workings of your company's culture and values. You might even push to make such communications a parameter in performance assessments. Based on our recent investigation, we believe that almost every company has pockets of passionate employees who would welcome the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon.
Whether you are a CMO or a CRO, it's your job to both create and promote your organization's socially responsible agenda, culture and behaviors. Don't miss the opportunity to let others help you with this critical imperative.
This is only an excerpt. Read full article here.
Originally posted in Advertising Age, December 08, 2009
Andrew Benett is global chief strategy officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide and co-CEO of Euro RSCG New York. Greg Welch is global leader for the consumer goods and services practice at executive-search firm Spencer Stuart. They are coauthors of the recently released "Good for Business: The Rise of the Conscious Corporation" (Palgrave Macmillan).