Consumers expect a lot of companies these days. They expect companies to exhibit ethical behavior, weigh in on major societal and political issues, be environmentally sustainable, and they are expected to be charitable, according to a 2015 survey by the Public Affairs Council. This is all in addition to running a successful business, creating jobs, and producing a stellar product or service. That is certainly a tall order. And it’s not just their consumers—companies must now rise to meet the expectations of their employees, who expect more than a paycheck and benefits.
So how can companies win with expectations set so high by so many different stakeholders demanding so many different things? One way is to run an active corporate social responsibility campaign that makes a real impact that employees can be proud of. But simply cutting a check isn’t enough anymore—people want to see and feel the impact.
Doritos, for example, came out with a campaign called “There’s Nothing Bolder Than Being Yourself” wherein customers could buy a bag full of rainbow-colored Doritos which supported the “It Gets Better Project”. The associated hashtag, #BoldAndBetter, became a viral virtual meeting place for the LGBT community, allowing supporters to tell their own story and support others. It trended on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram simultaneously for six days and generated 2 billion media impressions. The campaign not only increased sales and goodwill for the company, but it turned a product into a social platform. The bags sold out in less than 24 hours, making it the most success product launch Frito-Lays has ever had.
And while there were critics of the campaign, Frito-Lay was able to create a community that felt connected to their product.
In times of peace, a CSR campaign can help grow and benefit business; and in times of crisis, CSR can serve as a great and formidable form of insurance. The #BoldAndBetter community will be there for Doritos, should they come under attack, because they remember that Doritos were there for them.