From a marketer’s point of view, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be seen as a corporate - non-profit partnership, where the objectives are both the mission of the non-profit organization and the business purpose of the company.

Partnerships should be mutually beneficial relationships that involve the exchange of something of value from each participant, and clear responsibilities, shared contribution, and shared risk. In this case, the non-profit may represent a whole community.

Are your angle of vision wide enough?

The most common problem is that the angle of vision of both parties is often too narrow. The non-profit perceives the partnership from the mission point of view, the corporation focus most probably on profit. Does the right hand really know what the left hand is doing? Do both parties really perceive all the marketing and other opportunities involved? Unfortunately, in too many cases the answer is NO.

Another problem in partnership agreements is that one can only see the whole from two, not from many angles, as there usually are only two to undersign the agreement.

The classical method for the investigation of systems and processes is a flow chart - a network of discrete 'boxes', each named, and connected together, in a hierarchy of 'decision'. Useful though this method may be, boxes often exclude the very information and/or support that might be needed.

Lateral or multilateral (multidimensional) thinking ?

To build-up an effective CSR, or a Cause Related Marketing, or a Sponsorship, or a… program needs in most cases a professional, an outside angle of vision of the multidimensional whole to get the most out from the partnership not only for both parties, but for all thinkable parties involved.

The starting point of this idea is that CSR programs can’t be effective without the involvement of third parties, such as the media, and other supporting organizations with mutual values, not to forget the great public.

Communicate multilaterally

In opposite to Cause Related Marketing and Sponsorship programs and projects, which are short-term in nature, CSR should be handled as a concept and process for sustainable development. Therefore it’s more than important to build-up a network of parties to work and communicate the mission and goals multilaterally, from many different angles to the interest groups and the great public, but to another as well to support each others marketing communication efforts.

At this point, one should think about marketing communication as a whole. How many ‘boxes’ - different terms and concepts - does it include? How effectively do the PR and the Marketing departments of organizations cooperate? Are they probably competing? By who are the marketing and PR managers supported? The marketing manager jumps back and forth to an AD-agency, the communication manager to the PR-agency - both managers and agencies are competing against each other…

What is total marketing, and who can really utilize all the opportunities in concrete?

A last question

The core questions are, how would you organize a CSR process to achieve the best possible results for all parties involved? How do you find the opportunity to utilize a new marketing concept: Multilateral Marketing Communication? To get an better idea and a concrete suggestion, just make one phone call or e-mail TOM.



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