Integrating CSR into your event strategy

Insight | Published 27 January 2020

Should CSR be integral to your marketing events strategy?

Insight | Dan Hall | Business Development Director

At 2Heads, we’re committed to designing a more sustainable events industry. We see the new decade as our opportunity to build CSR messaging into the cornerstones of our clients’ event strategy.

CSR isn’t a box tick

There was a time where ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) felt like a business hygiene factor, a tick box exercise to be written once and tucked away in a corner of the company website. Today CSR is rapidly moving up every organization’s agenda and before long will be the guiding principles by which we structure, operate and communicate as companies and as brands.

At 2Heads, we envision a time when CSR propagates throughout every aspect of business and not least in the world of marketing. In our particular area of the mix – brand experience and events – brands have been slow to utilise our platform to communicate their higher value initiatives but we’re starting to see the seeds of change.

Race to responsibility

The world is waking up at exponential scale to the impact we’ve had on our environment and companies, arguably more than governments, have the power to deliver rapid, positive recompense against their carbon footprints. Microsoft last week published a bold and admirable ambition to become carbon negative by 2030 and remove all of the carbon its emitted into the environment since it was founded in 1975 by the year 2050.

Their ambition will hopefully be the first of many as big business acknowledges that systemic change is inevitable, whatever the economic impact to bottom lines. It’s our belief that despite the financial commitments of this cause, companies that do it early will fare better in the long run than those that delay. The contemporary consumer is switching to companies and brands that are not just in it for themselves and their shareholders. The race to social responsibility is on.

Consumers care

We all know intuitively in the wake of current global environmental issues, that society is becoming increasingly discerning about what they buy and the ‘why’ behind brands. We notice it in our own shopping habits, and you need only see the current innovations and accompanying marketing from McDonalds, Burger King and KFC as they enter the vegan space to realise even the worst offenders are cleaning up.

To add percentages to the intuition, a study by Accenture shows that 63% of people claim they buy goods and services from companies that reflect their own personal values and beliefs. If we assume that we’re all relatively fond of the planet we’re living on, then ensuring CSR plays a role within your brand marketing communications must make strategic sense.

What percentage of your event strategy is given to CSR?

Brands are beginning to give event marketing airtime to their good cause ambitions but currently as an exception rather than a rule. At Mobile World Congress 2019, one of the world’s largest annual tradeshows, only a handful of brands gave any real estate to what they do beyond ‘product’ but those that did, gained a rare opportunity to stand out. One such progressive company was Vodafone who dedicated some of its most prominent booth space to its Vodafone Foundation and partnership with Girl Effect to share how it’s supporting millions of girls in Africa through access to mobility.

There is a rare opportunity now for other progressive brands to bring their investment into CSR to the forefront of their show programme and stand out for doing so, and we are now partnering with some of our leading clients to integrate their CSR messaging with their overall event marketing. At 2Heads, we’re committed to designing a more sustainable and environmentally considered events industry and want to document this journey. Over the course of 2020 we will be publishing a series of articles and features on this subject as our own commitments to CSR begin to play out alongside our clients.

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