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This study was presented July 4th to the press and was published with Global Alliance, the umbrella organization linking corporate communication professionals around the globe in 60 countries.
The 14% of top European companies use social networks to communicate their social commitment. Spanish, Italian and French companies are those that most experiment this type of CSR communication. This is the principal conclusion from the report "CSR Communication: Exploring European cross-national differences and tendencies", a research study conducted by IE School of Communication in collaboration with two outstanding institutions: University of Cambridge (UK) and Fondazione Università IULM (Italy). To develop the study, authors evaluated the strategy of 250 top European companies from different countries (Spain, France, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, UK), 42 of which from Spain, and interviewed 69 experts on risks and opportunities in communicating CSR.
Laura Illia, Professor of IE School of Communication who leaded the research Project, recommends companies to focus more on educating the industry and clients around CSR issues than communicating about their specific initiatives.
She underlines that there has been growing interest in CSR activities and performance over the last few years, particularly in the media and public opinion which "have evolved and assimilated CSR concepts and have increasingly supported companies' transparency". To follow with this tendency, she adds, it is important that companies continue to build a culture of CSR.
For Illia, the most important thing is "not to make a picture perfect and not use a form of communication where the form wins over content". In this respect, it is fundamental that the responsibility of CSR is not placed in the marketing department or with non-CSR professionals.
"CSR is about changing the culture of an organization, about finding new ways of working, about considering more than the financial bottom line". To this aim internal communications are central, indicates Illia, who recommends companies to best manage their CSR internally. For what concerns the external communication, the professor of IE University reminds that CSR is a transverse part of the company and therefore must remain transverse in the particular corporate image, and avoid being its central factor.
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