Five steps to building your corporate citizenship strategy

With 2015 quickly approaching, it’s a perfect time to ensure your Corporate Citizenship strategy supports your 2015 business goals to build measurable brand value.

At Interbrand, we define Corporate Citizenship as the perception people have of a company’s positive contribution to society based on the way in which it treats the core elements of its business: Its employees, customers and suppliers; the communities in which it operates; the governments that influence its operations; and the planet it relies on for its existence.

Our global Corporate Citizenship practice can bring you the best insights from around the world, specific to your sector or industry. There is no question that Corporate Citizenship, when aligned with business strategy, drives brand value, particularly in B2B environments.

WATCH: “Corporate Citizenship as strategic driver of business,”which explains why Canadian companies need to examine their corporate citizenship strategies:

What this means in Canada

In Canada, our brands face constant scrutiny by a new generation of environmentally and socially conscious consumers. Rather than seen this as a challenge to profitability, businesses should take this opportunity to align their Corporate Citizenship strategy with their business goals to build measurable brand value.

SLIDESHARE: The Case for Corporate Citizenship in Canada

ARTICLE: Corporate Citizenship Lessons: 5 Questions with Interbrand’s Carolyn Ray

Getting Started

Corporate Citizenship goes beyond traditional CSR initiatives and one-time fundraising activities. It need to be woven into the fabric of the business. Here are the ways to get started with your strategy.

1. Corporate Citizenship Assessment

Analyze your organization’s current Corporate Citizenship strategy and how it aligns with your brand and business goals. We focus on six Brand Strength dimensions that directly connect to the activation of your Corporate Citizenship strategy (Authenticity, Relevance, Differentiation, Responsiveness, Clarity and Presence) – and can include desk research, qualitative and quantitative techniques. This determines the performance of your Corporate Citizenship planning thus far and how it aligns with your brand and business strategy for optimizing brand value.

2. Corporate Citizenship Benchmarking

Next, do an audit of your key competitors’ Corporate Citizenship strategies and initiatives and best practice case studies of in and out of category brands. This is an important step that identifies the gaps and opportunities that can and should be addressed. The competitive audit will also help you understand what strategy will be most authentic and differentiating for your brand.

3. Corporate Citizenship Creative Evaluation

Assesses the visual and verbal elements currently being used to express your company’s CC strategy and initiatives. These components of your plan must be appraised to define creative excellence and optimal alignment with your corporate identity. Keep in mind that your strategy also requires an appropriate level of differentiation from your business.

4. Corporate Citizenship Driver Study

Conduct an analytical study of the key drivers of customer purchase behaviour and brand consideration across relevant stakeholder groups. This effort identifies and prioritizes what issues are most relevant to key constituencies in influencing their choices as it relates to social responsibility. The output can inform a targeted approach to your Corporate Citizenship strategy, tactics, messages and overall experience.

5. Corporate Citizenship Brand Playback

This last step allows us to listen in on real-time conversations and observe real-world behaviours among relevant stakeholder groups with a focus on Corporate Citizenship. This research distills the most relevant public perceptions of your brand’s CC strategy, identifies opportunities, and measures actions and activities over time to optimize your strategy and messaging.

More brands are working hard to make their Corporate Citizenship practices more intentional and inspired. Increasingly, companies are openly communicating about their social and environmental initiatives and this needs to continue. At Interbrand Canada we recognize that our national brands have traditionally shied away from promoting their CSR activities, but it’s time that our corporations start sharing their stories and respond to the demands of our socially conscious society.


Managing Director, Interbrand Canada