Here are 5 Top Tips for the other 80%.
Allison+Partners recently carried out a global survey on “Technology PR's Tug of War" on brand versus product. With 2021 synonymous with purpose, brand and authenticity, the research looked at whether B2B technology firms delivered to this agenda and kept up with their consumer counterparts.
There were many interesting findings. Particularly striking -- only 20% surveyed publicly shared their CSR programs or published specific or measurable goals tied to those initiatives. Furthermore, while a quarter may have publicly shared their CSR goals, as few as 28% said they were not specific or measurable.
Another statistic revealed that while 43% publicly shared progress of these goals through metrics or performance indicators, they only shared when there was positive progress or milestones to talk about. So why the reticence to be open, transparent, set goals and use smart metrics? Surely that’s the only way the B2B tech market can move forward in the authentic world.
At A+P, we feel passionately that all programs and campaigns should be measured with goals and milestones set from the outset of a campaign and with checks in place along the way that ensure transparency throughout the work. It’s then critical to check milestones regularly and see how the campaign is tracking.
One thing is certain -- there is no true set of universally understood or valued criteria on how CSR programs are measured. All businesses are different, and CSR measurement is as unique as the companies practicing it and the communities served – as noted by Jerome Tennille, a social good professional who has worked with organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities and Peace through Action USA.
Here are five few simple steps for companies interested in publicizing their CSR work:
1. Set a Clear Strategy and Goals
From the outset, it is fundamental to have a clear strategy with supporting goals everyone buys into from your directors and senior management team through to the whole organization. To make real change happen, it needs to be driven from the very top of an organization. Without this drive and commitment from senior management, it will lead to complacency amongst staff and stakeholders, and ultimately failure to deliver.
2. Be Honest and Authentic.
Put honesty and authenticity at the heart of your programs. In today’s environment where more human elements matter, it creates value and benefits for your employees and stakeholders and improves your business. It builds your identity into something influential, gives substance to your business and enables people to relate to your business.
3. Commit to Total Transparency
Total transparency is required on the progress you make against your goals and metrics. It is OK and probably very likely that not all targets are reached along the way, particularly if they are challenging. By sharing all results, negative and positive, it demonstrates you are an ethical and honest business. Your key stakeholders will have a lot more respect if you are upfront about not hitting some goals along the way. Acknowledge the failings, step back and reassess, and then reset new achievable goals and continue making them public by regularly updating key stakeholders.
4. Develop Clear KPIs, Tools and Metrics
Draft specific and detailed KPIs that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Timely). This is important to assessing long-term goals. Measurement should be ongoing and baked into the campaigns with feedback loops built in to improve performance as the campaigns progress. At A+P, we recommend employing industry-standard metrics approved and recognized in the B2B tech markets, making it easier for you and your stakeholders to evaluate the impact of the campaigns. Nothing stays the same, so constant refinement and improvements to your tools will make all the difference to the success of your campaigns.
5. Benchmark Against Top Performers
There are some great success stories out there leading the way. Examine what these companies are doing, learn from them and follow their examples. They might not be in B2B technology, but this isn’t necessarily an issue because the principles are the same. By reading and learning about other success stories, you can then tailor your own work with those best practices in mind to achieve the best possible results for your organization. Ones that spring to mind include Intel, Cisco and Shopify.
A+P’s global study demonstrated that while many B2B tech firms (more than 70%) were committed to brand and purpose, the measurement, KPIs and analytics need to be improved to ensure it’s not vapourware. To ensure B2B tech firms move forward, KPIs, realistic and achievable metrics and measurement need to be introduced. Our top five tips:
1. Get commitment from top management to publish results
2. Be honest and authentic throughout, publishing when you don’t reach a target
3. Commit to total transparency, publishing when you don’t reach a target
4. Develop clear KPIs using industry metrics
5. Benchmark against brands already hitting the mark
To learn more, please head to our Measurement + Analytics page for more information
Sue has specialized in PR in the b2b technology industry since 1984. One of her first roles was to launch Bill Gates and Microsoft in the UK. Since then, she has gone on to create and implement communications campaigns for many of the industry’s most successful and emerging brands. She provides the experience and strategic guidance that has helped both established and emerging b2b brands take their profile to the next level in EMEA. She is passionate about digital marketing and integrating into client campaigns. Sue ensures that ROI and measurement underpins all clients’ campaigns and that each campaign delivers first class results. Most recent client experience includes Tech Data, ShoreTel, Ruckus, Ooyala, New Relic and Palo Alto Networks.