When all is said and done, how many people will read your entire corporate sustainability report (CSR), from beginning to end? Chances are that only a few eager readers will read the whole report. Since many of your stakeholders may not delve enthusiastically into the technical details, it may take some additional effort and a bit of creativity to reach them with your company’s main messages about sustainability strategy, philosophies and achievements.
While the quality of the full report is top priority, it is important to consider your options to extend the reach of your report through additional tactics. A good corporate responsibility report will provide abundant content that can serve as source material for a successful initial launch and throughout the year. So, in order to maximize your company’s investment in sustainability and in the report, carefully consider all of the internal and external channels available to help you efficiently repackage your messaging. It is important to evaluate and plan for this early on in order to incorporate all of the details into your project plan and launch the report simultaneously across all channels. In addition, it takes advanced planning to build a report that includes modules that can stand alone and communicate effectively without the full report.
Here are a few additional options for merchandizing your corporate sustainability report
Telling your sustainability story in an infographic format can be a highly effective way to extend the reach of your report. Done correctly, these representations of your sustainability achievements and messaging work well because they organize information to visually communicate and simplify complex concepts. This format is also highly portable – easily utilized and effective in many channels, from websites and social media to newsletters and sales fliers. Infographics can be effective as modules within your full report that also stand-alone to help communicate your sustainability narrative.
Video is another effective way to share the results, strategies and messaging in your CSR with both internal and external audiences. Like infographics, videos allow you to communicate visually in a way that engages your audience on an additional level and simplifies a complex story. If you have video experts in your company, check with them for guidance about timing, budget, requirements, etc. Also find out who you need to work with internally to get the most out of your video by linking to as many company web pages and social media platforms as possible. In addition to online use, your executives and sales teams can also incorporate videos into their speaking opportunities and trade show displays.
Don’t forget to make the most of your own company website(s) to promote your report to all company stakeholders. Take stock of company web properties, from customer facing sites to employee portals, and consider ways your sustainability content can be integrated within those sites. Then work with your internal web experts to help drive traffic to your report. Look closely at navigation as well as opportunities to create images or banners that can link readers to your online report. Make sure you know the specific requirements of each site, from the pixel sizes needed for images to the timeline for requests and delivery of artwork. Also check with your advertising department to determine if there are opportunities to promote the sustainability report through planned online advertising buys, especially on sites that will reach your target audience(s).
Social Media Messaging
The sustainability community has a vibrant presence in social media, and your customers and employees probably do as well. So make sure to develop a plan for your company’s Twitter and Facebook channels, along with any other social media platforms that your company uses (Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). Each of these sites requires a unique approach, so check with your internal experts to create a cohesive campaign with coordinated messaging. If you have created infographics or videos, make sure to use them in conjunction with social media.
Another great way to communicate your report content is to bring your report messaging to stakeholders in a direct and personal way through your internal sustainability experts. Look for opportunities for them to engage in public conversations about your report. Consider scheduling your experts to participate in events such as Twitter chats, panel discussions at sustainability conferences, executive speeches, and employee events. Events like these not only help get the word out about the report, but they also serve as a way to get feedback that can inform the next report.
All of these steps will help ensure that your report content reaches as many stakeholders as possible. But, just remember, it’s important to include opportunities to collect feedback that can be incorporated into your planning for the next one.