In this guest RBR + TVBR Intelligence Briefing from Karla Jo Helms, the head of a public relations firm, how the media can restore goodwill back into the graces of public opinion is tackled. The author calls on her firsthand experience of protecting revenue erosion while mastering the keys for “CSR for the Broadcast Industry.” Don’t know what “CSR” is? You should, making this important reading to everyone in your company’s C-Suite.
Article published by Radio+Television Business Report on November 16, 2016
By Karla Jo Helms
When journalism competes with infotainment, and sours the industry’s reputation, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can mean big business for the broadcast industry.
With all the negative media hype, biased reporting and “agendas” the press has come under scrutiny for during this recent U.S. presidential election, it would behoove the Radio and Television industry to differentiate themselves, quickly, to retain market share.
Realize that people, in the main stream, are intrinsically decent and moral; while sex, money, harm, controversy, opposing forces and the like may “sell,” too much of it generates ill will beyond the ability to easily repair.
How does fair reporting, along with following the time-proven media formula to a good story, fit in with this core of common decency with the public we serve?
The answer is Publicized Corporate Social Responsibility.
In my years in Crisis Management, Corporate Social Responsibility has been the key factor that either continued and fueled lawsuits or one’s reputational damage – or stopped it. I thought that little “finding” was too incredible to be believed until I investigated the fundamental common denominator of what companies who got into long-term reputational trouble did not have: a goodwill fund of Publicized Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR).
In today’s business arena, you need people to be comfortable and interested in doing business with you. Well, how about keeping their trust? Not all broadcast stations are the same, so why be lumped into the same positioning of those that the consumers are railing against?
In a world where many folks are looking for their news and information from credible online sources, publicizing CSR on digital platforms gains the best word of mouth. Actions taken by internet users worldwide in response to a company’s CSR efforts have been studied extensively: 63% bought a product with a social and/or environmental benefit; 53% boycotted a company’s product/services upon learning it behaved irresponsibly; 47% told friends or family about a company’s corporate responsibility efforts; 37% researched a company’s business practices or support of social/environmental issues.
Most recently, The New York Times is feeling the agony of political defeat in her reputation and in her wallet. After taking a beating, the Ol’ Gray Lady recently made an apology for her biased news reporting and appealed to its readers to stand by her. Another study of 10,000 global consumers found that 91% of shoppers worldwide will likely switch to brands that support a social or environmental cause. On the other hand, 90% of shoppers will boycott a company based off moral or irresponsible business practices.
Do you wonder how many out of The New York Times’ 2.5 million readers switched – and moved to a media company that possessed these traits?
I remember when I first heard about what the San Francisco Chronicle was doing with their talent and treasure. The Chronicle spearheaded a movement with more than 70 other news organizations to focus attention on the seemingly intractable problem of
homelessness in the Bay Area.
The SF Homeless Project explores possible solutions that aims to ease, or end, the suffering of thousands of people living on the city’s streets, and improve the quality of life for all residents. To date, the SF Homeless Project has been emulated in more than a dozen U.S. cities where homelessness remains a humanitarian crisis. It made an impact on me – and when I think of that area, I instantly think of them. If they generated goodwill with me, here in Florida where I am based, what about their 167,000 regional subscribers?
Radio and television stations can emulate what the Chronicle did. You have a voice already. Use it for good, and in a big way. Giving a voice to those that don’t have one, e.g., kids in need, human rights violations, mental health abuse or speaking up for those that need advocates are just a few that cry for broadcast help. This can come outside of the required public service programming that often airs when people are sleeping on a Sunday morning.
Some 42% of how people feel about a company is based on their perceptions of the firm’s CSR efforts. It’s common understanding now that the government cannot be held solely responsible for ethical and societal changes. People today believe that businesses have a civic duty to utilize their wealth and success to aid in the growth and wellbeing of society. Even Millennials – slated to be the biggest workforce and spending force by
2020 – will spend their money and pay more to companies who contribute to the greater good – and publicize it.
Remember, if you don’t tell anyone, no one will know.
Don’t worry about “bragging.” Tastefully publicizing CSR is simply making the people or
group you are helping the hero of the story; it’s not all about you.
Karla Jo Helms is the CEO and visionary behind JoTo PR. Karla cut her teeth in PR via Crisis Management, working with litigation attorneys, private investigators and the media to help restore companies of goodwill back into the graces of public opinion. Karla Jo learned firsthand how brutal business could be when there were millions of dollars to be had – and how to navigate those treacherous waters via control of public opinion. Since then, Karla Jo has patterned her agency on a combination of her hardwon Public Relations experience, uncompromising high standards and exacting nationwide market research across multiple industries. She is a hands-on executive who hand picks the PR professionals who work on her team to ensure client results always meet client expectations. Helms speaks globally on Public Relations and how corporations can harness it to drive markets.