Last week at a meeting with a mentor, whilst discussing strategy, I was asked what I thought corporate social responsibility meant to the people I worked with. He was pushing me to challenge my own thinking and, up until that point, his question wasn’t something I had ever really considered.
I know it's something we need to be doing. I understand why, commercially it makes sense and I believe with great passion that we should be using our resource for good but I had never considered how my colleagues perceived the work I did. In my mind, it was obvious.
I skirted around the question, quickly redirecting the conversation but this question had a lasting effect on me.
As brands, advertisers and marketeers our job is to tell beautiful, compelling stories that weave us into the fabric of our society. These stories exist as a constant reminder that we are engaged, connected and empathetic to the world that we live in.
Our corporate responsibility strategies should add credibility to these narratives - the best marketeers don’t sit on the side lines and theorise, we immerse ourselves in the communities we work with and do everything we can to reflect those communities in our campaigns. We get involved and we impart endless ideas to our audiences. Yet the simplest thing we can do to bring these ideas to life is often overlooked.
What I’ve learnt from Do It Day is not profound – this project has served as a simple reminder that everybody cares about something. There is no shortage of money, skills, knowledge, experience or influence in the world and more specifically in our world. I have witnessed some incredible things during both Plan It Day and Do It Day so why do we lack imagination when it comes to ‘doing good’?
Corporate social responsibility is our chance to make something happen. It has long been viewed and misunderstood as an attempt to drag the suited and booted of the City (probably in the rain) to their local inner city comprehensive to paint some walls and “give something back” without knowing what that “something” really is. It’s up there as the pinnacle of unpopularity with other dirty words like ‘diversity’ to which corporates are guilty of simply paying lip service and not giving any considered thought.
Do It Day is a chance to end this by proving why we can and should buck this trend.Let’s engage our people, understand our communities and use our skills to give substance to the compelling stories our industry tells every day.
Rachel Blackwood is responsible for corporate responsibility at Clear Channel UK.