Yes, Your Corporate Responsibility Report Can Strengthen Your Brand

Every piece of content you create is an opportunity to strengthen your brand, and this includes your corporate responsibility report.

TD Bank knows this. Who is at the center of their brand? Customers. It shows in their “Bank Human Again” commercials. It shows in their social media efforts (if you’re a customer, mention them on Twitter and see how quickly they respond). And it shows in their corporate responsibility report — notice how people focused it is, how “Customers” is the first tab, and how well branded the report is throughout.

"Be Customer Focused" - TD Bank Customer Title Page

The challenge is getting people to read your corporate responsibility report. But before I share that secret, let me first give you important reasons why you want people to read it.

1. Corporate social responsibility is a main reason millennials want to work for you.

Growing companies always want to attract employees who want to grow with the company. Both millennials and more experienced, socially responsible candidates want to work for a company that does good in the world and has ethical and sustainable business practices.

2. Informed employees are more likely to want to stay and be more motivated to work.

The more good information about your company your employees have, the more likely they are to WANT to keep working for you and to spread the word about what a great company you are. That’s a brand builder right there!

Build Your Brand: Get People to Read Your Report

Now, how do you get people to read your report?

1. Let all your employees know when the report is released.

Send them a link to the online posting. Don’t just expect them to find it. And give them easy ways to share the report with others.

2. Advertise the release of the report.

In addition to doing a press release, showcase your report on social media and consider emailing the link to the report to certain stakeholders.

3. Build a social media campaign around your report’s contents.

Start talking about your company’s social responsibility efforts before releasing the report. Create and share related blog posts and repurpose parts of the report as blog posts and as social media posts. Tailor these posts to different channels — for example, longer posts can go on Google+, shorter snippets on Twitter with links to blog posts or the report itself.

4. Give your audience reasons to read.

What are the interesting parts of your report (not to you, but to your audience)? Do they know about your customer-focused efforts? Do they know the good that you do? Do they share some of the same interests your company does? Ideally, you think about all this before writing the report. Spotlight stories, case studies or short articles within the report can add a personal touch–briefly detailing volunteer experiences or great customer service stories.

My point here is that often when faced with annual reports that are a regulatory requirement or part of self-regulation efforts, don’t think of these reports as a task, especially not a boring one. Think of them as an opportunity — an opportunity to strengthen your brand and your relationship with your customers.