The other day I was wondering why all Romanian managers expect people to react positively to CSR campaigns.
Translated by Maria Albu.
The latest data found in the most recent report on the evolution of sustainability, Architects of a better world, published by United Nations Global Compact and Accenture bring di~scouraging results: sustainable development no longer represents a major interest for the 1.000 CEO’s surveyed. The top 3 priorities are: “growth and employment” (64%), education (40%), and energy (39%). Although the sustainability interest has risen among companies, managers start to doubt the profitability of it. Why? Because consumer needs are not linked to sustainability.
The Magic Bullet Theory was thoroughly discussed in the first half of the XXth century. It is one of the oldest and most popular theory on mass communication. Long story short, after World War II, it was believed that all the messages launched in mass-media would generate the same reactions among readers, regardless of culture, social statute or individual preferences. The way in which CSR communication is practiced successfully reinstates this outdated theory, 67 years later from its emergence. We are surrounded by companies with various objects of activity, from financial counseling to fuel production or services of any kind.
As different as they may seem in matters of first-sight functioning, the more similar their CSR campaigns are. These campaigns often review subjects like ecology, tree planting, donations and green living. Is there an audience for these campaigns? Are these the customer’s real needs? According to which criteria are social causes chosen? What is the connection between the company’s object of activity and that CSR campaign? What is the image created by the company through these campaigns? Do Romanians value the idea of being conscientious?
These are some questions that should be answered for only one reason: social campaigns are not rentable. In this constant struggle to conform to the occidental trends, we rush into being responsible but often fail, because we try to copy ideas that have been thought for american or british societies, that are highly dissimilar to the romanian one. Our cultural natural background is the one who speaks for itself and, unfortunately, it is not enfolded in any way by the cultural natural background of the CSR concept. The upside is the fact that this situation has enough potential to change. The first step for it is a thoughtful reconsideration of the relationship between the company and the consumer, in retrospect to the former values and not its immediate needs.