The US Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center and IBM have issued a new report that explores how efforts by businesses to be a positive force in communities – commonly referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR) – influences public perception of those companies.
The report, titled, “The CSR Effect: Social Media Sentiment and the Impact on Brands”, examines the connection between companies that promote their corporate citizenship work and the resulting impact on public sentiment.
The study found that, among social media users who initially hold neutral views about a company, learning of a company’s CSR programming can move sentiment about the company into positive territory. Additionally, over time, companies who increased online promotion of their CSR efforts experienced improvements in how they are viewed by social media users.
“Corporate social responsibility initiatives benefit both communities and businesses, and those efforts have even more impact as more and more businesses focus on societal improvement,” says Marc DeCourcey, senior vice-president of the US Chamber Foundation. “This research shows that CSR can change how people feel about a company, and we hope it inspires businesses across the country to make corporate citizenship a cornerstone of their mission.”
“Doing well by doing good is not only an important aspect of corporate culture, but it could also offer positive returns for a company of any size or industry,” says Diane Melley, vice-president of IBM Global Citizenship Initiatives. “This joint study demonstrates that corporate citizenship work does in fact change how people view a company.”
The research and analysis was made possible through an Impact Grant from IBM, which provided both consulting and technology support. The two-year joint study measured public sentiment using IBM Social Media Analytics.