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CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility, and refers to both internal and external pressure on a company to act in a way that is courteous to the communities around them, acts in a way that is in sympathy with the environment, and generally acts with ethics, honourability and a desire to give back.

CSR campaign Thailand

A cynical view may be that companies employ CSR strategies because A) they feel like they have to, and B) it’s cheaper to buy a water pump for a school and send out a press release about it than it is to buy newspaper advertising.

This is true (on some counts), and some companies do treat it this way.

For most organisations though, the pursuit of a good CSR program is something they do because they want to, and marketing communication opportunities which stem from it are a positive by-product.

Doing business generally often results in having some impact on the world around us. We consume raw materials when we make our goods; despite our best efforts, consumers litter and don’t recycle; perhaps the road to our business unit is subject to constant tailbacks because vehicles are waiting to turn in to our street and deliver.

It is incumbent upon us as ethical and responsive business owners to do our best to support the people who are touched directly and indirectly – for better or for worse – by our business. A positive outcome of spending some time on developing a CSR plan is that we have good things to tell people about our business, and in this day and age, good news is always welcome by all kinds of media consumers.

Another positive benefit is that a good PR strategy has a lot of benefits in terms of its internal HR impact. It is a good way to get staff to buy into good causes, work as a team outside of work, and further develop camaraderie throughout our ops teams and partner organisations.

It may help initially to judge carefully how much pressure your teams are under. Whilst putting a cool CSR program into place is beneficial, if staff members are already stressed and overwhelmed with workloads, it will cause them more stress.

Once you are certain your teams will welcome the initiative, it may be helpful to plot your free periods onto a calendar, and block those off as CSR activity days. You can then begin to think about the types of programs you would like to include. If you’re not sure where to start, look at charities located in areas near to your office, or focus on schools or adult education centres which would really benefit from the constructive charitable input of you and your team members.

Whilst it is natural to lean towards project types that are close to your heart personally, it pays to consider the “media magnetism” of any programs you’re suggesting. Whilst the PR value of a certain initiative should not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to CSR, it’s something you can let guide your planning process as it’s fairly obvious for this to feature in your planning.

Please drop us a message via the contact form and we will organise a video call with you to brainstorm some ideas for you based on your industry and objectives, i.e.- how you would like people to feel about your company and what you can do about that immediately through your CSR activations.

Social media is just one of the channels available to your PR partner for leveraging on for your goodwill amplification. The others may be influencers, traditional media, events, collaborations, Google ads …. There are many ways to communicate about your worthwhile CSR efforts.

Traditional media tacticals – press releases, photo captions, scoop releases and advertorials – all serve this well, and bear in mind that all of this content will be reproduced on your social pages, company homepage, blog, HR newsletter, marketing collaterals, etc.

Here are a few starter examples from our recent work, to get the ideas moving:

• Mangrove replanting in the mangrove forests near to Bangkok; this idea is popular for its carbon-neutral claim value which can be used to “greenwash” your environmental waste, etc.

• Install an IT suite or clean water filter at a nearby school, which can help CEOs when trying to build their personal profiles on LinkedIn for some serious credibility and good content post opportunity value.

• Set up an ideas lab within your company and invite university students to come in and work on your technology or marketing; this is great as it can set up a feeder channel for talent, which can give you good connections to interns, future recruits, new ideas, etc.

• Discounted retail prices for elderly or disabled customers (handle with care to avoid unintentional “reverse discrimination”).

• Litter picking for staff, which is super easy to organise and always appreciated by the local community (your staff less so? … there are often secondary considerations to think about with your charitable endeavours, which is why PR agency consulting is invaluable).

• If you are a hotel and you have street food vendors immediately outside your entrance, they’ve been there years and their food is widely considered clean and safe, why not furnish them with free branded umbrellas? They’ll appreciate it and your hotel will be more visible from the BTS skywalk.

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