“People, Planet and Profits”

This week, I introduced my students to corporate social responsibility, or the “triple bottom line” of “people, planet and profits.”

Each student will choose a company, likely in his or her chosen industry of focus, and then propose a CSR program and write a memo about it.

Companies today are measured on more than just their balance sheets. To remain competitive and maintain their standing in the public eye, companies must focus on how they treat the environment, their employees and customers, as well as their investors. What I find so fascinating about the trend is its complexity. One person’s values are another person’s flash points. Are companies responsible for people who produce their products yet are employed by a subcontractor? Does social media and the digital age present more challenges or opportunities for companies when it comes to corporate social responsibility?

Embed from Getty Images

With that in mind, I picked several prompts for this week’s insPiRation that touch on the idea of corporate social responsibility, either directly or indirectly.

Athletes… corporate social responsibility…branding…
Shunning Gas Hogs, Athletes Green Their Rides (The New York Times)
Can athletes’ preference for electric or hybrid cars make a real difference in the push for reducing American dependence on fossil fuels? Why do you think athletes are “increasingly sensitive to their personal brands and want to be connected to causes”? What do you think of the idea that for teams there is “incredible value in doing the right thing for your business and the environment”?

Food…corporate social responsibility…
In Florida Tomato Fields, A Penny Buys Progress (The New York Times)
Why do you think these companies agree to better conditions for tomato pickers? Do most consumers know – or care- where their food comes from? How might companies use their participation in the program to improve their reputations?

Beer & PR & corporate social responsibility…
Beer Prices Could Go Up Under FDA Rule That Angers Farmers, Brewers (The Oregonian)
If you ran a craft brewery how would you reassure customers? Could companies promote the change as corporate social responsibility?

Travel & corporate social responsibility…
Mount Everest Avalanche: Sherpas Reconsider Their Perilous Profession (The Christian Science Monitor)
Discuss the ethics of this case and the difficulties of  deciding on “values” when considering corporate social responsibility. With the subsequent cancellation of this year’s Mount Everest climbing season, what is the effect on tourism public relations?

Gluten-free Beauty Products In Demand Among Some Customers (Los AngelesTimes)
The gluten-free trend moves from food to beauty products. Is this corporate social responsibility or just marketing? Should every beauty product maker eliminate gluten?

Music & social media… (2)
11 Musicians on Tumblr Who Hit the Right Note (Mashable)
Are there any common notes in how these musicians use Tumblr? Do musicians today need social media to promote themselves and their music?

Avril Lavigne Responds to ‘Hello Kitty’ Critics and Cries of ‘Racism’ (PRNEwser)
What new challenges do musicians face in our interconnected, global, digital world?

Cinema & social media…
iBeacons Are Ready for Showtime at the Tribeca Film Festival (Mashable)
Will the iBeacon enhance or detract from the film festival experience?

Fashion & blogging…
The Golden Era of ‘Fashion Blogging’ Is Over (New York Magazine)
I’m stealing author Givhan’s questions: “But, now that so many bloggers have been embraced by the industry — and the Old Guard has learned to keep up with social media — is there still an opportunity for new voices at shows? And if so, what kind of voices can still flourish?”

Sports & social media…
A Soccer Star’s Transition From the Pitch to YouTube (Mashable)
What are your thoughts on KickTV? Why do you think “Internet users show a tremendous appetitie for soccer content”?

Health & image management…
Lifesaving Procedure With an Image Problem (The New York Times)
The public relations of bone marrow transplants has not kept up with changing medicine. What could be done to increase public understanding and the procedure’s image to help save lives?

Travel & PR…
Ignore All the Vomiting: Royal Caribbean Tries To Sell Us on Cruises (PR Newser)
How else might cruising try to improve its battered reputation? Have any social media ideas?

LinkedIn & brands…
Infographic: LinkedIn Statistics Brands Should Know (Ragan)
Given this data, what are some ways companies could better use LinkedIn to promote/establish/reinforce their brands?

Mobile marketing…
Study: Mobile Marketing Isn’t Just for Kids Anymore (PRNewser)
Boomers are changing mobile marketing.  How can companies successfully gear mobile marketing toward different generations without alienating any of them?

Damage control… food… social media…
General Mills Clarifies for Fans: You Can Sue Us (but Please Don’t)  (PRNewser)
Does General Mills get social media? How would you have handled the crisis?

Food… branding… social media…fashion(?)…
Ronald McDonald Loses the Jumpsuit, Is Ready for His Selfie (Mashable)
Mickey D’s commercial have kept up with the times, so why not Ronald McDonald? Comments, anyone? (PS: I hadn’t thought about Grimace in years.)

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