There is no doubt that moms have found their voice in countries all around the world. I recently spoke to Aaron Sherinian, VP of communications and public relations for the UN Foundation, who said, “Ask a mom today where she lives, and she will tell you she has a global zip code. Don’t assume she only cares about one issue or cause and don’t assume that it’s a cause that lives in her backyard. She communicates on more than one channel and is interested in a host of issues. Today’s mom may want to help out at her local school, but she’s also worried about economic development, health care, climate, education, poverty, hunger and human rights issues around the world. It’s important to meet her where she is and help her as she bridges her involvement in both local and global issues.”
The 2013 Cone Global CSR Study confirms this. Corporate social responsibility is no longer enough for companies today. Average citizens are looking for companies to not just make money for their shareholders, but to make an impact on the world’s biggest challenges … by donating product, advocating change, volunteering, evolving operations/supply chains and improving how they conduct business. The Cone report showed 93% wants to see more of the products, services and retailers they use support worthy social and/or environmental issues.
Just how much influence do today’s global moms have on corporations’ charitable campaigns? More than one imagines. Look at the UN Foundation, which is harnessing this energy for the broad and deep “global to do” list of issues they support. Moms are the center of this engagement strategy along with a host of brands they’ve partnered with like Johnson & Johnson, Walgreens, Diapers.com and more. “Brands and moms have a bigger voice than some may realize. And when moms and brands combine forces, governments, NGOs, parliaments, finance departments and other corporations listen. Social media is a facilitator for opening the conversation and driving creativity around these conversations. And technology enables a two-way conversation around the world like never before,” Sherinian added.
But can you actually create programs that are meaningful both locally and globally?
Sherinian said a resounding, “Yes.” Partnering with Walgreens, the UN created the “Get a Shot, Give a Shot” vaccine campaign. For each flu shot taken in the U.S., a life-saving vaccine was given to a child in the developing world to the tune of three million vaccines. “The program aligned a global need with the brand’s agenda centered around the health and wellness of its customers. Both communities benefitted.”
When the Girl Up Campaign mobilizes around injustices or global conversations like the shooting in Pakistan of Malala Yousafzai, the issue wasn’t just the injustice of shooting a young girl for wanting to go to school. “Moms and daughters here in the U.S. equated that issue with a host of issues that face girls everywhere including bullying in schools here in the United States,” said Sherinian.
Working with moms and their “philanthro-teens” of globally-minded girls who advocate for global issues, the UN Foundation partnered over the last few years with brands including Johnson & Johnson’s Clean and Clear whose product positioning was centered on helping build confidence among girls as leaders for global change in their communities. Self-esteem is impacted with a proper education–girls become more confident making for a perfect connector between the UN’s agenda and brands like Clean and Clear.
So is corporate social responsibility worth it for a brand? The Cone report says so. Of those surveyed, 96% said they would have a more positive image, be more likely to trust and be loyal to a socially responsible company. But most importantly, the study showed corporate social responsibility would increase the likelihood of brand switching.
“Moms will always have a seat at the policy table and are leading voices on the biggest issues of the day. You’ll see them deciding who else has to be at the table. No only will they be holding brands accountable, they’ll be involving our youth, calling for greater government support, and asking the tough questions,” said. Sherinian. Engaging in a smart, authentic way with moms everywhere isn’t just about a conversation today, it’s about helping shape the conversation tomorrow. That’s something that everyone – causes, brands, governments – should take to heart.”