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EIKONA Connect: PR drives brand CSR communication by 5-10% across product categories

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EIKONA Connect: PR drives brand CSR communication by 5-10% across product categories and Eikona, the Neutral, Earned Media Planning, Audit & Advisory Service, jointly bring to you an info graphic fortnightly series called EIKONA connect. This series will focus on quick interesting nuggets of  PR / Earned Media Trends and dynamics faced by the Professionals of Corporate Communications & PR Firms. The objective is to create and inculcate informed opinion about PR and aid towards Scientific Decision Making Process.
Even before the 2% CSR expenditure policy was mandated by the government, corporate and product brands have been leveraging on CSR initiatives. Why shouldn’t they? The only noticeable difference is, that post the policy mandate, the prominence of CSR led talk points in a Corporate’s annual Communication Calendar has seen a conscious and drastic increase.
The key point, however, is that yet again, here is another data point that suggests how uniquely placed PR/Earned Media as a brand building tool is. Advertising has not come in handy for Brand’s CSR/Sustainability initiatives. While Paid initiative tools have been fixated with Product communication, it is PR/Earned Media that has helped Brands leverage their CSR initiatives and create a positive rub off on its Reputation scores.
If you see the Print ADEX data, Brand’s CSR communications through advertising forms barely 0.04 percent of the overall Print Advertising volume across product categories in a year. PR, on the other hand, compensates by focusing on CSR communication with anywhere between 5-10% of its overall communication (across product categories) by volumes.
Some interesting aspects about CSR communications through PR/Earned Media emerge. Below are some quick points:
1. PR is increasingly shouldering Brand CSR initiatives for Corporates:

Key Observations:
• In 2013, as an average across the Top 15 Industry verticals (by PR Volumes), CSR contributed to around 8% of what PR shouldered of a Brand’s overall communications across Corporate, Human Resource, Finance, Product & Services, Marketing Initiatives etc. This number has already jumped to 20% during Jan-Sept 2015. If things remain bullish, the 2015 may well end with PR contributing to 36% of a Brand’s overall communication towards CSR alone!
• Categories like Banking, Telecom, FMCG, Consumer Durables had higher growth in CSR news year on year
• CSR, till a long time, was metro centric. However, now with business sense heading rural wards, CSR PR has started making its presence felt in smaller cities and towns. The ratio of media ink dedicated by regional (non-metro) papers to CSR news increased by 12% in Jan-Dec 2014 over Jan-Dec 2013 & by 23% in Jan- Sep 2015 over Jan – Sept 2015. 
2. Corporate & Product (CSR & PSR) Social Responsibility complimenting each other:
The Corporate Vs Product Brand conundrum seems to be finally breaking loose. The decade long road block of Corporate & Product brands not working hand in hand seems to be taking a positive U-turn. 

Key Findings:
• Both Corporate and Marketing Communication making conscious attempt to leverage social causes and build/launch their brands through PR/Earned Media
• Initiatives like Women Empowerment, Environment/Green efforts, Festival based  programs, Health & Safety measures, Swachh Bharat, etc. have attracted media attention

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