IPRCCC 2018: Panel discussion on corporate social responsibility and nation building
Industry experts from Discovery India, Centre for Social Research, Home Credit, PR HUB, Quick Relations, and The Sedibus spoke at the ninth edition of IPRCCC
The ninth edition of IPRCCC saw a panel discussion themed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Nation building’, where talks revolved around how communication supports in building blocks, bridging the gap between social responsibility and corporate governance.
Eminent names amongst the panellists were Sameer Bajaj, Director - Corporate Communications and External Affairs, Discovery India; Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research; Nidhi Malik, Vice President- Communications & CSR, Home Credit; Xavier Prabhu, Founder & MD, PR HUB; PK Khurana, Chairman & MD, Quick Relations; Deepa Balasubramanian, Head of Corporate Affairs, Malaxmi Group CEO, The Sedibus. The session was chaired by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, exchange4media Group.
Watch the video here, and scroll down to read the discussion:
Initiating the session with how the term CSR can be made more ‘humanised’ rather than business centric, Balasubramaniam added, “Consumers identify brand through human connect and that’s what is precisely happening these days.”
Talking about the need to redefine CSR, Prabhu added, “By saying CSR, you are already putting the corporate insight and that itself limits you from an outreach perspective. It should be changed upside down to focus more on the impact that it creates.”
Speaking about whether brands should be more subtle when it comes to CSR and allow it to speak for itself, Malik added, “The day we stop taking CSR as a marketing tool and really take it as a social responsibility, things will change.”
Speaking about how the whole CSR approach needs to be changed, Kumari added, “Earlier what we knew about the CSR was the foundations of the corporations. Doing some kind of a work, which nobody knew was going on. Today, it has opened up because the way the Government is looking at things like sanitation, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and so many schemes and programmes. Also, as long as you call it a responsibility, it becomes a kind of a forced thing. We can call it accountability or something that you really want to contribute to.”
Talking about what the future holds for CSR, Bajaj said, “Results show that by 2019, 50,000 crores will be spent by corporate in CSR. This is a good indicator but it needs to go deeper and we need to be more focused”
The session moved ahead with discussion around the challenges in maintaining the ethos in the corporate hierarchy with regard to CSR. Balasubramaniam added, “It is very important that there is unison in thought when CSR is being implemented and the message does not get lost in the hierarchy.” Further, Khurana added, “Unless the communication teams understand the core values of the CSR, they cannot communicate effectively. Communication team needs to go to each and every element of the CSR activity, understand it, bifurcate it and then communicate it.”
Talking about the need to create value beyond the business, Prabhu added, “What people are asking today is whether you are genuine in doing the CSR and is it creating the desired impact?” Talking further about the need of CSR to come from the core business belief of the business, Bajaj added, “Leadership and individuals can change but the business does not. What does your business stand for, what are the values that you live for and what is that area which you think will engage the most with your audiences and where you can create an impact will create a long term value.”
Concluding the sessions with whether companies are realising that consumers are watching them closely when it comes to CSR, Mallik added, “Developed countries like America have seen that the purchasing goes up by almost 57 per cent wherein the companies are more emotional and socially active.”
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