Adding a Visual Boost to CSR Missions

For a lot of organizations, the primary reason for existence is to generate money. And while that may sound callous, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Organizations in strong financial shape are not only a source of employment and an improved quality of life, but they are also what lead to the development of better products and services in the market. That being said, the upside of economic prosperity can diminish if the social and ecological costs are too high.

Year after year, consumers, employees, and investors grow more attuned to organizational values and actions. In fact, a blog on recent consumer trends reports that today’s consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from businesses that support their values. And, with similar trends found in talent and investor pools, it seems there is no better time than now to renew focus on corporate social responsibility. The health of the organization depends on it.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

According to The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, corporate social responsibility is defined as “the continuous commitment by businesses to behave ethically and improve the lives of their workforce, their families, and the local community as well as the society at large.” And yet, CSR wasn’t always defined this way.

A CSR illustration with three elements: climate change, sustainability efforts, and a resilient supply chain.

Originally, corporate social responsibility was a way for businesses to self-regulate philanthropic and charitable contributions into organizational policies. Since its inception, however, CSR has evolved to encompass much more. With the emergence of environmental issues, national and international regulations, and increased social pressure, businesses now report on business operations and other areas that pertain to corporate social responsibility. In today’s business reporting, business ethics, charitable donations, regulatory compliance, working conditions, local community impact, the environment, supply chain, and organizational carbon footprint all are defining elements of CSR.

Our Role in Amplifying CSR Missions

ImageThink’s client roster consists of many of the world’s most recognizable organizations – organizations which aren’t foreign to corporate social responsibility and its importance. In fact, a lot of the initiatives that ImageThink supports fall under the umbrella of CSR. Why? Because leaders understand that visuals can help make a message stick and pave a realistic path toward lofty goals.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways ImageThink has helped to amplify client CSR missions.

Acting Ethically

In the retail, fashion, pharmaceutical, healthcare, or SaaS industries, where business ethics are a consumer concern, ImageThink often helps codify commitments to acting ethically.

Ensuring materials are ethically sourced and sustainably made, caring for the health and wellbeing of the public, and digital ethics are challenges unique to each of these industries. Challenges that make the pursuit of ethical practices high priority. However, unlike revenue or production goals, CSR initiatives aren’t easily measured in numbers. That’s why visualization is an invaluable tool.

With complex topics like ethics, a strategic visual or creative exercise can provide clarity and unlock new ways of thinking. In many instances, ImageThink’s work helps reveal the perspective of the individuals they serve, define values and align teams, or uncover ideas and best practices around ethics.

Patient advisory board infographic, used to help clients develop ethical practices through understanding patients.

Consider an ImageThink patient journey or empathy map. These visual tools help bring clients to a point of understanding with the individuals they serve. Clarifying the feelings, attitudes, and actions of their customer, patient or student base helps guide clients toward ethical practices. That’s a win for the organization, consumer, AND CSR, in our book.

An ImageThink empathy map template, used to help clients envision the feelings and actions of their consumer.

The Link Between Supply Chains and CSR

Another way in which ImageThink helps amplify CSR missions is by breaking down the supply chain of companies. Take the following work with The Association of Supply Chain Management.

As the largest non-profit association for supply chains, ASCM has a clear understanding of the overlap between CSR and supply chains. The integration of the two means better business, and a more sustainable world.

In their annual two-day conference, ASCM hired ImageThink to provide visual support of key messaging and amplify insight from conference attendees. With thought-provoking questions like, “How are you creating a better world through supply chain?” and “What impact have you made in your supply chain?” our team of visual strategists captured takes on teaching, decision-making, sustainability and more.

For ASCM, watching their responses unfold in real-time created deeper engagement toward the subjects, and helped to link mindsets toward green goals. ASCM’s final boards reflected the development of a greener world through thoughtful efforts in the supply chain. They also marked a larger commitment to continue their work in CSR – one that can be shared for years to come, with visual, tangible proof.

A social listening mural created for client ASCM for a CSR mission. It contains illustrated responses for the question, "How are you creating a better world through the supply chain?"

Could your organization use visuals to boost a corporate social responsibility mission, strategic plan, or major event? Give ImageThink a call today to learn how a team of visual strategists can help amplify your message. Or, to see more of ImageThink’s work, click here.

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