I did manage to take four good things away – but let’s start with the bad.
This was a 30-minute panel and the sponsors – Emma Grede of ITB and Livia Firth of Eco-Age – took up 15 minutes of it, talking about their respective companies. And at least seven of those 15 were spent playing us sizzle reels. They have three intriguing people in Adrian, Aimee Mullens (record breaker at the 1996 Paralympic Games), and Allison Drew (managing Dell’s CSR). Why did it take 15 minutes to hear from them?
I love to say that there’s no “I” in moderator. Less “talky” – and make your guests the star and hero.
Ok…rant complete…now on to the good:
1. Adrian is Dell’s official Social Good Advocate; Allison described how she worked with Adrian to focus on packaging, since Adrian’s passion is in clean oceans. CSR programs work best when there’s a shared passion or belief to back up the action.
2. In the age of social and Google, consumers will find out when brands aren’t being socially responsible. This is particularly true of millennial and Gen Z. Better to be transparent – for better or worse – as you become more responsible.
3. The True Cost is a documentary on the “fast fashion” business, and is eye opening as to who loses in the continued race to cheaper clothes. Livia Firth was the executive producer; ok, I’ll forgive her for stealing the stage for making this one.
So what to learn? First, if you’re ever a moderator and have amazing people with amazing stories central to the panel – MAKE THEM THE STAR.
Second, CSR is not simply a box you can check. People will know that’s your strategy. Brands need to be passionate about it or find someone they can partner with who is. And then connect the dots to how they can make an impact.