CSR, Transparency, and Social Media – A Match Made in Heaven

It truly is.  Social Media is, at it’s heart, sunshine (which is, as they say, the best disinfectant!).  It shines the light on you, whether you like it or not.  I think you have social media marketing problems if you opt to go Mr. Burns style and erect a giant disk to block out the sun.

This panel was very interesting – but it also didn’t dive into some of the deeper issues that were surfacing in the discussion.  Justin Higgins from Chevron was there, and did address the Yes Men campaign (good), but he was also dismissive of the campaign as being “stunts and rhetoric.” (maybe not so much).

Clearly, the campaign is a bit of a stunt.  But it also shows that:

  1. People care about his company and
  2. They want something different.

The actual Chevron “We Agree” campaign does not deliver that, it seems to be merely trying to put a sunshiney face on what they are currently up to.  This is not authentic deep change, which is okay – companies don’t need to change if they don’t want to.  When a company doesn’t make changes internally but puts an outward-facing campaign out there touting what they are doing, I think that it is a marketing failure.  Additionally, it is the company’s responsibility to listen to their stakeholders.

Rather than dismissing it, I think that a more appropriate response to the Yes Men campaign would be:

  1. Acknowledge the underlying truths that are there.  (If you check out the campaign, it’s not particularly nasty or anything, it shows that people want more safety from their oil companies.  This is not too much to ask.  Chevron should talk about what they are doing.)
  2. Admit that it’s pretty funny, and that they did get punk’d.  It’s okay to have that happen once in a while.  No one is perfect.
  3. Invite participation and conversation around the differences (and similarities) between the actual campaign and what the Yes Men put out

So, that being said, it was truly wonderful that Chevron is there in the room to be a part of the conversation.  I would say that this has been a hallmark of the conference – there are as many corporations here that you would not expect to be (Chevron, Nestle) as there are that you would (Honest Tea, Stonyfield).

I took a mindmap of this session as well.  There was some great stuff in here, but I really thought that the Chevron campaign stuff was the most interesting.  Interesting stuff from @chevron, @tpemurphy of Microsoft, and @MktingHipster of AngelPoints.  Check it out here:

Click to Embiggen!

What do you think?  Does a marketing plan need to be authentic (and embrace the sunshine) to be effective in today’s day and age?