BOSTON (March 20, 2007) – Cone is pleased to announce the formal launch of Cone Corporate Responsibility Solutions SM, services tailored to help companies integrate corporate responsibility (CR) and communications strategies to build business value and reputation. The services are structured to provide multiple paths for a company to get involved with CR at a critical time for business.
International polling by organizations such as Globescan indicates the public has heightened expectations of companies in the area of corporate responsibility, but that there is a growing “cynicism gap” in how companies are actually perceived to be performing. With the internet driving consumer empowerment and the demand for transparency, investor activism growing, and global environmental issues becoming more urgent, companies need to engage with CR as both a necessity and an opportunity.
“Our goal always is to help clients develop a broad-based CR strategy for the way they operate, and then tie that to effective communication,” says Mike Lawrence, Cone’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Responsibility. “It is critical to link these two areas to protect a brand’s credibility and enhance reputation.”
APPROACH AND SERVICES
Cone believes CR is about opportunities and business benefits—not merely compliance or obligations. It can affect operational concerns including governance, environment, and supply chain, as well as employee, customer, and community relations. CR helps companies create innovative solutions, ranging from the creation of new products to ensuring license to operate. Cone’s approach of combining CR strategy and communications enables clients to manage and improve their impact and align corporate values and behavior with the expectations and needs of stakeholders, including employees, activities, communities, and investors. All of this is done in a way that builds both business returns and relationships.
Companies can engage with Cone Corporate Responsibility Solutions SM in several ways, including:
- Cone Complete—Cone works with a company on a phased approach to a comprehensive CR strategy, brand positioning, and communication plan that define and maintain a leadership position. Phases include Business Assessment and Strategy Development, Stakeholder Engagement, CR Communications, CR Reporting, and Ongoing Risk Management.
- Cone Community—Cone activates its network of key opinion formers (including nonprofit, community, academic, and activist members) to assess CR issues and offer solutions, gauge opinion about reputation and social impacts, test new program ideas, or test awareness and views of community involvement programs.
- Cone Exec—Cone provides a company’s CEO, Board and senior management team with educational briefings on emerging CR issues and trends, as well as advice and coaching on how to improve CR performance, message and position existing CR activities, and create strategies for increasing executive visibility.
- Cone Simulations—Cone leads exercises based on scenarios around an issue or geographic region to help an organization strengthen its CR understanding, and assess preparedness and design appropriate policies, systems, and training.
CAPABILITIES AND TEAM
Cone pioneered the concept of Cause Branding SM, and has more than a quarter century of experience linking companies and social issues. The agency also has extensive experience in marketing communications and issues/crisis management, all of which have provided a foundation for corporate responsibility work with clients such as Starbucks, Mattel, Timberland, Pfizer, and Nestlé.
Cone’s core team of CR specialists includes members with wide ranging backgrounds:
- Mike Lawrence, an award-winning former business journalist with 25 years of news experience and a decade of crisis and issues management work, advises clients on areas including governance, human rights, stakeholder engagement, and communication.
- Henk Campher, former Director of Corporate Policy and Practices at the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and Oxfam Great Britain policy advisor, brings more than ten years of experience helping companies in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa to develop CR strategies.
- Mindy Gomes Casseres, former management consultant from PricewaterhouseCoopers and USDA Forest Service employee, specializes in environmental issues and CR reporting.
- Christine Riley, who helped develop the strategic vision and long-term growth strategy for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, advises clients on a range of CR issues.
Cone’s team is launching “Activating Responsibility,” a blog designed to provide a platform for voicing ideas and fostering dialogue with others passionate about CR. (Activating Responsibility can be found at: http://www.activatingresponsibility.com/blog/.)
“Our team has extensive knowledge of the corporate responsibility issues that drive different industries globally,” says Jens Bang, President and CEO of Cone. “We can help companies create innovative solutions to deal with these issues in a way that builds brand value, corporate reputation, and long-term business success.”