Four CSR Trends That Resonate in the COVID-19 Era

Michael Ford is Kivvit’s Director in Washington, D.C.

COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to American businesses: In addition to the operational, financial, and HR challenges, every business is navigating a moment that demands an engaged corporate social responsibility (CSR) effort and tactful, authentic communications with their employees and consumers.

To determine which corporate initiatives are resonating the most with the public, the Kivvit Insights Team analyzed public engagement with news coverage and Facebook posts from Fortune 500 brands. These articles and updates focused specifically on how a Fortune 500 company was helping employees, customers, or communities. The analysis included over 260,000 articles and over 8,600 Facebook posts during the month of March.

Download the full report here.

Key Findings

Across high-performing corporate communications and initiatives, four primary themes emerge:

Communication from the top. Thoughtful and honest communications from the CEO can carry tremendous weight. A quick video or written message straight from the CEO tends to get above-average attention and appreciation.

Gratitude goes a long way. Americans love heroes. And in a crisis, there’s been a wave of support for the professionals — from doctors and nurses to delivery people and grocery store staffers — who have emerged as the face of front-line defense to both COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown. Companies that go the extra mile to serve these professionals are getting credit from the public.

Understanding and anticipating customer needs. In a moment of crisis, companies are working with their customers to navigate rapidly changing circumstances. Four of the five most overperforming Facebook posts from Fortune 500 companies— posts receiving the most engagements compared to company averages — communicated such initiatives.

Supporting the war effort. While some companies are working within their existing enterprises to respond to the coronavirus, others have evolved entirely to join the war effort. And the public is taking notice.

For more on these findings, plus what not to do, I invite you to read the full report.