Monday, May 17, 2010

Who will be the FIRST to talk about YOUR CSR report?

Disclosure: This is a bit of a sales pitch for a new service related to reporting. I wanted to make you aware of a new offering by and 3BL Media, and myself. It's called the VideoReportAlert and as its sounds, building on the highly popular and effective ReportAlert sevice offered by, it uses the innovative and attractive format of video to announce your sustainability reports to stakeholders in a format they can easily absorb via one of the most extensive distribution networks available.

You see, one of the things about sustainability reports is that you have to work very hard to get people to take an interest in them. No matter how fascinating, fair, balanced, well written or well designed your report is, it's not the Taj Mahal , the Leaning Tower of Piza or Stonehenge. People will not flock in their droves to get a glimpse of it just because it exists. They will not suddenly decide to descend on your website, click on the tab that says Sustainability Report , if there is one, and spend hours reading it online. They will not analyse your sustainability KPI's before doing their weekly shopping, and they will not take your report to the beach to read as they bask in the sunshine. Your report is a non-issue for them. With the exception of a few professionals who are in the know, for most people, sustainability reporting just hasn’t hit the radar. Despite the fact that over 6,000 companies report on sustainability around the world, the reach of sustainability reports is still not exploited to its full potential. Say the words CSR report to anyone who's not associated with reporting professionally and you draw a blank. Before you can get people to engage around you report, you have to get them to know that it exists.

So, what do you do? You have written your report, you are really proud and quite exhausted. All that is needed is for people to NOTICE it.  Oooooops. Not happening. What next?

The question of "what next" is actually  something you should plan long before your report is published. What to do with a report after it is published is the most important question you can ask, early on in the process, before you even start to write. Missed that ? OK. Fine. Now you have published, you issue a press release. A proportion of your target audience will notice. You send a few hundred (thousand?) copies to stakeholders. Fine. More people take note. You advise all your Facebook and Twitter fans and shoot a message over to Linked in. Brilliant. You're getting there. Nevertheless, at the end of 2009, youTube was getting ONE BILLION HITS per day. Clearly, this is where people are (also) (mainly?) going in order to hear about new stuff, get informed and entertained. And there are many other video hosting sites around too. Why not take advantage of this and bring your report to where one billion stakeholders are hanging out every day? Present your report using this massive network of video channels. This will enhance exposure to your report tremendously and will not only inform but be more effective in encouraging more people than ever before to take a look. BUT. It takes time and effort to produce a video. You are dead beat just producing the report. You didnt plan for additional  expense of  producing more communications  materials. Here is where we come in. Let us do it for you. With this new service called VideoReportAlert,  we prepare for you a short video highlighting the key points and personal insights from your sustainability report in a lively way, and actively promote the video throughout our extensive networks. We can put this together within 7 days at a very reasonable price that won't be too much of an obstacle even for smaller companies. If you want to know more, ask me, or write to . Perhaps your VideoReportAlert could even go viral! But even if it doesn’t, you can be sure that it will enhance exposure for your report and the interest of a much wider range of stakeholders. Let us be the ones to start off the conversation about YOUR report.

In the meantime, see Paul Scott, CEO of talking about VideoReportAlert (VRA)

Also, you can take a look at the VRA we prepared using the HP Citizenship Report for 2009.

Finally, you can read more details of this service on the VideoReportAlert section of the Services page here.

See you on camera!

elaine cohen is co-founder and co-CEO of Beyond Business, a leading social and environmental consulting and reporting firm. contact elaine at   or Visit our website at

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