Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the idea that a company or corporation has a moral obligation to give back to their community. Some companies are more active than others when it comes to their CSR activities. One of the most notable is Haagen-Dazs, an ice cream company that prides themselves on using all natural ingredients. What then makes for an effective CSR program?
Through their book “Public Relations Case Studies,” Darrell C. Hayes, Jerry Hendrix and Pallavi D. Kumar compiled a series of PRSA Silver Anvil Award-winning case studies. One of the highlights of the book was the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee program.
Through primary and secondary research Haagen-Dazs determined that their brand had lost its relevance with its consumers. One of the unique qualities of this ice cream was that it uses all natural flavors. One of the most important ingredients is honey. As it turned out, through the research they conducted, they found out that honey bees are an endangered species (263).
Haagen-Dazs decided to launch a program called “HD loves HB” aimed at engaging consumers with the brand. As well as generating media impressions, and increasing sales by one percent by the end of 2008, the new program would establish several new CSR initiatives. Haagen-Dazs decided to donate $ 250,000 to Pennsylvania State University and to the University of California-Davis, to research sustainable pollination and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).
In addition to the donations, HD set up a “Bee-Advisory” board to ensure that information communicated to the public was accurate and factual. The Bee-Advisory board comprised of PSU and UCD scientists, as well as two beekeepers. They served as the primary media contact for the entire campaign.
HD released a new flavor of ice cream called Vanilla Honey Bee. They pledged that a percentage of the sales would go towards CCD research. The Bee-Advisory Board and HD set out to give consumers a challenge to plant one million seeds to create bee-friendly environments. Enthusiasts of the program received seeds from HD. (266-267)
HD reported a 5.2% increase in sales in April 2008, the largest they ever had seen. Additionally, they got more than 277 million media impressions. The team surpassed its goal of planting 1,000,000 seeds with more than 1,200,000 seeds planted. HD also received 950 contacts from various organizations and consumers that offered to collaborate. They gave suggestions and complimented the program. Most notably, however, HD says it experienced a 13% increase in its brand advocacy rating between Q1 and Q2 to 69%, which exceeded Ben and Jerry’s rating (268).
Does your company engage in CSR activities? Is there more that your team could do?