Social Media as Corporate Whistlerblower
Many of my readers know that I also own a business blog that publishes content on the use of Social Media in the corporate, charitable and retail world. I do the research, summarize what I’ve learned and post articles to help anyone who would like to learn more about Social Media and its applications.
This blog is a little more personal. I use this space to offer up opinion and illicit action from my readers. I want people to find out something they don’t know when they come here. Something that may persuade them to take action.
Again, I do the research and share it with you.
In the case of Tim Horton’s lack of social responsibility I have not only done the research offline, at the retail level, but I have also done searches for things like “Tim Hortons Sustainability” and anything else that might lead to a reprieve for Tim’s store-level policy.
This week I found a site called 3BL Media. Quoting directly from their website: “We are the experts in corporate social responsibility, sustainability and cause marketing communications. Our experienced team of professionals has helped leading organizations, both large and small, from all corners of the globe get their message out. We are dedicated to helping businesses have a positive influence on society and the environment through information sharing that leverages technology and social media.”
When I read that I thought “great, a company that insists on social responsibility when iterating, or re-iterating, about the policies employed by organizations.”
What I learned was that they are, instead, a portal for companies to push their initiatives to a larger audience. Specifically an audience that actively looks for socially responsible corporations to support.
Ok, so that wouldn’t be a bad thing except that the experts at 3BL Media don’t actually screen or comment on the material they post. In fact, if you have a company that you’d like to promote on their site you can write the press release yourself (they don’t seem to offer that service) then submit it. I have not been able to determine if there is a fee for this service.
Essentially sites like 3BL Media are used for distributing media but I don’t see where the “responsibility” part comes in if companies like Tim Hortons can simply post their material and automatically have a degree of credibility simply by being featured on the site.
This didn’t sit very well with me. I wrote to the CEO of the company, Greg Schneider, and he had his Online Media Director get back to me. I was quite distressed to read several parts of John Howell’s email but this line was particularly confusing to me. “3BL Media is dedicated to corporate social responsibitiy-, sustainability-, and ESG -related missions, practices, initiatives, and events. Environmental issues are part of our focus, but we are not dedicated to the environment, per se.”
So you promote companies that “claim” to be socially responsible and sustainable but you don’t place much focus on environmental issues? Ummm, did I miss something?
Here’s the bottom line; Tim Hortons cannot get their corporate initiatives out of the boardroom and into the restaurants. Rather than spend the money and time to do so, they prefer to spread endless corporate doublespeak around the net and hope that it will be sufficient to quiet their detractors.
Perhaps the fact that no one from Tims has tried to contact me is an indication that their corporate policy on online branding is to ignore complaints. Seems so.
While I am deeply ashamed of Tims I am equally distressed that an American company like 3BL Media (located in Mass.) seems to just take the word of companies promoting themselves as “responsible” on their site.
Who’s next? BP?
If Social Media can affect change we can start by showing Tims (and 3BL Media) that’s it’s not OK to say you’re going to do it. We need to insist they live up to their policies. We need to be vocal and loud and engaged. We need to share!
Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in TRUE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY.