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The power of social impact for corporates

Social impact is a powerful strategy for corporations. Transforming the core business of a company into a heartwarming video showing of how they change lives is probably the best way to gain attention from the public. By maintaining focus on the social impact and stories of people rather than the product itself, it is much more likely to be remembered and even can go viral.

Skype is worldwide known for its Voice over IP software. Creating an advertisement campaign for something as dry as a piece of software, and keeping it exclusively about the product itself can be something very challenging. Skype’s ‘Stay Together’ campaign (or actually Pereira & O’Dell’s, the advertising agency behind the campaign) focused on the experiences they create by telling the story of two girls born without full arms who have never met but meet on Skype. One from the USA and the other one from New Zealand.

Companies can also use such campaigns to promote their CSR activities. Promotion of corporate social responsibility doesn’t necessarily have to be on huge philanthropic projects. Companies can create one-time social impact events within a relatively small group of people, and transform these into a full blown promotional video. Companies should incorporate CSR principles at their core, but it are projects like the following two examples who tug the strongest at the consumers’ heartstrings.
Hyundai decided to help a little girl from Houston named Stephanie. Her dad lived far away and Hyundai helped her to send him a message. The thing was that her dad was very far away. In fact, he was staying on the International Space Station. Hyundai asked Stephanie what message she would like to send and made it happen using their cars.

Samsung promoted a new service for hearing-impaired customers in Turkey by creating a video showing a strong social impact on one particular young man. The video focused on a Turkish man with a hearing impairment, named Muharrem. In the video, the Samsung team surprised Muharrem by approaching him using sign language, disguised as random passerby on the street, cashiers and even a taxi driver. The video has been watched over 5 million times and featured on many websites.

Companies should use this knowledge and try to leverage their sponsorships or CSR activities. Helping communities and individuals is a great thing. Combined with a genuine message and clear social impact, it can be also used as a powerful public relations tool.

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