CSR… For real?

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Last Friday was Newhouse PR day and I was given the opportunity to listen to some exceptionally successful alumni. One of them was the VP of Starbucks.

In my first blog entry (click here to read), I wrote about the major branding differences between Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. So, it’s pretty obvious to assume that I was very interested in what he had to say. What he actually presented, however, made me cry. Well… tear up, at the very least.

Let’s be honest, being on top of the latest news of a specific organization requires a bit of effort on the reader’s end. I read a study on how identifying with a company allows customers to be more attentive to the appearance of the company in media outlets. But, thats another story for a another day…

What I mean to say is that no matter how many cups of coffee I purchased and consumed from Starbucks, I was pretty embarrassed to find out that Starbucks stood for something much deeper than just coffee and sweet pastries. The company’s efforts to heal some of the pain in America was nothing less than… admirable. amazing. praiseworthy.

And then, it got me thinking about CSR and the different efforts other companies in the world makes to “give back to society”. It’s no secret that when any company does anything to “give back to society”, their true motives are to boost their image and appeal to the public.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the efforts Starbucks made had financial pros to it as well. But, personally? I think they stand for much better than petty corporate CSR. I believe that they’re genuine. That they’re real.

Or maybe James Olsen ’91 was really just that good.

Any PR is… Good PR?

I’m not going to lie, entertainment PR is interesting. You’re building the image and label of an artist, not an organization. It kind of makes the concept of PR almost humanized, because, well, its personal. 

The most common phrase I’m sure everyone’s heard of is “Any PR is good PR.” In the world of entertainment, I’m sure it can hold the most truth, mainly because apparently the greatest fear of anyone in the industry is being forgotten. 

But, really… Is it?

I remember in my COM 107 class, my professor had a thing for entertainment news, and so for our weekly news quizzes, we’d get an entertainment news bonus question. He’d commonly reference  to “LiLo” and “Nicky”. The news that involved these two characters were, as expected, never really in the positive light of things. But, they were always considered to be people we wished we knew well enough to personally call “LiLo”. Or at least, I’m sure my professor back then thought that way.

But thinking about entertainment PR made me realize how different it would be from the other forms of PR (corporate, investor, etc.). In a lot of ways, it must be much more fast paced and a lot more changes on a daily basis.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of political press secretary/PR… interesting.