There communications, marketing and PR specialists, sustainable development professionals, CSR managers, directors of strategy and sustainable development of global and Russian leading companies gathered in order to:
- discuss how the trend for responsibility and sustainability affects business and, therefore, corporate PR and marketing in Russia, as well as 7 reasons why brands cannot be without sustainable development strategies in business and communications (Ekaterina Son, Effie Russia), look at global trends in the perception of Russian consumers (Marina Bezuglova, Ipsos Comcon), as the UN assesses the contribution of business to the promotion of the 17 SDGs (Vladimir Kuznetsov, UN Information Center, Marina Vashukova, UNHR);
- evaluate the case of MTS Generation M (Elena Kokhanovskaya, Ekaterina Filatova) and the IKEA case on integrating the LRC into business and marketing (Natalia Beneslavskaya);
- to determine the immediate prospects for the development of the topic and joint movement forward towards the Sustainable Development Goals;
- to be inspired by the best world marketing cases with a sense of the winners of the Effie Positive Change competition in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, trying themselves as jury members and appreciating the meanings and effectiveness of advertising campaigns with a social mission.
In 2018, Effie Russia launched the Effie Worldwide program in Russia to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations as a global plan to address economic, social and environmental issues. For Effie, it is important that this becomes a factor in the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. A study conducted by Effie and Kantar Millward Brown in 2015 showed that having a socially significant goal for a brand leads, other things being equal, to better results in marketing and business. As part of this program, Russia collects data on how brands rely on the Sustainable Development Goals in communications, identifies factors that influence the effectiveness of such campaigns, and selects best cases to inspire business leaders and industry representatives to become more involved in achieving LRC.
The starting point of the discussion was the thesis that all global brands and big business are faced with the need to transform their strategies due to growing environmental, social and ethical requirements in accordance with global trends in sustainable development. Responsibility and an innovative approach based on the values of corporate citizenship are becoming important factors in the growth and efficiency of the private sector. The future is with such a business - and more and more shareholders, consumers and talented employees are voting for it. The concept of corporate responsibility evolves from philanthropy to the restructuring of business processes in the interests of the Sustainable Development Goals, the inclusion of its socio-environmental dimension in the profit characteristics, and the formation of infrastructure for long-term positive changes.
At the same time, the tremendous efforts of business in the field of sustainable development, its commitment to the principles and values of corporate responsibility often remain only elements of narrow social tactics, are reflected only in non-financial reporting (and even this is not always) and are not included in strategic communications. Although, using the meanings of corporate responsibility of the brand in communications and marketing, it is possible to gain the confidence of interested parties much faster, break away from competitors and provide reputations that are relevant and attractive to both the general public and the target audience. Among the barriers and difficulties in this aspect were the lack of a clear state strategy in the field of sustainable development, the lack of trust of Russian consumers in big business and, as a result, difficulties in building social communications. The conclusion that was supported by the participants: brands need to be more actively involved in the implementation of the global agenda and on its basis form their own, lead the consumer, reducing the gap between people's needs, their expectations, common values and business practices for all. To do this, you need to find for yourself authentic SDGs in accordance with consumer expectations and business specifics, formulate internal goals and KPIs (including social ones), develop a system for evaluating the effectiveness of projects, build partnerships with experts and specialized NGOs.