Hi, please

Danone challenging its audience on FB: PR or CSR???

I have inquired a bit further on Danone’s social activities on Facebook.

Their social media strategy mostly aimed at mobilizing people. To achieve their goal they not only designed a Facebook page (which woudn’t have been original at all) but they linked it to the “Causes” application provided by Facebook. They pionneered as Facebook was trying to implement this application for the 1st time in Europe in France and Spain.

Danone created  Pour un nouveau capitalisme – The “For a New Capitalism” application using slideshows and quizzes to teach users about “Social Business” and encouraged them to submit ideas for how capitalism can be ecological, socially transformative, and profitable. These ideas have been voted on, and the winner got to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohammed Yunus, on March 6th, in Paris!

Regarding Corporate Social Responsibility issues, credibility is THE core question. People are no longer convinced by code of conducts or plain statements. They want action. In this respect, Danone initiative is very valuable because it has reversed the roles and challenged its audience. People were giving the opportunity to create their own project

Danone + Mark Zuckerberg

But in fact, Danone responded to a competition organized by Facebook . Facebook wanted to implement the application Causes to further develop their activity in France. A good reason enough to have Mark Zuckerberg coming…

Danone met great success and gathered more than 10 000 players. The project La Voute Nubienne proposed by Antoine has won. He won this competitive game with his project for what? Meeting with M. Yunus!I assume it must have been thrilling but what the concrete benefice for the association?

Indeed, we know very little on the help provided by Danone to the project. There do not seem to have any follow up…

And a year after the ceremony to deliver the prices, Danone.communities did organize the same kind of show with their M. Yunus but they did not launch another “CSR” game…

PR or CSR ?

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11 Comments

  1. Juliette 23:47, Feb 10th, 10

    I wanted to upload Zuckerberg’s video via Viddler but it never worked…
    Please check out this link it’s really worth it!
    Even my HTML link does not want to work (shame, shame, shame!!!)
    http://old.danonecommunities.com/markzuckerberg/

  2. juliette b 23:51, Feb 10th, 10

  3. Ryan 15:38, Feb 11th, 10

    Reading your post, I’m a little confused. I had to read it a couple times to get a better understanding on the issue surround CSR (corporate social responsibility) issues vs. PR (public responsibility) – I assume? I thought the project that one about the brick mud roofing in Sub-Sahara Africa was a great and simple idea. Why do you have in bold “for what”?

    I’m speculating here (please correct me if I’m wrong) but there seems to be a disconnect between Danone and the project La Voute Nubienne. Right? Could you explain the significance with what you talk about the prices- “And a year after the ceremony to deliver the prices” – Maybe you could explain a little more about where the disconnect with Danone and the project and what they have done to gain further credibility.

    Good luck.

  4. Juliette 18:55, Feb 11th, 10

    OMG! I am sorry if I got you confused Ryan! PR stands for PUBLIC RELATIONS
    Actually what I am trying to better understand is whether Danone and corporations in general use the power of new media for true collective CSR action or if they just use them to create the buzz and make people speak about them…

    “For what” in bold was to emphasis the contrast between the great project and the benefit for the association (which is nothing!)

  5. Jimena 22:05, Feb 11th, 10

    Very interesting, Juliette. I, too, got the impression that the main purpose of the whole “Danone Communities” project is public relations. According to what Danone says, both in the Facebook page and on Dannone Communities, the only prize was that meeting between Mr. Yunus and the winner, with no CSR action…

    Maybe it would be interesting to know the results of the PR strategy Danone constructed around Mr Yunus’ appearance? How did they create media resonance?

    It seems to me that the ‘buzz’ wasn’t that great– the Danone Communities FB page has only 651 members, and Google only brings up 24 news stories under Danone + Yunus. That seems a bit strange as far as PR goes, because I would guess that bringing a Nobel prize to a private event takes a considerable investment from a corporation, and PR-wise, you would like to make the most out of it… Unfortunately, my french is pretty poor :( , but this story seemed to criticize Yunus’ ephemeral appearance in front of the media– it looks as if he has some ongoing agreement with Danone? Anyway, you’ll be able to read it w/out any trouble!:)

    http://eco.rue89.com/2010/02/07/speed-dating-avec-mohammad-yunus-prix-nobel-de-la-paix-137091

  6. juliette b 11:58, Feb 12th, 10

    Thanks for this very helpful contribution Jimena! Indeed I have read the Rue 89′s article and it’s EXACTLY what I would like to understand. The more it goes the more Danone seems to work on his corporation image rather than social business.

    At first Danone.communities was created as a specific kind of corporation (a SICAV) apart from Danone. It has been decided to avoid to be associated with something meant to improve Danone’s image. But a year or so after the creation of the SICAV it seems that Danone finally takes control over it and for instance the February 2010 conference with Professor Yunus was organized by Danone’s Communication department…

    In the meantime we have very little informations on Danone.communities accomplishment.

    Does anyone has an example of a corporation successfully using New Media to help society in an efficient way?

  7. Alexandra 14:05, Feb 12th, 10

    Your link (http://old.danonecommunities.com/markzuckerberg/) does not work…

    As I’ve mentioned in class, I work at an oil/energy company. (I know, how scandalous!) It may be surprising to hear that my company actually does performs a lot of social responsibility initiatives. If you have any interest, you can flip through our annual report on environment, health and safety and social responsibility: http://www.hess.com/downloads/reports/EHS/US/2008/2008.pdf

    The thing is, we do engage in lots of activities, but we don’t publicize them much. We are doing good for the sake of the communities in which we do business, and we therefore don’t really care about letting other people know. I would venture a guess that companies who want press coverage for SR are mostly in it for PR.

  8. nadine 16:25, Feb 12th, 10

    Hi Juliette! Have you looked at http://www.justmeans.com? Justmeans helps companies to build their SCR-profile on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Quite interesting!

    Yes, Danone’s action need some follow-up: would be nice to investigage, let’s post some comment on their page and see what happens…

    Here more about Timberland, Wyclef and reforestation..
    http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=timberland&init=quick#!/timberland?v=app_7146470109&ref=search

  9. mushon 11:38, Feb 13th, 10

    Not everything is binary. It’s not always either or. I do believe CSR and PR can go hand in hand. What should be important to understand is that a corporation has to answer to noone but its share holders. This means that CSR that does not translate into business interest cannot be seen by the corporation’s lingo as anything but corporate mal practice. I think this nderstandig is essential to this debate. It can not simply be labled as hypocricy or manipulation as much as it cannot be labled As genuine social responsibility.

    On a formal note, Juliete, you’ll need to remember we can’t all read French and you’ll need to double check that your post communicates well in English. I know it’s hard, I have these problems too especially since thinking in one language and writing in another is confusing. Since we are in the media business here, we ahold attempt to deal with most of this confusion ourselves and leave as little o it to the reader. ;)

    oh and I think you meant priZes, not priCes. Haha…

  10. mushon 11:46, Feb 13th, 10

    Oh, another thing. In the TWIG podcast we listened to discussing the Google/China context there was an interesting debate of this issue. I also wrote a post on my blog discussing this issue in the context of Google and the digitization of the artifacts in the Baghdad museum:
    http://www.mushon.com/2009/12/04/the-techno-cultural-industrial-complex/

    I think the question should be more about what is there to gain and lose for both parties and how can this allocation of corporate funding can be made sustainable both for the .com and .org agendas.

  11. juliette b 11:50, Feb 13th, 10

    Thanks Mushon! I am going to have a look and will do my best to watch my language ;-)