• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

North East Connected

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Doing good while doing business

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.53.42A group set up to share best practice within the North East marketing profession is marking its one-year anniversary with a debate on how corporate social responsibility should fit into a marketing strategy, as trends that show consumers are increasingly looking past a product to see if the brand is one that fits with their values.

The North East Marketing Managers’ Lunch and Learn group events are held bi-monthly at McKennas at Northern Stage in Newcastle, and attract marketing managers from law firms, the IT industry, community organisations, transport operators, retail and education.

Each event features a guest speaker who presents on a topical marketing issue, followed by lunch and a question and answer session. The March 24th meeting will see guest speaker Hugh Welch, the senior partner at leading law firm Muckle and Vice-President of the Community Foundation, explain how Muckle’s CSR activities have evolved over the last 15 years and now form a cornerstone of its work.

“CSR has gradually become part of who we are as a business,” said Hugh.

“While we are primarily a commercial law firm we cannot operate in isolation from the broader community in which we live and work. We have a duty to invest in that community, and that is the principle behind the broad range of activities we take part in.

“Integrating responsible business practices is not just a ‘nice to have’ element any more, it is what people increasingly expect from the organisations they deal with. It has commercial benefits too, which in turn allow us to invest more into our CSR programme. I am looking forward to talking to the region’s marketing managers about how we at Muckle have made it an essential element of our strategy.”

Muckle’s charitable fund is managed by the Gosforth-based Community Foundation, and the firm has donated more than £350,000 to good causes since the fund was set up.

Marketing specialist Vicki Stone, who founded the Lunch and Learn group along with PR consultant Julie Brammer, added: “At our meetings we focus on the issues of the day, and CSR is a hot topic as marketing gradually moves from product-based to values-based and consumers make buying decisions based on the values of a company, and not just its services.

“A study of 30,000 consumers by Nielsen showed that 55% will pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

“People want to deal with organisations that stand for something, and the challenge for marketing managers is how to make community engagement part of the business strategy, and get buy in from everyone from the board to the shop floor.

“So many marketing managers tell me they feel isolated, particularly those working solo or in small teams, and our anniversary meeting promises to be the usual lively discussion as well as a chance to swap ideas, share best practice and meet their peers.”

Iain Riddell, development and marketing officer at the Community Foundation said: “Muckle LLP is a hugely responsible business that really cares about its CSR work, but more importantly it inspires its employees to care too. Using our community knowledge base Muckle is able to support a whole host of organisations and causes through their Funds at the Community Foundation.

“Whether you’re an established business or a start-up, it is important businesses to think about its corporate conscience, act responsibly and involve staff in corporate citizenship activities that not only benefit the community around you but can also provide an opportunity for your own growth too. I’d encourage marketers to attend the lunch to not only learn about CSR, but how the Community Foundation may be able to help you on your journey too.”

Any in-house marketing managers who want to come along can find the event details on Eventbrite or at www.vickistonemarketing.com.


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