SocialMarks is an action-based benchmarking tool for companies looking to build out their social impact and grow their ESG scores. We start with the notion that there are only so many things a company can do to help improve society. From there, we look at three main categories of investments and activities companies can make and do. Those categories are People, Brand, and Community.
When looking across the spectrum of corporate action in the ESG space, the glaring omission is the most public — the company’s communications and brand spend. Billions are spent by companies to promote the company and their products or services. Brand investment in social action has been on the rise in the last two decades and it deserves to be counted in how a company invests in social good — for better or worse.
SocialMarks looks at a small but growing list of factors when assessing the Brand category. Most of this data is buried, and we apply a lot of our operational history of working with brands on social impact campaigns and commitments in assessing the quality of these efforts.
Advertising and purpose campaigns: Assessing campaigns looks at things such as longevity, media spend, media mix, relevance, and sentiment analysis. When you can look at how companies talk about social impact and purpose, you can contrast it by how they act internally. Many times, media and brand decisions are divorced from other operational decisions.
Sponsorship and activation: Sponsorship is a muti-billion dollar industry and can be quite revealing on how a company looks at themselves and social impact. We assess sponsorships looking at duration, depth, connection to employees, relevance and creativity.
Products and services: How a company leverages its products and services into community also reveals decision making and integrity of the company’s actions. Whether it be Headspace’s free offering for health care workers or financial literacy curriculums from banks, leveraging products for the public good is an indicator that social impact is something done across siloes within a company.