CSR or CSV – What’s the difference?

Posted on
June 20, 2023

CSR or CSV. What’s the difference?

It’s like Lao Tsu’s famous quote, "If you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can patch over a problem and give your business a short term fix. Where as Creating Shared Value (CSV) builds a more sustainable platform for the core business. It’s about fostering scalable innovation, creating new business models and maximising profit.

CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is about helping brand owners to feel like they are doing good deeds with their cash and their people so that they look good in the eyes of their stakeholders and feel good about their impact on the communities. Their actions don’t often build in their core business.

“Every Drop Counts” is an example of a CSR campaign I was involved in. It helped the client feel good about the message to the public about the importance of saving water but did not build on their core business.

An example of CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. Every Drop Counts directed by Sly Song. Concept by Joanne Cheung Hoi Ki and Sam Wong Wai Fung

CSV – Creating Shared Value

Creating Shared Value (CSV) is also about doing good, but with a major difference. It's about doing good for people, planet and importantly profits. Measurement ensures that financial impact results are tracked and scaleable. In this example, “Turning Packaging in to Education" another creative campaign I developed, the client was able to address societal needs and challenges with a business model.

An example of CSV – Creating Shared Value. Turning Packaging into Education, directed by Sly Song. Concept by Patrick Daly

What you need to know.

Brand Owners:

Doing good is good for business. Not just feel good, not just a few social posts. Real good. The good that impacts your business numbers. Businesses like Shared Value Initiative track and evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns not just in human terms but in Dollars too. Virginia Wilson is the CEO at Shared Value Initiative Hong Kong that’s responsible for ‘aligning profit with purpose’ for a number of leading Hong Kong companies such as AXA, HSBC, AIA, Citi, and Ernst & Young.

"We do this is by co-creating long term value with organisations in the form of new revenue or cost savings, while generating value for the community by improving social or environmental conditions." Virginia Wilson

Creative Directors:

If the brands you manage really do have a purpose (I ask this because most do not and many do not need one) this is how you can connect your brand building activity to making a real difference in people, planet and your client's profits. Especially if you are not so motivated by those International vanity awards, but favour Marketing Effectiveness awards on your shelf. Creating Shared Value helps to build a brand's purpose, a brand saliency, but also brand sales. Which can help you sell in your idea or initiative if there’s sales in it for the marketing team.

Marketing Directors:

As defined by Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer’s article in the Harvard Business Review, Creating Shared Value is a business strategy that creates competitive advantage by aligning profit and purpose. What better strategy could there be. Ask your agencies to dig deeper into Creating Shared Value or reach out to those who practice what they preach and become a Shared Value Partner.

Posted on
February 19, 2022