CSR Storytelling

Sustainability is a key factor in setting up the value of the business reputation.

Storytelling-Connect-People-625x290Storytelling is a potential tool to connect with the stakeholders by stories that match with their lifestyles and concerns so that they can engage with the organization values. Storytelling is a common resource in companies’ communication strategy mostly in the internal and corporative communication. Regarding about social responsibility, most of orga
nizations haven’t taken advantage of it

Part of being sustainable is sustaining people’s interest. Storytelling is a way to promote the corporate citizenship and enhance the reputation for sustainable business practices of the company.

cce_web_csr_rportCoca Cola is one of the few firms that has used storytelling in its CSR campaigns, which are not only directed towards clients, but all the stakeholders. This ad uses storytelling in an effective way to show how its CSR also involves employees.

Why use Storytelling?

Sustainability is a key factor in setting up the value of the business reputation. Every day companies invest a lot to prove that they are responsible and sustainable, however it is a factor that is little known by the public, so the storytelling represent a great communicative weapon.


Corporate social responsibility refers to company’s efforts to assess and take responsibility for the impact that its decisions have on society and the environment. It is an element that plays a major role in a firm’s image. However, not all the companies know how to make a good CSR campaign and this results in the fact that while some campaigns raise interest, others just almost pass unnoticed. In order for a campaign to be successful, it really needs to engage the audience, make them trust in their purpose and believe that what they’re being told is actually true. One of the most efficient ways to engage and create a strong relation with the audience is storytelling, but it’s not just about telling any kind of story; it must accomplish certain elements to be successful.

The best way

Companies must develop strategies for responsible and ethical business committed to society without ignoring their obligations with all the stakeholders; this can mean a competitive advantage and contribute to their long term success.

Storytelling is a common resource in company’s’ communication strategy mostly in the internal and corporative communication. Regarding about CSR, organizations haven’t taken advantage of it. Part of being sustainable is sustaining people’s interest, storytelling is a way to promote the corporate citizenship and enhance the reputation for
sustainable business practice of the company.


The attributes that every good story should contain are: it must be lasting, powerful, sense making and it should communicate the comfort level. For it to be lasting it has to be constructed to resist the pass of the time, it means that, even if the generations, ages or persons changes, the lessons contained in a story would always have the same relevance.

The power is determined by the prominence, the importance and the emotional hook for the audience because a story is successful as long as people enjoy them or feel connected to them.

If you want to have a better idea of what we refer to with the emotional hook, you can check out the following Nike ad. In it the story is presented in a dynamic way because the characters are singing and the ad shows a love story in a funny way, so in the end it keeps our attention because we feel connected to it.

Corporate image and identity are constructed based in the stakeholder’s perceptions and feelings which are undoubtedly determined by empathy that is the main objective of storytelling. Even though storytelling works with fiction, it can never lose sense, its function is to reflect and represent reality with authenticity. In the end, the story must communicate a sense of belonging, corporate pride and it must always enrich the spectator in some way.

PV0515_Marketing-StorytellingDevising a storytelling strategy has its own challenges, so it is important to keep in mind some basic rules when doing so. One of them is related to the language used in the message; you want your audience to clearly understand the idea so you better keep the words simple and avoid using complex corporate slangs. You must also avoid cliché imagery since you want to be perceived as a unique and distinctive firm, so try to use elements that reinforce originality in your brand making it more interesting to your audience so that it is more likely to catch their attention. Although any positive change in the world is valuable, it is recommended for a firm to take interest in environmental and social issues that are related with its industry, because that way the story that you tell to your customers can easily align with their own values and this is key to strengthen your brand.  

In order to really cause an emotional effect in the audience and to make them keep your idea in mind, the message of the story must have a lesson, it must be dramatic and easy to remember, but it is also important that it can be shared via social media, since this is one, if not the most, efficient way to spread information in our society nowadays.

The effects of telling stories are innumerable. For corporate purposes there are different ways to transmit a story. One of it could be as a tale of the labor every day and linked to corporate social responsibility show the company’s conducts that make them aware of taking care of environmental or social issues. On the other hand, the activities of the CEO’S represent successful stories about the organization. The company’s foundation, special happenings, another stakeholder’s lives, the work itself, how it is linked to customers and how it beneficiate its life are excellent starting points for stories writing.  

Stories that are being narrated…

        Corporate responsibility is built with the internal, commercial and institutional conduct. The internal aspect, regards the authority’s way of acting, the system and set up, the philosophy and values. When talking about commercial conduct, the products sold and the way there are sold; price, service and distribution have to be considered.
Institutional conduct refers to the social context of the organization, the sector that it belongs and the company’s ethics.

For sharing and reporting  it social corporate responsibility attempts and efforts most of the institutions have chosen the creation of publicity campaigns.   

Farewell to the forest by Unilever and Hidden Consequences from Rainforest Alliance Certified products are two videos that can perfectly exemplify the use of storytelling in a CSR campaign.

Companies like Salvo are implementing storytelling in other to communicate their activities in favor to the natural resources and the environment. Starting off that those organizations propone future communication and publicity campaigns that complement the impact it had in its audience. This campaign also encourages citizen action and make them get involve in the cause. Remember that a corporate conduct always involves a communicative action. 


Storytelling is a resource that has been used by several corporations nowadays because it brings different advantages to them, whether if it is used in advertising or CSR campaigns. It is a potential tool to engage the audience and make sure that they understand and feel connected to the message a company wants to transmit. It is important that the story to tell has a lesson and can easily awaken emotions in the audience for it to feel identified with it and trust in the firm’s aims.  


As we have developed it is not just about telling a story, the company must be honest and structure a powerful message that diffuses their corporate values and commitments to society.

It is important to remember that it should not look for manipulation of the audience, but to tell a credible story to convey values that can provoke empathy in the stakeholders.

In addition to this we must remember that the keys for create an effective storytelling are:

  • It must be lasting
  • Powerful/ dramatic
  • It must have a lesson
  • Sense making
  • It should communicate the comfort level
  • Easy to share (social media)



CSR. (n.d.). CORPORATE STORYTELLING AND YOUR CSR STRATEGY. 16 de febrero de 2016, de CSR Sitio web: http://incredibleadventure.nl/wp-content/uploadimages/Storytelling-CSRStrategy.pdf

Legrand, F.. (2014). Cómo contar el cuento de la RSE. 16 de febrero de 2016, de RSE on line Sitio web: http://rseonline.com.ar/2014/05/storytelling-reporte-rse-eficaz/





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