Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of Pakistan

Corporate Social Responsibility is the corporate sector buzz word these days. Since my engagement in the development of “Responsible Business Guide, A CSR Tool Kit”, I interacted with a sizable number of corporate players and tried to learn from their CSR strategy.

In this strive, I learnt two key lessons:
  • For larger companies, CSR is about giving back to the society by improving the quality of their communities. They work with long term vision and try to ensure sustainability of their projects.
  • For smaller companies, this is a luxury. These companies generally do not have a clear CSR vision, hence their CSR activities fall in the category of charity, which is absolutely unsustainable in the long run.

At times, CSR efforts are made in response to an immediate community needs, calamity or natural disaster. Regardless of the type of CSR initiatives, key is to focus and maintain the long-term approach and ensure sustainability.

Recently, I attended a blogger meet-up organized by Engro Corporation to share successes of their CSR initiatives. Engro is Pakistan’s one of the most prestigious private sector organization. The company has manufacturing facilities in economically deprived areas of Sind. Through their reputation and good work towards building strong communities, they have managed to bring partners to support their initiatives. Additionally, Engro Corporation also received funding from USAID that helped augment their program.

Engro Corporation’s key focus areas for CSR initiatives are health, infrastructure, water and sanitation, education and skill development, environment and livelihood enhancement. It was encouraging to learn that in late 2005, daily earning of people living in areas where Engro operates was Rs10/day only. With Engro’s education and skills development program, this increased to Rs 161 per day – Phenomenal increase!

Engro now wishes to take a leap with a new concept of recognizing “unsung heroes” – This initiative will identify and appreciate Pakistanies whose efforts are contributing in improving lives in economically deprived areas of the country. The focus is on initiatives in education, health and livelihoods, and rightly so, because these three are the most neglected community development programs in Pakistan that receive hardly any public money and also suffer from political influence and corruption.  

It is a digital competition which will look at individuals and organizations doing commendable social and humanitarian work and learn about their best practices and innovative ideas.

Engro Corporation has set-up a facebook fan page at - Individuals can send in personal stories/nominations via email which will then be judged by a jury panel - All entries must be submitted to by November 15, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Social Media Strategy for Businesses?

So after the emergence of social media if the world is changing so rapidly why companies are so reluctant in implementing social media strategies and engaging their employees in social media training programs? Perhaps they are still shy in appreciating the reality!

It is true that larger companies particularly in consumer products such as Pepsi, Coke, McDonalds, Samsung, Apple etc were the early entrants in the field of social media marketing and branding. They were sharp enough to foresee the future of communicating with customers and started experimenting with all forms of social media for engaging their customers. However, still a sizable group is only watching, they are not bold enough to start experimenting – They will be the losers!

The fact of the matter is that social media platforms are now smart enough to cater for the needs of local businesses. They know that the ever increasing social media communities are mostly localized. These local communities need local content and will respond to local advertisements and promotions and social media companies have now started offering better focused opportunities to brands and local businesses.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

10 Cool Twitter Tips

Social Media revolution is called “Twitter”. Started as a simple SMS service, this short messaging platform has become the largest source of communication, sending millions of tweets or short messages every day.

Social Media Today reported that in August 2011, there were 200 million registered users world-wide, sending about 130 million tweets, in February 2012, the number has grown to 500 million users, with over 350 million tweets per day. This is massive communication!There are tools that can help you tweet longer, but recommended length of a tweet is not 140 characters anymore – It is advised to keep tweets under 125 characters so that people reading your tweets can also add comments, which is great value addition to what you tweeted and also improve chances for going viral.

Check 10 Cool Twitter Tips here