Global Strategy Group Launches Corporate Impact Practice

The New CSR: Americans are looking to private sector for leadership on political and social issues

Unprecedented opportunity–with careful navigation–for companies to differentiate and build their brands

Global Strategy Group (GSG) announced today a new Corporate Impact Practice that will help corporations build and protect their brands, reframe their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and manage business implications in the new political environment. The practice will be co-led by GSG Partner Julie Hootkin and Managing Director Josh Chaitin, who bring deep experience leading data-driven communications strategy for Fortune 500 CEOs and national political leaders and CSR campaigns for major brands.

Today, 78 percent of Americans agree that companies should take action to address important issues facing society, and 88 percent say that corporations have the power to influence social change. Businesses are now navigating critical issues from transgender equality in North Carolina to the potential implications of Donald Trump’s candidacy. With the public looking to companies for leadership, there is much at stake for corporate reputation and brand identity.

“We have witnessed a growing trend of businesses taking public stances on political and social issues. These companies want to understand both the political environment and its impact on their business, and they are coming to us to help them navigate this new landscape and apply a campaign approach to their own activism,” said Jefrey Pollock, GSG President and two-time Pollster of the Year. “We’ve been doing this with clients for years, but as this trend grows, it’s the right time to dedicate resources to a formal practice at GSG.”

As part of the offering, GSG has built a proprietary research program that leverages two decades of insights from millions of interviews with Americans on current and emerging social issues. This data informs an opportunity/risk assessment for clients, as well as counsel to CEOs and corporate communicators as they engage on these issues with their employees, consumers, investors and other key audiences.

“Through our work with clients and our annual Business & Politics study, we have developed an unparalleled body of knowledge and experience helping corporations understand, navigate and demonstrate leadership on political and social issues,” said Hootkin. “Public perception and expectations have changed—brands must now deliver on employee and consumer expectations in a very real and meaningful way. With careful navigation, businesses have an incredible opportunity to do good for good, and good for business.”

“Whether we call it CSR, impact, or social responsibility, this work no longer exists in a vacuum; the new CSR is embedded in every aspect of the business and should have demonstrable and measurable impact. In 2016, employees, customers, investors and other critical stakeholders expect this level of engagement. Everything from talent recruitment and retention, to the way companies market products is on the line,” said Chaitin. “Our counsel will help CEOs and their companies ensure their actions are impactful and successful—for their stakeholders and for their brand.”

GSG’s Annual Business & Politics Study has become the authoritative voice on the role that businesses play in the political and social discourse and how this impacts brand perception. The study has been cited by leading media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Money, Business Insider, Politico, BuzzFeed, and others.



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