PodCamp Pittsburgh – Sweet Sixteeen Best Practices for Social Responsibility

Posted in Pulse by Norm
26 Sep 2011

Last weekend iTwixie attended and participated in PodCamp6, downtown Pittsburgh. It was iTwixie’s third PodCamp experience. This year we led a workshop called Social Responsibility Can Be Big Business. We wanted to 1) get the group talking about how Social Responsibility has become a business norm, 2) delve into examples of who does it well and who’s missing the mark, and end with 3) developing a list of Best Practices for each organization to bring back to its organization. The session rocked – everyone in the room participated.  We over-delivered on our goal to come up with 10 best practices for social responsibility.  We ended up with Sweet 16!

This session hit home for iTwixie, where everything iTwixie does, from its content and strict moderation policy, to the partnerships and clients it chooses to work with, all clear the hurdle for girl empowerment. The idea came from a spark after last year’s panel discussion, Social Media for Kids (podcamp5), after which some groups contacted iTwixie to learn how they could get more involved in the socially responsible work that iTwixie does. At a time when our youth are particularly vulnerable to online inappropriate marketing and content, iTwixie saw the opportunity to offer the best content, based on high quality insights, generated by an authentic and empowered tween community.

The Workshop

We kicked off the workshop with a discussion of brands who are using social responsibility well, such as Gap’s (Red) campaign, PNC Bank, Nordstrom, and of course, iTwixie.

Then we highlighted some truly, socially irresponsible examples, including recent anti-education themed t-shirts, pushup bikini’s for 7 year-olds, bad blogging practices by CEOs, and racy advertising, or “greenwashing” practices, to name a few.

Overall, the group discussed and agreed to how companies engaging in socially responsible practices and are doing better for it. They are seen by the public as giving back to their community. Nearly 100% of the workshop attendees agreed that they, like most consumers, feel good about buying products that are green or socially friendly. And following a diverse discussion of media buzz vs. socially-responsible press, the group agreed that in the long-term, companies lose when they act irresponsibly, act rashly without consumer insights in hand, or simply don’t do enough research on their customers to understand authentic wants and needs. These short-term “flash in the pan” tactics can fuel public outrage and bad press, and result in profit losses as products get discontinued and the brand’s image gets tarnished in the longer-term.

Best Practices

With a dynamic discussion behind us, we get out to develop 10 best practices that everyone in the room could take back to their organization and put to use. The group was so inspired that and came up with so many great ideas that we came up with a list of “sweet 16″ instead. The group agreed that they each held a unique spot on our list, and that’s how we ended up naming our list. What a great workshop!

We want to thank and recognize everyone who participated in the session. So feel free to email your logo to norm [at] itwixie [dot] com and we’ll add it to this post. And now, without further ado, here’s the Sweet Sixteen Best Practices for Social Responsibility for your organization to use in getting started with a successful social responsible effort. Here’s to your success!

The Sweet 16

  1. Get your stakeholders around the table to come up with ideas for a social responsibility effort
  2. Check to see how your customers feel about these ideas
  3. Take the time to build a rich, engaging conversation to brainstorm ideas and then choose one
  4. Set specific goals for the effort
  5. Create a forum to build a way the community can dialogue and keep the conversation going; gain ongoing feedback
  6. Make sure the effort is legit; create a means to show off its transparency so the community can keep in touch and check in
  7. Identify initiatives or partnerships that can elevate the effort and enhance its success
  8. Link the effort to business goals and ensure that along the way, the progress is measurable
  9. Try to ensure that the effort can or will contribute to the bottom line; consider government incentives
  10. Keep it authentic and always in balance as a win/win for the effort and for your organization
  11. Relate the effort to the essence of your business, so that the public instantly sees the relationship between the two
  12. Choose a goal that can be profitable if at all possible, but at least sustainable
  13. Accept ideas that create short-term creative destruction for the longer-term gain of leadership/innovation and progress
  14. Consider setting aside profit dollars for your cause on a small, local or community level to start
  15. Be sure to be sensitive to ongoing employee relationships
  16. Create awareness – promote the idea!


Here are some of the folks who helped develop the list and will take it back to their organizations. Thank you!

If you were in the session and would still like to get us your logo just leave a comment and we will update this post.


This article was written by: Norm

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