Danish CSR Initiative on Social Media Meets Criticism

Lys i AfrikaThe Danish CSR initiative called ‘Lys i Afrika‘ (Light in Africa) that was launched on Facebook 12 May has been met with heavy criticism. The project is being accused of greenwashing, of keeping people for a ride and being a piece of ‘slactivism’.

Behind the project is Danish energy company Energi Nord, who launched a Facebook page promising its fans – now Likers – to donate solar cell lamps to Uganda for every 25 new Likers to the Facebook page.

The goal was reached by Energi Nord
On the page, the goal was to reach 5,000 lamps which equals 125,000 Likers. On the 2nd August that goal was reached and from now on people can choose to donate a lamp themselves for 100 Dkk. The explanation is that Energi Nord has to drive a healthy business and therefore does not have unlimited means to donate lamps to Uganda.

Some of the skeptics criticize the fact that Energi Nord from the very beginning had their mind set on a certain number of lamps, which in some way renders the Facebook campaign superfluous. It is also criticized that Energi Nord in the end makes their marketing more aggressive, inviting their community to participate in events.

Good intentions
I can see why some of the criticism may be OK and it shows that you really need to think your initiatives all the way through and be 100% honest with people from the beginning. But sometimes I think we as professionals get a bit carried away.

In this case, Energi Nord is a professional business that wants to do some good in the world (there is enough companies out there not doing anything) and at the same time add those values their brand. This is understandable. They came up with a good and fun idea that could go viral by using social media.

125,000 people is now following the project and Energi Nord keeps people posted on the story of the lamp’s journey to their final destination while encouraging people to donate a lamp themselves. The result might well be the birth of a movement. What if 5% of the 125,000 took the small amount out of their pocket and actually bought a lamp – that would be an additional 6,250 lamps.

My point is simple. Yes, Energi Nord could just have donated the 5,000 lamps they wanted to, but with a campaign on Facebook, there is an actual chance of creating a movement maybe doing an even bigger impact than the 5,000 lamps. The number of donated lamps right now is 5,260, so some people have got inspired by the light so to speak.

Get inspired – send a lamp

Lys i Afrika - Energi NordThe criticism of this campaign has reached the media. If you turn to the Facebook page, some are arguing and some are saying they are leaving the page and think badly of Energi Nord, but the negative energy and people leaving seems to be less than 0,01% – again my point being, if people get the idea and get inspired, it does not matter what we as button belly oriented professionals think.

And just to be clear, I have no connection to Energi Nord or a possible agency helping them. In my ignorance I actually don’t even know if they have an agency assigned. But what I know is that I like to get inspired by good ideas and like the idea that I can take a measly 100 kroner’s and send a lamp to Uganda. It’s concrete – I know what I am giving and to whom. One lamp from every employee at Mindjumpers is now on the way to Uganda.

What’s your opinion on an initiative like this?

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Key Factors For a Successful Client-Agency Relationship

collaboration-imageBack in February, our CEO Jonas Klit Nielsen, shared his thoughts in a guest post on Findgood’s Blog. The post addressed the key factors in building a successful client-agency relationship.

A new report from the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Marketing) and Hall & Partners, “From Mad Men to Sad Men”, now reveals that the challenge to build and maintain a positive and flourishing collaboration between agency and client is more difficult than ever before.

With that in mind, it seems relevant to re-share Jonas’ thoughts on the subject, and reflect a bit on what we, whether agency or client side, can do to strengthen relationships and focus on creating brilliant work that delivers great results.

 

Transparency

It’s 2015 and the world has become more transparent than ever – this is also a universal truth when it comes to the future of great client-agency relationships.

Without being transparent in how you do business, you won’t be able to be honest about your demands and deliveries, and thus push each other’s boundaries, which is absolutely key to building a strong and productive relationship. When you start building new relations hang on to the thought that both parties want you to be successful. If you’re not, you won’t be able to create dents in the universe together.

 

Trust

We have been working with social media since 2008, which means that for many of our clients we have entered unknown territory together. When exploring new opportunities, with no best practices or well-documented approaches established, clients understandably need to trust you, and it becomes vital for both parties to always stay aligned in regard to expectations.

As an agency you don’t have to push the limits of your clients every day and all the time, but when you ask them to take a leap of faith, do it with eyes wide open and with all the calculated risks on the table. Most clients are prepared to take risks, they just want to know which, and be able to take the possible implications into consideration.

Working with social media involves handing over some control to the users and to us as an agency. Some would say that the loss of control is inevitable, but don’t lose sight of the state the client is in and the objectives you have agreed to – if you acknowledge where the client is coming from and where they are today, they will trust your guidance and let you be part of their future.

 

Increase Collaboration

We believe that great content can come from any of our clients’ stakeholders. That belief presents a challenge for us, as we need to work closely with the entire team of appointed agencies without increasing the complexity for the clients. The clients demand daily collaboration and expect everyday operations to run smoothly.

To meet this challenge we started thinking about our client-agency relationship from a holistic perspective: What if we could be the solution by creating an editorial structure that de-complicates the task of managing social brand channels with multiple client stakeholders?

The greatest thing about this holistic approach and our implemented processes is not only being more successful in meeting the demands of our clients, but in our journey we have become much more efficient from an internal perspective, giving us a competitive advantage. Our learning is that when evaluating all our processes the key is well-documented structures but at the same time keeping it simple.

 

And please… Stick with the right stuff

As social media has moved up the brand strategy funnel over the years, we experience an increasing number of requests to take on tasks outside of our specialty, something that might seem very tempting.

Agencies can pitch to take over more and more duties within different disciplines, but if you’re a niche agency such as ours, you’ll come out better and stronger if you know when to withdraw from tasks too far away from your core competences. From a client perspective you might ask a separate appointed agency to do extra tasks to avoid adding another agency to your list, but then you risk not getting the level of expertise the task actually requires.

As an agency you risk either having a disappointed client, loosing the relationship to the client’s other agencies or ending up with a satisfied client but an unhappy accountant. As Seth Godin says “Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.”

 

Which key factors have you found crucial for building a valuable client-agency relationship?