According to a new study by the CSA Institute for LinkedIn unveiled exclusively by CB News, more than two-thirds (68%) of marketing and communication directors in the finance sector believe that CSR (Social Responsibility – or Societal – of companies, editor’s note) will be an essential challenge in the future to respond to what could constitute the next industrial revolution: the green economy and societal innovation. If nearly half (46%) consider that CSR is already an important issue in their communication tools and campaigns, this share is therefore likely to increase, explains the study, all the more so with the arrival of new ESG standards (economic, social and governance criteria. Among the recent examples present on LinkedIn, Axa communicates a lot about its commitment – with its Progress Index – or BNP Paribas aimed at future talents, in demand of committed companies, which wish to join an actor who fights against climate change.
“We wanted to better understand the reality of CSR issues. We are seeing a steadily increasing volume of CSR posts and engagement on our platform,” Ioana Erhan, director of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in France and head of the Financial Services offering globally, told CB News. “Our clients use sponsored content and video to communicate about CSR. According to the study, they are asking for more budgets to deal with this theme. We see it on LinkedIn, tomorrow’s main theme of the communication of the big financial companies will be the financing of a green and inclusive economy”.
While CSR involves many issues, marketing and communication managers in the financial sector agree to place HR issues at the heart of their concerns. Indeed, it is the improvement of well-being at work for employees that emerges first for 71% of them, ahead of gender equality and diversity. With the arrival of new ESG standards, there is no doubt about the inevitable change in the financial sector and marketing and communication directors are well aware of this. If the financing of a green and inclusive economy is already an important issue in their eyes – this criterion being mentioned by 57% of them – it could become the priority CSR issue. Indeed, 39% of respondents see it as the main subject of CSR communication in the future, ahead of well-being at work (36%).
The managers surveyed agree that in terms of CSR communication, “actions are worth more than words”: 52% believe that to stand out, the best option is to communicate on points of proof rather than on commitments. As for their motivations, it seems more difficult for them to bring out one more than another. Improving the image and reputation of the company (44%), the desire to comply with regulatory standards (36%) but also to participate in the transformation of the sector towards more responsible finance (32% ) are among the most cited. Moreover, they agree that CSR communication is a real source of reassurance for customers: three quarters of them believe that it has a positive impact on the trust that their customers place in their company. “We can see a virtuous circle effect in which the consideration of customer expectations would nurture the relationship of trust which itself would encourage companies to invest in CSR”, indicates the study.
“Before, advertisers communicated on their intention, but now it is the evidence, the results, the figures, which are put forward. Engagement is up sharply: CSR campaigns work extremely well on LinkedIn. The proof is in the campaigns now installed as a red thread, which can last several weeks. This is a trend that can be observed worldwide,” according to Ioana Erhan.
Communication teams still have to deal with certain obstacles. 30% of managers surveyed say that the communication budgets allocated to CSR remain insufficient. Almost half (49%) nevertheless say that these budgets are on the rise, which gives cause for optimism. Moreover, to overcome these obstacles, companies in the financial sector favor above all the most accessible communication channels, in particular the Internet with social networks (60%) and company sites (50%), channels considered to be the most efficient. for subjects that are addressed to the general public in the first place.
“Because it responds to the transformation of the markets, by being a vector of positive societal change but also a performance lever, CSR is set to play a considerable role in the finance sector. While the financing of a greener and more inclusive economy is becoming the number 1 CSR issue for companies in the sector, marketing and communication directors can rely on social networks as a privileged communication channel to highlight their actions and commitments,” concluded Ioana Erhan, director of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. The platform claims 24 million users in France.
Methodology : study carried out with a representative national sample of 200 directors and marketing and communication managers in the financial sector. Questionnaire administered by telephone between December 13, 2021 and January 12, 2022.