In the past couple of years the use of the word "sustainability" is put to just about everything in order to make it look " green" or "social". Companies have invested and continue to invest tremendous sums of money and resources in initiatives aiming to make them look more sustainable in the eyes of their stakeholders. But how can they prove or even know that these investments are worthwhile, or that they improve and/or strengthen the company's brand image reputation?
Companies increasingly are trapped in the pitfall of sustainability, whereby they create or adopt a series of social and/or environmental programs, which cannot prove direct value to their operations. The root of the problem lays in not being able to find holistic, qualitative and measurable methods of measuring the effect and impact of sustainability programs to stakeholders.
Developing a sense of customer or overall stakeholder intimacy is the primary objective of Companies, and social media and the internet nowadays are able to achieve this. But how can this objective be measured to prove social effectiveness? In the words of Mark Benioff, CEO, Salesforce, "there is a social divide and if you are not social, mobile and cloud, what can you do?" Companies need to be paying attention to the key issue that is the relativity factor of sustainability, in other words "are my social and environmental efforts related to the sustainable viability of my enterprise?" Many companies will claim positive feedback but how can they prove it?
Increasingly, companies use analytics to explore and even manage stakeholder sentiment in social channels resulting in a sustainable two-way communication which leads to better brand equity. Social media channels have rapidly emerged as a special "marketplace" encompassing stakeholders of diverse demographics who are united around a common vision and mission, that is phrase their honest and true opinion on any issue, be it political or social. And this has a direct effect on companies who seek to portray a better and improved corporate image or get a more comprehensive picture of customer demand.
We have entered a new era where companies communicate with stakeholders virtually rather physically. Companies are thus in dire need to obtain tools that enable them to formulate a comprehensive social media communication strategy to promote their activities but also acquire technology and expertise that facilitates measuring impact and brand equity on social media and other internet channels.