On Tuesday June 4th, IBMBA Director Sharon Wang invited Dr. Chia Wu of Hong Kong Chinese University to share her expertise on social branding with his Electronic Commerce and International Marketing students. Dr. Wu has worked in several industries, including Chanel, P&G, and Chrysler. Her experienced background allowed Dr. Wu to navigate the conversation and discussion effortlessly. There were roughly thirty participants, from local students to international students.
Dr. Chia Wu started out by incorporating her work experiences at Chrysler into her introduction of millennials’ emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR). She mentioned that millennials (those born between 1980s and 2000) are becoming increasingly aware of a company’s CSR goals. Good and positive CSR efforts will increase consumer loyalty and retention. During the 921 earthquake, Dr. Wu and her then company, Chrysler, donated to children who lost their families to the catastrophe and made visits to the disaster sites. These philanthropic efforts improved Chrysler’s brand image, proving that CSR efforts are widely appreciated and recognized by consumers. The discussion branched out to discuss the evolution of sustainable efforts and CSR. In 1950s, CSR is more for the company’s image, but in the 2000s, it’s become voluntary and important integration of culture and nature.
There were contradictory efforts too: while CSR aims to give back to the community, they nonetheless are profit driven. Many students were interested in selecting the right corporation to choose to support. Dr. Wu shared that consumer support varies case by case, as consumers can prioritize the social efforts they want to support. Sustainable goals include ending poverty and hunger, promoting green energy, and eliminating inequality. Dr. Wu also encouraged students to be active participants of CSR efforts to reach global sustainability. The key process includes identifying and committing, recognizing goals and monitoring progress, pinpointing methods, and publicizing results.
The discussion concludes with a debate about McDonald’s recent movement of removing single-use straws from their Beijing chains and introducing a plastic cap easy to sip on. While most students agree that this movement can reduce waste and are willing to support McDonald’s, others disagree. Some students believed it doesn’t solve the bigger problem of plastic consumption and others thought straws may be necessary for disabled groups who depend on straws for consumption.
During the final Q&A, students asked about the difference between social enterprises (whose purpose is to break even) and CSR (whose purpose is to make profit) as well as Dr. Wu’s work experiences between different industries and cultures. Overall, the seminar was very informational and lively. The interaction and engagement were educational for both parties.
By IBMBA Sandy Chen