The CSR Effect: Social Media Sentiment and the Impact on Brands

April 20, 2017
The CSR Effect

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When companies contribute their time, talent, and financial support to communities, they strengthen their brands as well. That's why the U.S. Chamber Foundation (USCCF) partnered with IBM on a breakthrough analysis of social sentiment as it relates to the practice of corporate citizenship. This first-of-its-kind study—The CSR Effect: Social Media Sentiment and the Impact on Brands—was enabled by an IBM Impact Grant, and demonstrated conclusively that engagement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) does impact an organization’s reputation—in some surprising ways.


The private sector is an integral part of any community. In addition to providing jobs, businesses across the country are engaged community stakeholders. While communities are certainly better off when companies are engaged, we believe that companies receive a secondary benefit when they involve themselves in the community—a positive impact on their brand. 

Report Highlights Include: 

  • Research shows there is real value for companies to strategically frame and discuss their CSR efforts online
  • Framing discussions in ways that encourage a thoughtful and emotional response can elicit more interest from users of social media, and encourage them to write about a company’s CSR initiatives
  • Promoting a company’s CSR work converts people who think about a company “neutrally” to “positively”
  • Over time, companies who increased promotion of CSR work online experienced improvements in how they are viewed by social media users
  • Companies can benchmark the expected volume of social media chatter based on their net income using an IBM algorithm called the CSR Social Media Benchmark

The research and analysis was made possible through an Impact Grant from IBM, which provided both consulting and technology support. The two-year joint study measured public sentiment using IBM Social Media Analytics.

Download the report to learn more.