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PR leveragability and brand building when choosing community investment

PR leveragability and brand building when choosing community investment

Community investment, shared value and corporate responsibility may be rising in popularity, yet Australian organisations could be spending up to $280 million a year on initiatives whose impact they can’t – or simply don’t – measure, according to recent research conducted by Karrikins Group.

Our research found that while 94% of those surveyed – across marketing, sustainability/CSR, corporate affairs and HR – agreed that measurement was important;

  • Nearly 70% hardly think about brand factors, such as the extent to which a community investment could be leveraged for PR purposes, when choosing investments
  • Only 33% of companies measure the effect CI has on customers (either retention or acquisition)
  • Roughly 1/4 of companies do not measure the reach of their community investment activities
  • Over 1/3 companies barely consider their ability to measure impact when choosing investments


Unless 67% of companies don’t have customer acquisition or retention on their strategy; or unless only 30% of companies are serious about brand building; or unless 25% of companies aren’t concerned about reliably measuring impact … community investment is currently nowhere near as ‘strategic’ as we like to think it is.

Too many community strategies, despite real and genuine effort, still do not align with and address the major business challenges that their organisations face. When they do purport to align, they are not adequately measured. This limits their strategic value.

The research findings have inspired the publication of our perspective paper “Strategy and Measurement – Towards Lead-Practice in Community Investment”, being launched by Karrikins Group at a series of events around Australia and New Zealand in November.

The paper incorporates findings from the research survey conducted by Karrikins Group in 2015, engaging 39 corporate responsibility leaders from companies in Australia and New Zealand across a range of sectors, conversations with select senior leaders from both the commercial and community space, Karrikins Group’s first-hand experiences working on the design, development, execution and measurement of large-scale, innovative community investment programs around the world as well as a review of others’ literature and research.

Part research report, part case study and part strategy workbook, I hope the paper starts conversations about how community investment can grow business and change the world at the same time.

We believe that business can be a real force for positive change. We hope this paper helps practitioners to increase the business value and social impact of community investments. You can download the paper here.


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