This summary post appears courtesy of the study’s author MaryClaire Schulz at Elon University. This post is a preview based on the findings presented at the International PR Research Conference on March 11, 2017.
Mama Njeri, a mother and now mango farmer in Sagana, Kenya, was given the resources she needed to introduce a business solution to her area. By starting a mango farm with the help of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative and Project Nurture, Mama Njeri is able to train other aspiring businesswomen to bring success to their businesses.
As one of the largest and most influential corporations, the Coca-Cola Company plays a large role in the global community. In 2010, Coca-Cola developed the 5by20 Initiative to help five million female entrepreneurs across the company’s chain of producers, distributors, recyclers, supplies, retailers and artisans.
Business News Daily defines corporate social responsibility as “a business practice involving initiatives that benefit society.” The relationship between the Coca-Cola Company and the public can be fragile since the company is so large. By creating a meaningful partnership with the community, Coca-Cola shows the public that it cares about its future and creating good for the sustainability of the business environment.
In order to economically empower the five million female entrepreneurs, Coca-Cola provided them with financial resources, mentoring opportunities and business training to connect with stakeholders around the world.
MaryClaire Schulz, a strategic communications student at Elon University, conducted an in-depth analysis of the initiative.
“My findings explore how Coca-Cola uses a number of different strategies to build relationships with policymakers, women’s empowerment-focused partner organizations, and women involved in 5by20, in addition to how the company communicates these relationships to the general public,” Schulz said.
She discovered that Coca-Cola used assurances, or acknowledgments, of female empowerment in economics was an important cause and developed relationships with policymakers and experts in support of the 5by20 Initiative. This allowed the company to advocate for women’s economic empowerment. They also used openness, allowing stakeholders to be honest with the company in regards to their success, failure and challenges in the 5by20 Initiative. Coca-Cola also encouraged the sharing of tasks. Sharing tasks allowed the network involved in the initiative to spread globally between organizations, people and local governments. This also encouraged the support of major partners and legitimized the cause due to so much global involvement. Lastly, Coca-Cola encouraged responsibility. The company bases their corporate social responsibility on the platform of sustainability. Opinions and editorials have helped the company form relationships with other organizations that take on the responsibility of contributing to economic sustainability.
In addition to these strategies for creating relationships, Coca-Cola also has to communicate with partners, policymakers and the public. Each is handled differently since each group plays a very different role in the company’s success. The company makes its research in women’s business empowerment visible on its website and on social media in order to reach the public. It also published opinion and editorial pieces written by prominent figures in the women’s rights field to express the importance of female empowerment toward policymakers. Coca-Cola also focuses on partnerships in order to gain access to resources globally and create the most powerful impact possible.
Other large corporations could use Coca-Cola’s example to spread their power for good and help to inspire local businesswoman, like Mama Njeri, to help feed her community and spread farming and business education.
Jordan McCrary is a public relations student at the University of Florida. She is the Vice President of the UF PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on Twitter @mccrary_jordan.