Social Purpose in Corporate PR

As someone who wanted to focus on nonprofit PR, I never considered corporate PR as a career option. In fact, I saw the two practices of PR as completely opposite. However, this semester I’ve had a change of heart towards corporate PR.

Last month I started an internship at Edelman PR within the business and social purpose branch. Although I knew nothing about business and social purpose, I decided to keep an open mind. Social purpose, used interchangeably with cause branding or corporate social responsibility, is the initiative companies take to encourage a positive influence in society and on the environment. Large companies now devote time and money to environmental sustainability programs, alternative energy and social welfare. Many companies are adding social responsibility to its core mission. For example, Tyson Foods is committed to relieving and ultimately ending childhood hunger. Toms Shoes, is another example, which started on the premise that for every pair of shoes sold, one pair would be donated to a child in need. Within business and social purpose, PR is the vehicle in which companies share their progress and programs with the world.

As a result of my internship, I am now considering corporate PR. Even if you think you don’t have an interest in a certain part of PR, I would suggest exploring it. You never know if it will match your current interests or career aspirations. For me, I am interested in having an influence of the lives of others, which is why I was originally interested in nonprofit PR. However, after exploring social purpose within corporate PR, it’s good to know that I have options and can work in a corporate environment while still working towards something to influence society.

If you’re interested in corporate social responsibility, ask about it next time you interview or internship at a PR firm! If the company does not have that branch, they would most likely know the right direction to steer you in.

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