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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Why Valentine's Day is a Fantastic Opportunity for Stakeholder Engagement

Valentine’s Day has had a long history, and for centuries has been celebrated as the day of romantic love. It’s been referred in several literary works through the centuries, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

In the Middle Ages, people exchanged hand-made paper cards as tokens of love. Since 1913, when Hallmark started mass producing Valentine’s Day cards, it has never been the same. Last year, Valentine’s Day sales reached around $18.6 billion, which is a far cry from hand-made cards. 

Now however, with sustainability as the watch-word, everybody is trying to show a little love by going green. A simple Google search will inform you all about the green products out there including Fair trade chocolate and sustainable greeting cards. Although Valentine’s Day does not have a lot of corporate connotations, it is a fantastic opportunity for companies to do some stakeholder engagement.

1)      Use the Good Mood: With several people in good mood and on the look-out for a perfect gift, companies can become more creative with their CSR agendas. It may well become one of the top days for corporate volunteering. Volunteering will not only increase the feel-good feeling but will also give the singles an opportunity to share in the spirit of things.

2)      Reinforce Your Brand: Companies producing eco-friendly products, Fairtrade chocolate, and other sustainable Valentine’s goodies could benefit by reinforcing this brand image by promoting sustainability. This is also a good opportunity for businesses like restaurants, florists, jewellers, vineyards, tour companies, and even online dating sites to show what they’re doing to love the planet.

3)      Show Some Love: Find creative ways to tell your customers you value them. Have an internal event to tell your employees that you appreciate their work ethic. Have community engagement projects to engage with the people who benefit from your business presence. Support other local businesses.

There are several companies that are doing all this as part of their CSR but Valentine’s Day is special. Innocent Smoothies started its initiative called the Big Knit in 2003 to help elderly people stay warm in winter. This initiative is a fantastic example of using all three of the above points to come up with a CSR program that really grabs your stakeholders.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day need not just be a ‘couples only’ event. With a little imagination and forethought, companies can turn this day of love into something that is memorable and enjoyable with a corporate twist.

 Image Credit: Parnote, Wikimedia Commons 

Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshotAkhila Vijayaraghavan

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

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