The Art of CSR and How it Directly Impacts a Company’s Marketing Halo

Updated: Mar 17

Dr. Rick Garlick Has Joined the C2CEO Corporate Curriculum Team Leading the Corporate Social Responsibility Spring Course

C2CEO: How Did You Get Involved with C2CEO?

DR. GARLICK: Cary, the founder of C2CEO, and I go way back. I was working for a research consulting company, and at that time, Cary was working for Meeting Professionals International, MPI. A mutual friend recommended to Cary that she put me on their research committee. Our MPI committee traveled internationally, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. We’re business associates, but if you’ve ever met Cary, she becomes friends with everyone she meets.


C2CEO: You’re CoTeaching a CSR Course with C2CEO. How Do You Help Your Clients When It Comes To CSR?

DR. GARLICK: When I was working for my last company, I was trying to transition from hospitality into some other verticals, one being healthcare. I went on a very well-known healthcare insurer’s website to get some background, and I saw that they had an extensive list of social causes that they were involved with or had donated to.

This company’s website had a strong emphasis on their CSR, but there was no apparent coherent theme to what they were doing. Instead, it was very reactive to what was going on in the world at the time. I would say it was all over the map, sort of shotgun with no strategy.

I also happened to know someone who was a customer of this insurer, and he wasn’t even aware that the healthcare company was involved in these things. So in that sense, the company wasn’t having any positive impact on their stakeholders and customers since the messaging wasn’t getting out there. Customers didn’t even know what the company was doing, and so they weren’t getting credit, so to speak, for the money they were spending.

Companies will spend millions of dollars on CSR initiatives but not have it tie into their brand strategy. These two pieces of information presented me with a great opportunity to strategize and optimize companies’ CSR responsibilities so they invested in what was most important to their stakeholders in an intentional way that matched with the company’s brand.


C2CEO: Why is Corporate Social Responsibility An Important Focus For Companies?

DR. GARLICK: The truth is, CSR is no longer a nice thing to do. It has now become a business imperative. In my work, I help companies quantify and monetize their CSR strategies. I lead companies on a journey of how to stay consistent with their branding and their CSR investments. We first ask our clients who their most important constituencies are, according to company leadership. This helps me understand who they see as their most important audience, and then I work on ways to research those parties, whether it’s focus groups or other survey tools.

There are a lot of ways to do the calculus by doing this research and also break down what it means from a percentage amount and also a monetary amount. We take a look at how getting involved in certain corporate causes will ultimately impact business. Then I provide data and business intelligence so that the leaders of the company can evaluate their own hearts and minds.

That idea really ties into the course that C2CEO offers. With our CSR classes, we will be teaching how the art of CSR directly connects to the company’s marketing point of difference, which we call the “halo.”

Click here for information and registration to C2CEO’s CSR course taught by Cary Broussard, Dr. Rick Garlick, and Babs Chase.



Rick Garlick, Ph.D has over two decades of employee experience research, beginning with his work at The Gallup Organization in the mid-90s. He has held leadership positions at Maritz CX, and J.D. Power prior to starting his own private consultancy. In each of these positions, he focused on various aspects of the employee experience from talent selection to motivational strategies to understanding service culture dynamics that either facilitate or inhibit employee performance. He currently serves as Chief Research Officer for the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) where he oversees key employee motivation research initiatives that advance the science of the industry.


Along with a vast amount of experience in the travel, hospitality and leisure space, Dr. Garlick has also worked in media and entertainment, financial services, utilities, manufacturing, retail, association, and not-for-profit research. Prior to entering the private sector, he taught courses in research methods, marketing, and persuasive communication at Michigan State University and DePaul University in Chicago.


A frequent conference speaker, Dr. Garlick has published numerous articles in industry and academic journals. He has also appeared on such national media outlets as MSNBC, CNBC, CNNfn, Bloomberg Television, and National Public Radio, as well as being quoted in a number of national publications.

Dr. Garlick has served as chair of the Research Committee for the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI) Foundation Board and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).


Dr. Garlick received a Ph.D. in communication studies from Michigan State University.




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