Beyond Curious CEO: Social Responsibility Matters in a Digital World

August 8, 2018, 8:57 PM UTC

Let’s face it: Your decision to purchase a product is influenced by what you see on social media. Take a photo, attach a hashtag, wait a minute—do you really want to post a picture of your morning latte when Starbucks is in the midst of a racial bias storm? Should you tweet about your decision to boycott the coffee chain instead? After all, your purchase is more than an acquired product. Online, inadvertently or otherwise, it reflects a set of values—which is why CEOs are increasingly concerned about their company’s social image.

“Talent and customers are choosing what they want to be a part of,” says Nikki Barua, CEO of digital innovation consultancy Beyond Curious. Barua founded the firm in 2011 to help legacy companies become modern in the digital world, which includes operating with social values.

“The world where corporate social responsibility was just a department is dead,” Barua says. “If a decision is not truly connected to your company’s mission and values, you will not have a relevant role in business and society.”

CEOs play an important role in communicating corporate values. “Every stance taken by the CEO sets a new precedence,” adds Barua. This is especially true given the rise of social change around the world, motivated by the lack of progress on vital issues.

To create lasting change, Barua says that companies must engage all stakeholders, not just some: “There’s a huge opportunity for creating faster impact at a greater scale; it’s not just for one person or company to solve.”

Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Barua.

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