The magic of Kaelo lies in telling these stories in a personal and engaging way, through the eyes of the beneficiaries and individuals driving projects. “Our writers research the heart of each story, and the Kaelo production crew travels throughout South Africa to unearth stories which highlight the efforts of exceptional people working to make positive changes in communities,” says Sandile Koza, managing director of Kaelo Worldwide Media. “We find the stories that anyone interested in the future of this country will want to watch and read about. Kaelo educates, connects and informs.”
Over 30 blue chip companies have been involved in the series and more that 145 projects from NGOs and companies have been showcased. At least 75 more stories will be profiled this year, playing a vital role in driving awareness, communication and action in Corporate Social Responsibility and public-private partnerships. Linked Kaelo platforms include print inserts in national media, a coffee table book, radio features in five local languages and a web portal. Kaelo can demonstrate widespread success in terms of viewer response and engagement, new company partnerships, fresh funding for NGO projects and increased awareness about participating company initiatives.
“We believe communication is an important tool in taking CSR to the next level,” says Koza. “People want to support socially responsible companies, but 83% of respondents in the 2006 UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing Survey felt that companies do not communicate enough about what they do. Through telling CSR stories on mass media platforms best practices can be shared, the public can be better informed, corporate reputations can be built and corporate social investment can be further mobilised.”
Overall sponsors Pick ‘n Pay, Telkom Foundation and First National Bank have been on board since the first series in 2005. Pick ‘n Pay's Head of Sustainability, Tessa Chamberlain, says, “Kaelo plays a vital role for us because through the platform that Kaelo has established with the SABC, we are able to communicate credible CSR initiatives.”
“We are delighted with First National Bank's involvement with Kaelo,” says First National Bank's Brand Director, Derek Carstens, “We need to drive the message that businesses have something to offer back to the community.”
“The Telkom Foundation is very proud to be associated with Kaelo because it is a company which takes CSR seriously,” says Nkhetheleng Vokwana, head of the Telkom Foundation.
The Kaelo model is sustainable as it provides benefits for all parties – consumers can find out more about socially responsible companies to guide their brand choices, media partners benefit from consumable content, projects and NGOs benefit from the exposure, and corporate reputations can be built. The valuable content of the series has even generated international interest. “There is considerable international interest in the South African approach to CSR, and we are in talks with Indian and Australian media channels,” says Koza.
Kaelo is celebrating the success of this initiative with a function to launch the third campaign at the Origins Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, on the 5 July. The event will feature an experiential showcase of NGOs and initiatives reflecting successful public-private partnerships. Over 150 attendees will include CEOs, CSR professionals, business leaders, government, media and NGOs.