Citizen Relations opens social impact consultancy

Led by Shilpa Tiwari, the practice aims to make sure the "purpose" stops getting lost in "purpose marketing."

Shilpa Tiwari Headshot

Citizen Relations has launched a new social impact practice in a bid to deliver something different from traditional “purpose marketing.”

“In early 2020, we realized purpose marketing was too much about the marketing – multiple one-off campaigns, without follow-up or accountability,” says Nick Cowling, global president at Citizen. “Further, the rise of [environment, social and governance] investing was causing corporations across the globe to solidify their efforts in sustainability and social good. The events of the past 16 months have solidified the need to translate all of the good work being done for ESG strategies into meaningful long-term conversations.”

The onset of the pandemic and the growing support behind social justice movements like Black Lives Matter has triggered many corporations to assess their own diversity and inclusion policies and efforts.

“We’ve started to see interest from clients that are ready to become an active participant in the communities they want to support,” says Cowling. “Today’s movement has emboldened corporations to act and engage their employees, partners, customers and investors in their actions.”

The social impact practice has been created to enable this action, Cowling says, by providing consulting to Citizen clients “on the full complement of sustainability, social justice and DE&I.”

“With a social impact strategy in place, we’re able to develop the marketing communications for any and all stakeholders with the full confidence it fits the client’s brand, commitments, vision and mission,” he explains.

To lead the practice, the communications agency has appointed Shilpa Tiwari as its global EVP of social impact. Tiwari was selected, Cowling says, because of her experience in ESG strategy and embedding it into an organization’s DNA across a number of industries. She most recently led ESG efforts at Economical Insurance, helping the company meet its sustainability goals ahead of its IPO.

She is also the founder of Her Climb, an organization that aims to increase the number of women of colour in executive and senior roles in corporations and organizations across North America.

In addition to her experience, Tiwari was selected for “a sharp vision for what the practice could become,” says Cowling. “She brings an unbiased approach to challenges, regardless of the client.”