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Is your Brand ... 'doing good?'

I couldn’t help but notice over the holiday season the vast number of companies that were helping out other organizations and important causes. Is your organization a good community citizen? Are you dedicated to a cause or a non-profit organization that helps the community in which you service or operate?

It is important for brands to do good. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t suggest companies drag their staff unwillingly to volunteer somewhere, just to ‘get it over with’ and be there for the photo opp. That is not genuine. However, if your organization has a true and meaningful commitment to a charity organization or just wants to help out around the holiday season, it is important to think about the cause you wish to support and why. By committing to community stewardship and social responsibility, you show your ultimate customer that your organization has caring values and ultimately earn their loyalty.

Most brands in the marketplace do truly CARE for their consumer and are passionate about something in particular; the environment, children, animals, safe housing, clean water. Just like people, brands need to give a damn about something and by doing so, you are likely to attract consumers that also value helping those same causes. By committing to an initiative, it showcases a softer, more personal side of your brand. Revealing what’s important to your brand (outside of selling your product or service) helps you tap into an emotional connection with your audience and presents you as a good corporate citizen. “Company ABC cares about the things we care about and does so much for our community, we should shop there!”

Here is what a brand should consider when choosing an organization or charity to support:

  1. Does this help your local community? It is important with smaller organizations to focus on the community in which they operate, which is where the target consumer likely lives. Make an impact close to home if you are small business servicing local customers. If you have a provincial or national presence, consider organizations that mirror your territory so that you have good coverage and an equal opportunity to showcase your partnership.

  2. Does this resonate with your target audience? Does volunteering at the food bank makes sense and connect back to your brand essence or does cleaning up the waterfront a better fit?

  3. Is there an obvious theme between your product/service and the organization you are helping? If you are in the pet business then a cause related to helping or saving animals makes more sense then focussing on the environment. If you are in the home building business, then Habitat for Humanity is a logical and related cause.

  4. Does this link to your brand values? All brands stand for something. Break it down into 4 - 6 key ideas or themes and ensure that your cause of choice aligns with your brand DNA.

  5. Is there a way that the sale of your product or service can raise extra funds at points throughout the year? Think about an annual calendar and long- term plan to support both your cause AND your sales.

  6. Try not to flip flop or support too many organizations. You create better awareness and a bigger voice if you support a few causes on a consistent basis. You become known as a supporter with a longer-term partnership.

Ideally you want to think through a long-term cause marketing strategy. By committing to a non-profit partner you build awareness, momentum and a two-way partnership that will create press coverage and long-term marketing benefits. Do it because you care and do it because it makes sense for your unique brand position.

Do you need help understanding your brand and how best to reach your audience?

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