If you try and make sense of the world today, you know – do the math on it – you’ll find it very difficult to add up! The same is true for so many brands – the Brand Math just doesn’t do it.
There’s something missing! We think it’s Unity!
We live in a time of increasing disunity. Have any of us lived through a period quite like this before? Have we ever experienced our society being more divided than it is today? I don’t think so. This period we’re in kind of reminds me of how history has treated the American Civil War, when families were completely torn apart by the issues at stake. Brother against brother, mother against daughter, a truly horrendous period in American history.
Of course, the disunity we are facing daily in our private lives is very apparent all day in our business lives too, but many of us try not to let politics (or religion) creep in to our work world, which needs to be sanitized from such distractions for the most part!
However, there is a way for an organization to cross-over into making a socio-economic statement through direct action that can be hugely positive for your brand, your staff, and all concerned - without being an overt political statement that turns people off – and in the process generates Unity.
I’m talking about your organization choosing a socially acceptable, community service project, something that resonates with your culture and brand, and energizes people to come together as a team to help solve a problem bigger than themselves.
For some business leaders this sounds expensive, burdensome and unprofitable – and if this is done badly it can be all of those things – but like any well-executed plan, when done right great things can and will happen. So, what are some of the specific and tangible reasons for having your organization perform a community service project, let’s start a list!
Networking – by jumping in to a community project – like supporting the homeless for instance – your team will get to work directly with other folks from various organizations who share a similar desire to help. This networking opportunity with like-minded individuals, all doing something altruistic together, for someone other than themselves or their company, can be a very powerful tool for generating company loyalty. It also creates the potential for new clients and partners.
PR – if you pick the right project and produce the right level of service and commitment to that cause then your efforts will be worthy of press coverage! Of course, you may want to engage a professional PR person to get the most out of your involvement, but doing the right thing over time should present ample opportunities to show the local marketplace that you are serious as an organization about being part of the solution, not the problem.
Culture Building – your organization will gain a great deal from a well-managed engagement in a community service project, and the result will be a culture building benefit for everyone. For most people helping someone perhaps less fortunate than themselves results in some very specific emotions, specifically: Empathy for the people they are helping, Gratitude for their own place in the world and their lot in life, and Humbled by the experience of helping others. All of these emotions are then tied to the fact your organization is the one that is providing this group activity that makes everyone feel good in deep ways that aren’t typically associated with work! That’s a win!
Authenticity – in this world of fake news and misinformation/miscommunication it is key for an organization to ensure it is perceived in the marketplace as authentic. Having your team work on a service project results in the community at large understanding that you will, as a group, put words in to action and actually do something meaningful to promote community wellbeing. Viscerally people know when a good organization steps up to bat for their community, they appreciate those groups willing to come together for the greater good. Authenticity is a highly sought-after brand attribute in the modern era, and is there a better way for most organizations to acquire it than through giving to others unconditionally?
Loyalty – from existing customers and new prospects who understand the company already and wholly appreciate they are doing business with a brand that resonates at such a high level with the needs of the many. A successful community activity will also generate loyalty from staff members who love working for the company even more now the company is working for the community! Loyalty from the community you serve, your team could get a huge lift from the folks you are all working directly to support. These folks have long memories in our experience, they remain loyal to those who volunteer and give generously of themselves. Brand loyalty is the gold dust of the strategic messaging world, if you can achieve it you have something people have struggled to achieve through money alone!
There are quite a few other reasons that supporting your community through a service project is a great idea for your organization, but these are the 5 most potent. Just like any other marketing program, in order to succeed you’ll need all of the Event Marketing Toggle Switches in the ON position at the same time, which requires a large amount of commitment and focus. Event marketing can be very rewarding if what you seek is an adventure with your organization into your local community in order to benefit some cause greater than ourselves. Done well, a community service project will enhance your brand equity internally and externally, as well as directly benefiting the recipients of your altruism. We feel this type of holistic brand experience is new math, we did the math and it adds up!
United Creations is currently working on its own Brand Math through a community service project we’d love you to be a part of: www.unitedcreations.com/unity.
Author: Rich Lancaster, Strategy