There has been a lot of turmoil in the world lately, but I am thankful for the holiday season, which seems to evoke a spirit of giving even when other crummy things are happening around us. Although most of the shopping madness is over (except for those out for the BIG Boxing Day sales!), I'd like to think that the spirit of giving will continue on as we enter 2015.
On a bright note, statistics show that more and more people are donating to non-profits and other charitable organizations each and every year. Some of the donations aren't made directly to the non-profits, but by purchasing specific brands. Listen up, all of those with a service or product to offer: People are looking for companies that are doing more! Millenials, or those born after 1979, are one group of consumers exhibiting this trend of wanting to give back while making a purchase. Millenials are described as wanting "to be a part of something bigger". They want to spend their money on "brands doing something good for them, good for their community, or good for the planet". So what does this have to do with branding, you ask?
(Image courtesy of Jael Custom Designs.)
Branding is defined as how make your product or service known. It's more than just advertising. Successful branding consists of customers thinking of your brand as the only solution to what they need. As customer values change (just read again about the Millenials), brands must make adjustments in how they are perceived. Here are some interesting statistics from Do Good and Do Well: The Four Business Benefits of Strategic Giving:
- Your business is never too small to make a difference.
- 92% of Americans have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause they care about.
- Business philanthropy (or community involvement) is becoming more widely recognized as an essential component of business strategy of companies of all sizes - not just the Fortune 500.
- 87% of Americans are likely to switch from one product to another (price and quality being equal) if the other product is associated with a good cause.
- 85% of employees who work for a company with a cause are proud of their employer.
- Companies committed to being good citizens and supporting communities are increasingly understood to have a greater return on investment that the national averages.
It definitely sounds like a good business decision to incorporate some form of charitable giving when branding your product or service. There are many companies, big and small, already successfully doing this. Some you have most certainly heard of and possibly even have shopped with them, but others may be new to you. Take a look at how they incorporate giving into their brand identity.
Buy a pair, give a pair. When you buy a pair of Warby Parker glasses, they donate a pair of glasses to somebody in need. (Well, there is much more to it, and you can read all of the details here!) They do more than just donate, too! They also work with non-profit partners who train men and women in developing countries to give basic exams and sell glasses to their communities at ultra-affordable glasses, allowing them to earn a living.
Headbands of Hope
For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to fund childhood cancer research. The headbands help the girls stay girly even when they are losing their hair from cancer treatments. They also offer a constant reminder to the girls that they are not alone. Since Jessica Ekstrom started Headbands of Hope in 2012, over 20,000 headbands have been donated! They have a new line of buffs for boys too.
Alex and Ani
The Alex and Ani line includes handcrafted jewelry, handbags and accessories that are all made in America. The products are created with care and quality and the hope that they will be passed on to future generations. Through the Charity by Design program, customized charms are designed and created to capture the essence of specific charities. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these charms is donated directly to the non-profits. This program raises awareness and funds for organizations that "strive to enhance the quality of lives on Earth."
We could go on and on! TOMS and the Starbucks Foundation are two other examples that include the spirit of giving into their branding strategies. Let us know about other companies and products that you know about that are making our world a better, more generous, place to live. Leave them in the comments section below. Help us spread the word!
Do you need help with branding? We can help you get your brand out there and make it one that everyone will remember.