Let’s set the scene.
It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re in aisle 9, household essentials, of your local grocery store. Dish soap is on your list. There are probably several brands to choose from, all priced relatively similar. You notice one brand proudly displays that they donated $2 million to soup kitchens across the U.S. last year. Does this influence your purchasing decision?
For 9 out of 10 of you, the answer is yes. 90% of U.S. consumers say that they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. Cone Communications/Ebiquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study Associating your brand with a cause, or similarly corporate social responsibility, is becoming increasingly prominent, important and expected. Take a look at these 4 companies who are doing it, and doing it well.
- TOMS: The brand of canvas shoes you’re likely to see if you open a Millennial’s closet or hop onto a college campus. For every pair of TOMS purchased, the company donates a pair to people in need. TOMS boasts that they are more than a shoe brand, they are a movement. I can attest to this as I have witnessed 3 years of “One Day without Shoes” on my college campus. Millennials, in particular, eat this stuff up.
- Stella Artois: Not supplying just beer! In 2015 their Buy A Lady A Drink campaign helped provide more than 290,000 people in developing countries with 5 years of clean water. This campaign has had great legs on social media. Check it out! One regular post on their page received 1.8K likes, 80 shares and 36 comments. One post for their 2016 Leave Your Mark Campaign (again, supplying water to those in need) came in at 8.9K likes, 1,254 shares and 568 comments. People are more likely to share these types of messages and listen when exposed to them.
- Xerox: Associating your brand with a cause isn’t just for consumer brands. Xerox, best known for their printers and presses but which is also a services and technology company, gave out $13.5 million in grants and donations in 2014. That same year, 13,000 employees were involved in 800 projects. Fostering opportunities for employees to give back can increase employee satisfaction and strengthen the bond between employees and the brand, inevitably leading to better employee performance.
- State Farm: As an insurance company, auto safety is a big concern. Established in 2012, State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive® program focuses on educating new drivers and sharing positive safety tips. In 2014 the program hosted more than 1,200 student-focused events across North America. When looking for ways to get involved, it is always important to make sure what you’re doing aligns with your brand and company’s mission.
So if you’re like many companies and already incorporating goodwill into your business model, kudos to you! If not, give it some consideration. When a company strives to give back in more ways than just dividends, people notice and good things start to happen.