Brands can genuinely stand out from the crowd by giving something back and supporting community projects.
Public demand for brands to take their corporate responsibility seriously has increased in recent years - we are now often looking to brands to help support and enrich local communities. So giving something back can be a great strategy as it allows companies to develop strong ties with consumers while building a reputation through positive association at relevant local levels. It also helps to foster one of the most important ingredients in a brand-consumer relationship: trust.
Here are some examples of brands we think have done a great job at building brand awareness and strengthening relationships with consumers by giving something back.
Duracell Rapid Response When Superstorm Sandy struck last year the emergency services were overwhelmed and we saw hundreds of examples of community based support, which acted as a lifeline to those affected. While some brands, such as Gap and American Apparel launched into insensitive campaigns that rightly drew condemnation from consumers, other brands offered to help and were celebrated for their efforts. Duracell mobilised a Rapid Response team when the power was out across large parts of New York and New Jersey. The team handed out free torch batteries, radios and other portable battery powered devises. It was quick-witted, simple and thoughtful act that will made a positive impression.
Under the creative concept “everyone’s invited” Sky joined forces with British Cycling to provide a full schedule of community cycling events designed to encourage people to get on their bikes. The campaign successfully links Sky to a project that is about more than the services it supplies as a business.
Sprint Interactive BillboardUS voice, data and internet network Sprint created this great campaign in New York that allowed people to find out more about what they love in the city. When people tweeted things they liked using the hashtag #evolove their question appeared on a billboard in Times Square with an instant response from Sprint. Although this project isn’t charity based, it does give something back to a community and shows that even a little bit of help can go a long way.
British Gas Pools for SchoolsBritish Gas has crafted several great community focused projects. One good example is the Pools 4 Schools initiative, where temporary pools were installed at schools across the country to get kids swimming. According to British Gas, 1 in 5 children leave primary school unable to swim. Learning to swim is made difficult by lack of facilities, costs of transport or cost of pool hire so British Gas stepped in to help. This initiative was bound to connect with parents and was a brilliantly genuine way to give something back but also talk to the right people about the kind of brand you are and what you stand for.
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With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.