Strategic Philanthropy: Accountability Builds Authenticity

Strategic Philanthropy: Accountability Builds Authenticity

Companies all over the globe are linking their brands to philanthropy. In the old economy, the corporate mission focused on making money, money, money. Well, mission is still about making money, of course, but with an IMPORTANT twist: make money while making the world a better place. Business philanthropy, for example, has become a hugely successful strategic public relations model. Through charitable giving to philanthropic causes, businesses can communicate their humanity, generate publicity and goodwill, and attach new value to their brands. Strategic philanthropy builds better brands and a better society. In order for brands to succeed, they must be good citizens of the world. Brand citizenship is here to stay and any brand that doesn’t hop on the philanthropy train will struggle and, in many cases, fail.

Iconic Hollywood actor Paul Newman will be remembered for many things, and one of them will be the philanthropic business model he established with his Newman’s Own brand. He was an astute marketer, who, in some ways, may have set the pace for business philanthropy. Newman disliked the phrase “cause marketing.” He was driven by a sense of doing what’s right and sharing his abundance with others. Consumers who go out of their way to buy the Newman brand’s products are drawn to and motivated by that same spirit.

Following in Newman’s footsteps, companies all over the globe are linking their brands to philanthropy. Tide, for example, donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of Yellow Cap Tide to disaster victims, “mixing hope with the normal load.” Apple and Microsoft match their employee’s contributions to charitable organizations. Warby Parker, the widely coveted, ultra-hip eyeglasses brand, donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair purchased. Other companies, such as Dr. Bronner’s All-One, whose soap has a steady cult following, set up their own charitable foundations supporting causes from community engagement to education, environmental causes to fighting poverty. The list of successful brands engaged in the art of doing good goes on and it’s easy to see why these brands do so well. If a brand can make a consumer feel good about a purchase beyond the product itself, word soon gets out promoting both the cause and the product. It’s a no-brainer win-win.

This is the second post in a series where we will be looking at a number of different reasons why brands fail, while examining active solutions that ensure the long-term success of authentic brands.

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