Doing Good To Do Well.

1019111Businesses which look beyond their own financial success and invest in their communities and those in need are most often those which build the strongest bonds with their customers. My friends at RP3 Agency in Bethesda, a smart group of marketing folk,  recently addressed this issue in a recent “Magnetisms”, their weekly blog on a variety of marketing related topics. The following piece was crafted by their President, Beth Johnson. It is called Doing Good is Good Business. Smart stuff, Beth. Your mom was right–stay away from the fast girls.

My mom always told me “You’re only as good as the company you keep.” While she was trying to deter me from hanging out with the fast girls in high school, the message sticks with me today at work. The companies and brands we represent are being judged by more than financial performance. They are being judged by their social performance as well – and, of course, by the organizations with which they align themselves.

We all know by now that corporate philanthropy should play a role in building your brand. Consumers want to do business with companies that value social responsibility. And, while research shows they are not necessarily willing to pay more for brands that “do good,” they are more likely to select a product with an added social benefit when given a choice between similar products. But, even more importantly, businesses are more likely to do business with other companies that demonstrate responsibility and good corporate citizenship. Shareholders look for that, too, as do the best and the brightest employees.

Thanks to mega corporate donors like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, the landscape in corporate philanthropy has completely changed for the better. Gone are the days of making a donation, sending out a press release and hoping for media coverage. Those efforts are wasteful on all fronts. In the most successful corporations, “business” and “philanthropy” are one and the same. Companies are now realizing that there is more to be gained from engaging in philanthropic activities than simply enhancing their corporate reputations. With an effective strategy, smart partner selection and careful management, philanthropy can be used to drive sales, advance expertise, enhance recruitment and retention and improve shareholder value.

The most socially responsible companies embrace and fully integrate their causes into the fabric of their brands. My favorite example of this is TOMS shoe. TOMS signifies “Shoes For Tomorrow,” because with every pair of shoes sold, the company will donate a pair to a child in need through their partnerships with humanitarian organizations worldwide. The brand is responsible for a movement called “One for One” which has engaged consumers across the country (as judged by sales and social media buzz) and has earned significant praise and attention in the media.

Corporations should look at examples like TOMS and see the possibilities for success when philanthropy and business goals are redundant. To accomplish what they do, organizations like TOMS rely on strategic partnerships for execution of their mission. Clearly, they are in good company.

Thanks for sharing Beth.

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