How Charitable Partnerships Can Boost a Brand’s Profile

We’ve talked before about the importance of community impact for businesses both large and small. In any community, there are a wide array of ways to get involved and help improve that community for those living and working in it.

Forming charitable partnerships is another way to get involved and improve the community around a business. Of course, businesses can provide support in ways that individuals cannot to a nonprofit or charity. But these partnerships should always be done with tact and taste — the opposite effect can easily happen if a move is done for seemingly ulterior motives.

Finding the Right Charitable Partnership

When selecting a charitable partnership for a business, there are many things to consider. One of these factors is what charity or nonprofit to partner with. Here are some considerations for this decision:

  •     Core values and mission of the business
  •     Nonprofits that align with these core values naturally
  •     Reputation of nonprofit and of the supporting business
  •     Required budget to support a charitable partnership
  •     End goal of charitable partnership

Core values lie at the heart of a business’ purpose. These values are important. They give consumers a look at the belief and value systems of those in executive positions, and they provide a roadmap of how a business conducts itself in public dealings.

With that in mind, it’s equally important for a business to align itself with a nonprofit that also values the same ideas. The purpose and mission of the nonprofit must also make sense. For example, a leather goods company may not look the best if it were to support PETA, nor would PETA be likely to accept their partnership proposal. This is, of course, an extreme example, but it shows that a partnership should be genuine, not self-serving or just “for looks”.

Forming a Charitable Partnership

Once a business has selected a nonprofit to enter into a partnership with, it’s time to figure out exactly what that partnership is going to look like.

Not every partnership has to look the same. Remember, this has to be a beneficial arrangement for both the business and, more importantly, for the nonprofit. Whether the support is financial, in the form of volunteer help, or other services provided, it’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines for the new partnership. Contracts are helpful in this situation, to protect all parties involved.

Before jumping in, take the time to form a strategy about how a business can best assist a nonprofit. Perhaps a marketing agency can offer its services to a local animal shelter each month. Or maybe an event planning portal can donate a portion of the proceeds to local community programs in an effort to create a safer neighborhood in which to host events. Maybe a local consultant can jump on board to help plan a fundraiser for a nonprofit. The possibilities are endless!

Finding creative ways to help out is important too — it doesn’t always have to just be about writing a big check. In fact, finding other ways to get involved is often even more helpful, especially for under-staffed nonprofits.

Aligning business with a nonprofit is a smart move for many reasons, but the biggest motivator should always be the betterment of community or the helping of others. From this motivation can come a great, fulfilling partnership on both sides.

Using Content to build thought leadership

There are many ways to highlight your brand and what it does, content being one of the main and most effective ways of doing so. Content can also be a very effective way to highlight your expertise and knowledge of the industry. The goal is to get your brand front and centre, both online and offline, when people are searching for solutions that you can provide.

In marketing, thought leadership is a tool that establishes you as an expert and authority in your industry. By establishing your brand as a reliable and go-to source of information and expertise in the industry, it will improve brand awareness as well as market value. Here are a few ways in which content can help build thought leadership:

Build credibility

To establish yourself as an expert and authority, you need to prove that you are a credible and reliable source of information. This can be done by illustrating your knowledge and know-how by providing relevant and accurate answers to your audience’s questions and concerns. Providing people solutions and answers will ensure that your audience gets an insight into the level of expertise of your organization and your employees.

For instance, a local fitness studio can demonstrate their knowledge on fitness and nutrition by having instructors contribute to blog posts providing advice and answering questions about health and wellbeing. You can also monitor local Facebook pages and answer any questions locals have pertaining to your industry or in case of offline efforts, go to relevant local events and community gatherings to provide expertise.

Move beyond your website

While your website is an optimal place to provide information and expertise to your audience and customers, expand your online presence beyond your website. The goal is to drive traffic to your website, so find ways on social media and online forums to do so. For example, ask questions to experts in Facebook ads and provide a link to your website for the answer or create short video ads that get people excited and ultimately direct people to your website to learn more.

Foster partnerships

Build strong connections within the community by focusing on strong partnerships rather than sponsorships. Create mutually beneficial relationships with local organizations with whom you share a common audience. These relationships will enhance your visibility, build your reputation since you have the green light from another business and open doors for new opportunities.

The best kind of partnerships are active partnerships. Don’t just be partners on paper, actively promote and foster your partnership by sharing content with your partner, featuring their experts on your website and participating in each other’s events. Don’t forget to share each other’s content on social media as it will help boost your online presence and visibility.

Create useful branding material

Last but not least, don’t be lazy and just hand out brochures as promotional material. The most likely place the brochure will end up is in the trash. Give your audience something that focuses on your expertise and something they are more likely to hang on to or use. If you’re at loss for what kind of promotional material to provide, then even a refrigerator magnet will do the job better than a brochure!

Build a Bear Promotion Goes Bust

It could have been the marketing coup of the summer. Had Build a Bear successfully pulled off its “pay your age” promotion, people would be talking about it for years, especially every time they saw their child’s favorite stuffed animal. Now, though, millions of people will be talking about the promotion for very different reasons.

You probably know the story by now. Build a Bear advertised that it would hold a very special discount day. Parents could bring their kids in, and they tykes could build a new fuzzy friend for only the cost of their age. The news spread across social media like wildfire, causing tens of thousands to flock to Build a Bear locations across the nation, and elsewhere.

Many showed up well before dawn, waiting in line for their chance to capture the deal. Unfortunately for untold thousands of parents, with tired, cranky kids in tow, waiting in line offered them little more than disappointment. Stores ran out of inventory. Some malls cut off the line because the crowds were blocking access to many other stores. There were arguments and fights, and reports some children were injured in melees.

And, based on the company’s initial statement explaining why the deal was canceled, it seems at least some of those safety-related reports may have some basis in fact:

“Based on the unprecedented response to our Pay Your Age Day event in our early opening stores, we are experiencing significantly longer than expected lines and large crowds. Local authorities are requiring us to limit the lines and crowds due to safety concerns. We understand this is disappointing, we are working to address the situation, and we will be reaching out to our valued guests soon…”

So, after hours waiting in line, tens of thousands of disappointed parents and sobbing, confused children were led away, unsure if they would ever get what they came for. These people, of course, were live-streaming and tweeting their experience in real time. As word spread on social media, local news started showing up, taking video and interviewing frustrated parents and kids.

The complaints continued to pour in, criticizing the apparent miscalculations and disorganization both in planning the event an in executing it at the store level. What was supposed to be a huge win for Build a Bear turned into a constant, day-long embarrassment. Over the next days and weeks, planners will review the event, looking for where it all went wrong. They may want to start with why no one asked: What if everyone shows up?

Regardless of what they learn and what they decide, now Build a Bear has to rebuild its reputation with some very aggravated core customers.

Medical PR mistakes

Medical PR Mistakes That Continue to Enrage Patients

Medical PR mistakes

Some negative stories seem to never die. When you’re in the medical industry, and you end up with negative press, that can be tough to shake. That being said, it can be a real jaw-dropper when a medical company creates the negative PR firestorm themselves. Last year, two health industry companies that no one had ever heard of suddenly became household names, for all the wrong reasons. Continue reading →

FDA Questions Health Benefits of Hand Sanitizer

FDA Questions Health Benefits of Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer. It’s become a habit for tens of millions of Americans. People use it even as a preventative measure, and it sells like proverbial hotcakes. There’s even alternative options for people who use a lot or have sensitive or dry skin. But those days could be over. The FDA plans to investigate hand sanitizer claims, not just to see if they work, but to see if they actually do more harm than good.

Continue reading →

budweiser charity

Budweiser: King Of Beer And Kings Of Caring

Budweiser styles its brand the King of Beers, and a recent decision by the brand proves they are the King of Hearts too. Recently, massive floods killed people and destroyed homes and towns in Texas and Oklahoma. Many people left their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. Transportation was impossible with flooded roads filling cars and rising water pushing everything, including the asphalt, off in its wake.

Many charities and businesses stepped in to help those affected by this disaster, including Anheuser-Busch. The company paused beer production at its Georgia brewery to produce drinking water instead. More than 50,000 cans of life-sustaining water were filled at the Cartersville brewery and delivered to the American Red Cross for disaster relief.

Speaking to NBC News, Cartersville brewery manager Rob Haas said, “Right now our production line is running emergency drinking water instead of beer. It’s something we’re uniquely positioned to do in a very timely period.”

Shortly after the switch was made on the production line, 2,000 cases of much-needed water were on their way to the communities in Texas and Oklahoma that needed it most. Red Cross spokesman Jordan Scott told the media the water was “critical” to relief efforts.

Reports of the move also proved to offer positive PR for Anheuser-Busch. While the company and its lines of beer are already wildly popular, they did not have to make this decision. Certainly, many competitors did not. However, because the company had a “unique opportunity” they acted on it.

Sometimes the difference between a neutral message and positive public relations can come down to the simple decision to Do Something Good when others are simply going about business as usual. Now, this is not to say that no other brands helped out. Many did. But few in so public and integral a way as this. In a week full of tragic news and horror stories, Budweiser stepped up and gave us a reason to smile, to say thank you, and to marvel at how one company can make a huge difference with a simple decision to act.

are pc's dead

Are PCs Really Dead (again)?

A recent CNN report claims Wall Street is, once again, predicting the demise of the personal computer. Yes, we live in a mobile world. Yes, PCs are plummeting in sales while mobile devices continue to rise. But is this the beginning of the end of the PC, or have we already passed the point of no return. Or, against all odds, can the PC make a comeback.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to think so, and neither does Hewlett-Packard. And with these two PC heavy hitters focusing on mobile tech and data science, respectively, is it fair to say the time to stick a fork in the personal computer has come?

The evidence, increasingly, says yes. While the Nasdaq, overall, is on the rise, both Microsoft and HP have watched their stock continue to slide. Even as Microsoft makes further forays into mobile and digital, and HP continues to levy massive cutbacks in its workforce. Intel, another indicator of PC strength, is also having a bad year so far in 2015. Sure, the company enjoyed 2014, but last year’s trendlines mean next to nothing in today’s shifting marketplace.

Further evidence of the trend can be found in the Big 3s chief rival – Apple. After a massive 40% uptick last year, Apple is enjoying another banner year, up nearly 18% already in 2015. Apple’s secret? It jumped into mobile with both feet years ago and has been leading the pack ever since. Even as its competitors tried to squeeze the last juice out of the PC lemon, Apple brazenly put both its desktops and laptops on the back burner, giving the iPad and iPhone the showcase spotlight. Sure, Apple continued to upgrade its laptops, making them faster and stronger – but the company also made them lighter.

By clinging – still, in many ways – to outdated technology that continues to fall out of favor with consumers in every demographic, HP and Microsoft allowed their brands to be labeled as the technology of yesterday. During the same time, Apple and mobile rival Samsung grabbed the top two spots in the Tech of Today marketplace. In sales, perception, and identity are every bit as important as features and benefits. While it’s understandable that both Microsoft and HP are massive aircraft carriers that take time to turn, they waited too long to change course, and it may already be too late.

celebrity-non-profit

This celebrity Remembered to support Alzheimer’s Research

In a month where the country was awash in pink, Ronn Torossian points out the obvious fact that there are other nonprofit causes in desperate need of a champion. During a whirlwind promotional tour for his latest major motion picture The Interview, Seth Rogen took more than a moment to get serious about a disease that looms large over the worlds population: Alzheimer’s.

According to reports, the mother of Rogen’s girlfriend has been battling the debilitating brain disorder for more than a decade. Alzheimer’s might be the most common form of dementia and, although this debilitating condition may be a reality for tens of millions of Americans,  it gets precious little attention in popular culture. This is particularly true when advocates raising awareness for Alzheimer’s are competing with other health scourges such as breast cancer during the pink-themed month of October. Rogen said that the most difficult part about dealing with a friend or family member’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis is accepting the fact that there is no action one can take to alleviate the condition. Loved ones receive the diagnosis and are faced with the dim prognosis in one felled swoop. Time is of no consequence because there is no proven effective treatment existing for Alzheimer’s. While early detection is one of the best markers of treatment for cancer, there is no such silver lining currently existing for Alzheimer’s.

Just dealing with the around clock care needed for advanced stage Alzheimer’s patients can be devastating for an average family – emotionally and financially. While Rogen admits that he can financially afford the care required for his girlfriend’s mother, he also acknowledges that his case is the exception to the rule. In an interview with the actor, producer, and director, Rogan called the cause behind Alzheimer’s research “ridiculously underfunded” and offered his services as a champion of the awareness movement. In short, Rogan is willing to put his money where his mouth is in order to make certain that the voice of Alzheimer’s research is effectively heard.

Rogen gathered a cadre of his most famous friends to produce a variety show with the purpose of raising money for Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s research cause remains huge with practically limitless needs. Although these are the stakes, they also present the potential for massive nonprofit PR opportunity that should not be left on the table.