Last week I wrote part one of the "Giving Back is Good for Business" series in which I began discussing the different ways businesses can benefit by volunteering with and supporting non-profits and charitable organizations. This week I will be continuing that discussion and taking a deeper dive into the subject.
Before we get started, just a heads up that I will be using a few different marketing terms in this post. In the event that you aren't super familiar with the terms 'brand", "brand awareness", "recognition", "recall", and "brand differentiation", I have defined them for you at the end of the post. Feel free to read that part before continuing because it's important that you have an understanding of what they mean in order to understand how they factor in as benefits.
Assuming you already know what the terms mean (or that you just read the definitions) let's talk about how they come into play in our discussion on working with non-profits and charitable organizations!
Companies who support a cause are getting their name out in places it might not normally be and setting themselves apart from the competition by showing consumers that they care. They are increasing their exposure and giving people a greater opportunity to learn about who they are and what their brand is all about. This is a fantastic way to increase both brand awareness AND brand differentiation. Going back to the TOMs example from part one, I knew about TOMS before I ever purchased a pair. Before I ever even thought about purchasing a pair! Most people can both recognize and recall the shoe brand regardless of whether they have ever actually owned a pair of TOMS. They also know that TOMS gives to those in need which sets it apart from every other shoe company out there.
When you support a non-profit or charitable organization, you are demonstrating to consumers that you care about what that organization does and that you care about your community. You're improving your public image and your brand image by presenting your company in a positive light. You're giving consumers a reason to remember you and something positive to associate you with that differentiates you from your competitors. It's a win-win for both your company and the non-profit. You're getting exposure which in turn can increase brand awareness and brand differentiation, and they're getting the support they need to continue fulfilling their mission!
No matter how you look at it, volunteering with and supporting non-profits and charitable organizations is an excellent way to better your brand. To learn more about other ways your business can benefit, stay tuned for part three of this series!
Here are those definitions I mentioned!
First up is brand. Seems like an easy enough term right? You'd think so, but most people outside of the business world (and even some of those in it) don't fully grasp the concept of a company's "brand." Your brand is not the product or service you produce but rather is the idea behind that product or service. Your brand is what your company is all about, what you believe in, the impression people get when they think of your business, how you are perceived by the consumer world. It is the sum total of everything about your business EXCEPT your product or service.
Next is brand awareness. Brand awareness is composed of two parts - recognition and recall - both of which are pretty straightforward. Brand recognition is the extent to which consumers are able to recognize your brand by specific attributes such as color and design elements. For instance, everyone can recognize McDonald's golden arches and know that it is McDonalds without ever actually seeing the name of fast-food giant. Brand recall is the ability of the consumer to remember your business in a particular product or service class without being giving any hints or clues. For instance, if I were to say "name all the car companies you can think of," the ones you list would be the brands you recall.
Last up is brand differentiation. Brand differentiation is whatever it is your business or organization does that is different from other companies who provide similar products or services. It's what sets you apart and makes you, YOU.