Marketing is necessary for any company to raise awareness of its brand. Consumers however now want to see much more than just marketing messages of the product or service – consumers are looking for practical evidence of how a company behaves…And they don’t want to search for this proof in the tome of a CSR report.
How do companies, large and small, communicate and engage the consumer in a way that creates belief and trust in what they are doing?
This is more than a marketing message pushed at a consumer. Companies must promote their brand values in a practical easy to understand way.
But what happens when brand values are challenged and instead of loyalty customers react with sceptism and cynicism?
Lack of accountability in food chains, fraud in banking, poor human rights in manufacturing saw consumers expressing their outrage, made ever more powerful through the agility of social media. An adverse reaction to a company’s behaviour will have a direct impact on profits and sales.
There are powerful examples of how brand values can be a more potent message than product marketing. Innocent drinks have launched a great new campaign called chainofgood.co.uk. A simple but clear value message; Tastes Good, and does you Good, and does others good. Their message is powerful in that the use the word ‘and’ means that their values are integral to their business model.
And we can see this value messaging in other campaigns. Barclays who undoubtedly suffered because of the banking scandal have crafted a message of ‘dedication’ and ‘in it for the long term’ with its new premier league football sponsorship.
Pruhealth isn’t promoting insurance for times of ill-health but is actively encouraging healthier life styles with obvious business reason.
How can this help the third sector?
Third sector organisations should seize the day with this new momentum from corporates, eager to show its consumers they are not a faceless organization only driven by a profit motive at all costs.
Charities need to be strong and bold in offering a new style of relationship to corporates. They should drive corporate partnerships, not be subjected to them. They should think outside of the box about how they can help a corporate promote its values in an increasingly cluttered landscape.
The days of a corporate expecting to push huge numbers of employees through volunteering days still have a role but with diminishing importance.
A good charity corporate relationship should be about ensuring the public understands the brand values of both partners. The trick is to find a meaningful way that of course delivers the bread and butter of fundraising and employee engagement but also delivers a message for good.
Coca-Cola demonstrates this approach with is strategic partnership with Water Aid. At Coca-Cola, water stewardship is a priority as much of its business depends on water, being its main ingredient. A key part of their strategy is to help communities gain access to safe water and so creating a brand presence in communities they are yet to engage.
Corporate – Charity partnerships have a new opportunity to rethink how they can engage consumers with passion and integrity that builds trust and loyalty behind a brand.