We're pleased to bring you our top 10 blog posts of 2013!
#9: THINKTOPIA on Brand Relevance
Patrick Hanlon, Founder and CEO of THINKTOPIA®—an innovative branding, marketing, consulting, and advertising firm—has the secret to brand relevance. Fortunately for us, he’s willing to share.
Q: What are the top 3 things brands must do in 2013 to be relevant to consumers?
A: First, be meaningful. And I don’t mean that in the ordinary, trite way. Real meaning comes from surrounding your company, your product or service, your community, with a system of belief that fundamentally attracts people and entices them to opt in to your community. This means that your brand narrative—how you string together the beads of your brand’s story, (why/how you started, where you’re from, what you believe in, what you don’t believe in, how you are used, how you describe yourself, what you are not and never want to become, and who is leading the enterprise) is critical. Not only will this keep your brand relevant, it will help your brand remain meaningful to consumers and your brand community. Most importantly, it will help keep it from becoming meaningless. There is no second or third thing, this is the primary thing.
How many fruit baskets did you receive last year? While they may be delicious, they aren’t super original. This year, think outside the basket. Think charity.
Not only does charity satiate your appetite longer, but it’s also a more meaningful, personal gift to give and receive.
Just in time for the holidays, we’re pleased to announce our reimagined Good Card®! This charity gift card is redeemable as a donation to any of more than 1 million charities.
Not a compelling enough? Well here are some more reasons to consider charity as an end-of-the-year gift:
Good Card recipients redeem their prepaid donations for a wide range of charities – from local PTAs, libraries, and animal shelters to large nonprofits like the American Red Cross and The Nature Conservancy.
Super Typhoon Haiyan left communities devastated, homes decimated, and residents in need of support.
Through our giving portal, nearly $4 million in donations was raised by individuals and companies to aid those affected by the typhoon. Companies of all shapes and sizes provided disaster relief through corporate philanthropy dollars, matching grants, employee-driven campaigns, and in-kind donations.
Here’s a look at some of the responses:
It sounds shockingly simple, but that’s because it is. Our new corporate partner, Changefolio, is a web platform looking to improve the donation experience for both charities and donors.
In their words,
“[Changefolio] empower[s] users to set up automatic micro-donations based on everyday spending. Users connect with their bank, and set up on-going donation rules, like giving an extra dollar to a local food bank every time they buy groceries. We then provide a personalized webpage that allows users to track and share their impact.”
Customers are fickle. They want companies to communicate the impact they’re making but feel overwhelmed by messages of good (think: weariness over pink-washing and green-washing).
You can capitalize on this fickleness by providing bite-sized chunks of good spreading your social message. Check out Cone Communications' research on the most effective ways to communicate social and environmental impact. While social media may seem small at 7%, when added together, online and mobile channels comprise 22%.
Here are some examples of companies showcasing bites of good online:
Annie’s: Cheddar bunnies, mac & cheese, and…community gardens? Peppering ways to interact with the company’s “nourishing communities” is an Annie’s specialty. One way the company does this is via its crowdfunded, school-garden-building campaign.
If you’re well versed in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social media, you’ve likely participated in the inimitable Susan McPherson’s bi-monthly #CSRChat. We were lucky enough to be one of the featured guests, with our partners Vocus.
We’re big fans of the social marketing company, both as a customer of Vocus’ marketing suite and as a social good partner in crime. Vocus uses our Good Card—branded charity gift cards—as a thank you for conference speakers.
Why give the gift of charity? Vocus: We found our conference speakers didn’t want more “gifts” to lug back home. They appreciated the thoughtfulness of Good Cards…It was a creative gift and certainly meant more to them!
McPherson asked us and Vocus questions around CSR and social-good incentives. Check out snippets on the conversation below, and be sure to check out the next #CSRChat on Twitter.
On brands' genuine connection to cause:
As today is the day before Thanksgiving, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate someone very special to us…you!
Thank you for all you do to bring good into the world. Your company and coworkers (and likely family and friends) benefit from your hard work.
We at Network for Good wish you a festive holiday and charitable giving season.
Please remember that Tuesday is #GivingTuesday, a movement to add a national day of giving to the lineup of post-Thanksgiving shopping days. We hope you’ll join us in giving charities the support they need as we round out year-end.
If your company would like to get involved, but hasn’t had the time to devise a plan, consider giving your employees the gift of charity. You can email charity gift cards to recipients and view the causes they support online.
How are you showing thanks tomorrow?
Image credit: Pinterest user Debbiedoos
Ribbons, promises to “do good”, and certifications saturate an already noisy consumer-focused marketplace. Consumers can be overwhelmed—fatigued, in fact—when there are too many messages and they all sound the same.
Cone’s newest Social Impact Study: The Next Cause Evolution explains how companies can break out from the norm by demonstrating impact and showcasing business transparency.
Ways you can do this right now:
We're excited to release the following Network for Good Mid-Year 2013 Digital Giving Index Infographic, which includes our findings on $71 million in donations to over 20,000 charities via the Network for Good giving platform.* Donations are categorized via three channels: portal giving (like CrowdRise), charity websites, and peer-to-peer social giving.
The main takeaways worth noting are:
1) Giving is going digital. While overall giving is up 1.5%, online giving has risen 14%.
2) Social giving--via peer-to-peer sites--is increasing. In 2013, Network for Good cited a 60% increase via the platform in donation dollars over 2012.
3) People give more than you think. Branded giving pages see an average gift size of $118 and portal giving sees an average donation of $76.
In 1993 Cone Communications began tracking attitudes around cause marketing and the intersection between business and social good. Its latest social impact study, The Next Cause Evolution, has some juicy conscious consumerism tidbits and trends.
You should definitely read the report in its entirety—it’s very skim-able—but here are some of the key highlights if you’re short on time.
An affiliation with cause doesn’t does it differentiate your brand; social good is expected; social impact is the new standard. If your company thinks its CSR communications job is complete because of a one-off giving campaign or food drive, think again.