A POINT WORTH MAKING
|LIAM GASKIN BELIEVES BRANDS SHOULD TAKE NOTE OF 1% DIFFERENCE|
When the UN leads a campaign, governments all over the world buy into a community venture. The 1% Difference campaign was washing over me a little until I heard President Bill Clinton speak about it. So I did some research and came to a conclusion: Irish companies have not seen the potential for their business and the community of buying into 1% initiative. It may be because sometimes it is called corporate philanthropy – a bad term in many boardrooms.
Ask an FC to consider corporate philanthropy and you can call the cardiac ambulance for him and the men in white uniforms for you as philanthropy suggests giving with no return. But if we look at it differently and call it something else that we in marketing understand, sponsorship and analyse the benefits under the following headings – brand, corporate reputation, staff morale and community relations – you might find it is well worth doing.
Sponsorship, that’s really all it is after all and the 1% campaign should encourage brands or companies that have either cut out sponsorship or have never done it to get involved. There are national and local organisations that can benefit from sponsorship and that does not just mean financial. A top brand brings credibility to the work they are doing, grows their profile through PR and marketing communications and energises people; all of which enhances the brand’s reputation.
“Brand x is working to make a 1% difference to The Irish Heart Foundation”: Although this is just an example it sends a strong message to consumers and thanks to the substantial ad spend, everyone has an understanding of 1%, so it says the brand is giving something back.
Corporate reputation: There are many companies and industry bodies which could benefit from enhancing their corporate reputation. To support a charity, community or national programme is a good start. Consumers have a greater affinity for companies that “give something back”. More consideration is given to these brands when buying.
Staff morale: The best sponsorships not only have consumer buy-in but also staff buy-in. The sponsorship by Irish Pride Bakeries of Hospice Sunflower Days saw their staff get involved in fundraising by running 5-a-side soccer and community walks. Staff support for a sponsorship programme can bring huge benefits to a company, including enhanced loyalty, commitment and pride. Where staff help choose a sponsorship, the corporate returns are even greater.
Our community, our customers: We all reside, work and derive our living while being part in various communities. Our brands and services are bought by people and sometimes we forget that. Our consumers are not insensitive to the harsh realities of living in Ireland at the moment. It is not good enough for a brand to expect an immediate positive response from marketing communications, price and quality of the product or service. It is important to touch consumers in different and occasionally emotional ways and the 1% initiative not only presents us with that opportunity but allows us to serve the community to which we market and enhance our brand or service across a raft of important touch points which all help sell products and services.
1% is not literal: No one expects all companies to invest 1% of its income but it is a call to action to consider sponsoring charities or causes that need support, so don’t be put off by the title. To do nothing is a missed opportunity for both the brand and the community.
A noble act: Let’s be clear, if a company can benefit from participating in the 1% initiative that is a really good thing. If a business derives benefits from assisting a charity or organisation then it’s a win-win and will encourage greater co-operation for mutual benefit.
A commitment: If you wish to see the possibilities from the 1% Difference for your brand, I will provide the first five companies who email me at firstname.lastname@example.org the benefit of my expertise FOC in a two-hour consultation to assess the opportunities for your brand. That’s my contribution to the 1% Difference campaign.
President Bill Clinton is someone most people pay attention to when he speaks. On a recent visit to Dublin, he made an impassioned speech about the need for corporates to care.
Liam Gaskin is a director of The Concept Partnership marketing consultancy