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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Fortney

Doing Good Can Double PR Exposure

Corporate Responsibility is real and consumers and clients want to know that you stand for more than just profit in today's world.

How you are giving back to your community locally and globally can impact customer perception of your brand and create a strong loyalty.

I'm really amazed at the number of new, small businesses and startups that have come to us recently with a real commitment to community, and they understand the importance of giving back and what it means to their customers and to building a community.

And, today's startups are taking their social responsibility to new heights. While having a social mission can create great messaging and campaigns, we all know that you have to keep the balance of things and that you can't get without giving. For many decades, we saw so many large corporations that have become so out of touch with their community, audience and customers. There was a time when corporate responsibility was understanding the potential impact the company has on the environment and local community. However, today, they are taking that a step further.

While it is today's small businesses and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in their dedication to the community and local and national charities into their business plans right away, enterprises are seeing the positivity that that their Corporate Responsibility can have and are following suit creating their own departments solely focused on their commitments and contributions to their local and global communities.

Enter the department of Social & Corporate Responsibility. Many large corporations today are making investments in not just doing better, but being better and has trickled down into small business.

It's inspiring. As we all know, perception is 9/10s of the rule, and, while you're heart is truly committed to making a difference, it not only provides a positive impression on customers, but can give you more opportunity for positive public relations.

corporate responsibility I top PR firm tips

For most companies launching on a national level, I always recommend that they tie in with local charities in each market or take on a global cause that gives them something to "stand for". Why? Because these news outlets want local news and customers want to feel good about supporting that business.

They want to see companies coming in and making a positive impact on the community and its residents. They want to know that companies care. It has become harder over the years for me to generate news for national charities in different markets, so when a business partners to make a difference, it can drive positive PR for both parties.

This is a very important thing to consider when developing your community programs. Charities can help you drive positive public relations to your business in a couple of ways. You can create a product and commit proceeds of sales to a charity, you can hold a marketing event to bring attention to your business and tie them in, or auction off product with celebrity or local celebrity involvement.

Years ago I managed a 25-city campaign for Jim Beam Brands' DeKuyper Pucker Schnapps. It was a longest kiss challenge (get it? Pucker, kiss?) and winners took home $1,000. The entrance fee was a recommended donation to a local charity and we had representatives on hand to assist in managing the event. In turn, the company donated an extra $1,000 to each charity on top of the entrance fee. Two things, the event was interesting and very quirky and attracted media attention on its own, but the charity tie in in many markets made it easier for us to achieve even more media because we made each contest local.

You may not have Jim Beam's budget, but you can still offer a portion of sales to a relevant nonprofit to your company mission or run a "buy one and we'll give one" campaign on your website. At the end of the day, we're back at perception. It's always good to look out for our neighbors, those who support us in growing our business. It shows your concern and commitment for your community. A good charity partner can become a long term partner - you scratch their back and they'll scratch yours. Eventually this partnership becomes branded in consumers minds when they think of your product or service.

Customers will remember your good works and commitment and take that into consideration in purchasing your product or service down the road. It can even create more loyalty because people feel good buying your product or service.

Eventually, giving back will become second nature and the focus of your overall company mission while creating a community of customers around your brand.

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