Tag Archives: charity

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business With Community Involvement

For any small business to succeed, whether it’s a single location or a few
franchises, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed.
 
Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace. Here’s how to do it:
 
Promote local vendors and distributors. If you’re satisfied with work done by local workers or businesses, let them know! Announce how much you like them on your website and social channels, and even on your storefront. Such efforts cost nothing and generate enormous goodwill – and even lead to partnerships down the line.

Join all the local trade organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. These are great ways to network, but many such groups put out directories or give their members some sort of seal of approval. In a sense, these organizations are doing your marketing for you.

List your business on Yelp and Foursquare, and encourage customers to “check in” when they visit you and to write a review. An easy to way to use Foursquare is to offer a discount or prize for the “Mayor” – the person who checks in at your business the most. This triggers the best kind of competition: Who can visit your business the most often?
Image courtesy of Tom Edwards (@TheBlackFin)
Participate in community events. These can be holiday events, charity fundraisers, county fairs, or events tied to the local school or college. You can simply donate money to get your business listed as a sponsor, or “go big” by becoming the sole sponsor of an event or local youth sports team. Go even bigger by hosting your own event, whether it’s just for fun, like a Fourth of July barbecue, or to raise money for a (preferably local) charity.
 
The inverse of that idea is to hold a contest among your employees that
benefits a local charity. Give a prize to whichever employee can sell the most
candy, bring in the most cans to recycle, or raise the most money. Prizes can
be as simple as an extra vacation day. Again, there’s no point in keeping this
a secret; tell the charity, post updates online, and display a leaderboard so
your customers can see your efforts.
 

You can also encourage employees to volunteer at the charity of their choice, perhaps giving a paid (or non-penalized) personal day to allow them to attend weekday events. You yourself can also join the board of a local charity, which will guarantee your name in their marketing materials.

Photo courtesy of D’Anna Associates
Finally, take pride in your community. Decorate your workplace with
photos of local heroes, celebrities, or important events. Try to get
endorsements from the local TV anchors. Congratulate local teams on their
victories and let nearby schools post flyers for their events. You can even
make the community part of your tagline:
“Proudly serving Plano since 1997,” for example, not only shows your commitment to the community but also helps with your SEO.
 
These strategies make goodwill and community involvement part of your
brand and differentiate you in the marketplace. Organizations from local banks
to TOMS Shoes have successfully incorporated the spirit of giving, which
creates a strong emotional connection to their brands. And that makes
customers want to spend money on your products or services
instead of your competitor’s.


For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like Brandemix on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

Giving Back at Thanksgiving, With Kiva

All it takes is one person to believe in you.

Organizations across America have believed in Brandemix to develop branded communications that attract, educate, and engage their target audiences.

During this time of year, we feel it’s important to give thanks for that trust and to give back as well. That’s why we make regular contributions to Kiva, a nonprofit organization that enables people like you and me to extend microloans over the web to low-income entrepreneurs in struggling communities, whether as far away as Africa or as close as Staten Island and New Jersey.

We chose Kiva out of many other microlending sites because eighty percent of its recipients are women, who are sometimes single-handedly supporting large families. As a certified woman-owned business enterprise, we believe in strengthening women around the world.

No matter how difficult our lives at the moment, people are suffering far more in many places – too many – across the world. Please take the time to visit www.kiva.org and give to the worthy cause of your choice. It’s not charity; it’s a loan, and more than 98% of Kiva recipients repay the loan with interest.

Lending through Kiva creates desperately needed capital in some of the poorest parts of the globe. It bypasses corrupt governments and predatory banks and ensures that the money goes directly to those who will use it. When the loan is repaid, you can give the money to another entrepreneur, donate it to Kiva’s general fund, or simply withdraw it. It’s a great way to give.

We hope you’ll join our efforts to fight poverty around the world and here in the US. From all of us here at Brandemix, happy Thanksgiving.

Non-Profit Branding: Yes, There is a Difference

My company has been working with several non-profits lately, and I’m constantly asked how branding in that space is different from “regular” branding. There are similarities, but also some important differences. Here’s what non-profits need to know about branding, based on my experience and research.

We start with “free.”
I understand that non-profits don’t have the marketing budgets of corporations so we start by leveraging every existing asset. Rather than creating new social media channels, how can we enhance the channels you’re already on? How can we repurpose your photos and videos? What are some past concepts or campaigns that could be revived with a compelling new angle? My fantastic staff and I have a knack for finding creative ways around limited budgets. For example, we’ve taken a stack of photos and turned them into a beautiful, moving slide show.


Talk to both the head and the heart.
Unlike other brands, non-profits aren’t selling a product or service; you’re selling a cause or a belief or a goal, which can sometimes be hard to define or quantify. This requires creating an emotional bond to donors, employees, and the people (or animals!) you serve. It is important to research that bond, deconstruct it, and examine it from every angle – and articulate it as your brand. As an example, see the World Wildlife Fund, which pairs its logical mission, “To conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth” with an emotional image, the giant panda.

Stay true to yourself.
As Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone point out in their recent study, non-profits run the risk of violating their own ethics or identity when they brand to a wide audience. They give the example of Acumen, which presents photos of proud, dignified individuals instead of pitiful images of poverty “which “dehumanize the very people Acumen is trying to help. I discourage branding from vanity, or because you just want a new logo. Branding is about the heart and soul of your organization and can’t be taken on and off like a shirt.

Tell a story
Storytelling was the #1 topic at SXSW and it works for non-profits as well. A strong brand is supported by good stories which allow people to connect to your mission. Brandemix helps non-profits find those stories, whether they’re about important milestones in your history, the life and deeds of your founder, or the success stories of the people you’ve helped. For example, the Sierra Club offers a blog called Explore, which features “stories of personal encounters with the natural world.” This turns large, complex issues, like hydraulic natural gas fracturing, into personal stories of triumph, wonder, and survival.

Non-profit branding is different from other types and requires a specialist. Brandemix has a history of giving back to the community by partnering with organizations such as the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island, the Legal Aid Society, and Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State Metro Services.

Non-profit  branding is a specialty. Call Brandemix if you’re looking for a specialist.

Giving Back at Thanksgiving – with Kiva

All it takes is one person to believe in you.

Organizations across America have believed in BRANDEMiX to develop branded communications that attract, educate, and engage their target audiences.

During this time of year, we feel it’s important to give thanks for that trust and to give back as well. That’s why we make regular contributions to Kiva, a nonprofit organization that enables people like you and me to extend microloans over the web to low-income entrepreneurs in impoverished communities, whether as far away as Africa or as close as Detroit and New Orleans.

We chose Kiva out of many other microlending sites because eighty percent of its recipients are women, who are sometimes single-handedly supporting large families. As a certified woman-owned business enterprise, we believe in strengthening women around the world.

No matter how difficult our lives at the moment, people are suffering far more in many places – too many – across the world. Please take the time to visit www.kiva.org and give to the worthy cause of your choice. It’s not charity; it’s a loan, and more than 98% of Kiva recipients repay the loan with interest.

Lending through Kiva creates desperately needed capital in some of the poorest parts of the globe. It bypasses corrupt governments and predatory banks and ensures that the money goes directly to those who will use it. When the loan is repaid, you can give the money to another entrepreneur, donate it to Kiva’s general fund, or simply withdraw it. It’s a great way to give.

We hope you’ll join our efforts to fight poverty around the world and here in the US. From all of us here at BRANDEMiX, happy Thanksgiving.