Philanthropy and charity are key ingredients to humanizing a brand. However, it has to be real and truthful or else it won’t be effective. The best way to be truthful is by aligning with an initiative that directly benefits the company itself. I know, it sounds antithetical, but it really isn’t. The reason it’s not a bad move is simple.
When a company aligns with an initiative the benefits its own interests, then the reason behind the philanthropy is obvious to the market. That doesn’t mean it’s not as important, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The people quickly see that you are TRULY behind the initiative and aren’t just using it as a ploy. Therefore, they too can get involved for their own reasons without feeling like the company is benefiting directly from them.
Brand citizens are eternally wary of the corporations that exist. They don’t want to be sold. They want to make their own decisions based on the facts. It’s their choice and they know it. Therefore, when a brand is more transparent with it’s operations people tend to flock towards it.
One such example of a charitable intiative that benefits the brand is Haagen-Dazs’ Help the Honey Bee campaign. Not only have they put out a honey flavored vanilla ice cream (which is super yummy), but they have actively built an awareness website and developed multiple ways for folks to get behind the cause.
They benefit because of honey bees’ pollination and natural sweetner manufacturing. The world benefits because we need bees and they are disappearing! It works hand in hand, and everyone wins, including the brand Haagen Dazs.