This week, the one airline brand is ripping across headlines, and not the way their PR firm would hope. Video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight has gone viral provoking anger and a nosedive in stock value.
Now, if I asked you which company you’d be excited about working for, United Airlines or Denver’s love-boat-by-sky, Southwest Airlines, who would you choose?
And the next time you find yourself on an over-booked flight, which airline do you hope you’ve purchased from?
Again, it’s obvious.
Not to get too deep into that situation, but maybe it’s situations like this, maybe it’s the fun flight attendant jokes or the lovely hearts depicted all over their planes, but there’s a reason more and more American’s are booking with Southwest over United.
Because branding matters.
The internal culture of a company and its interaction with customers – it’s brand – are vital parts of the decision making process whether as professionals seeking opportunity or customers seeking solutions. Because buying decisions are often self-defining ones, creating a great brand is vital for every business.
The question then becomes, how do you practically create a brand people want?
Well, let’s start with not choosing a random paying customer to rip out of their seat and drag them in front of hundreds of fellow, smart-phone-enabled patrons, but you knew that already. Beyond that, there is one very powerful driver in today’s marketplace.
It has several variants – corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, socially conscious branding, corporate citizenship – but the marketplace wants a more than a useable product.
Consumers and professionals alike are seeking to align themselves with brands that give back.
This has driven an increase in investment in cause marketing. Cause marketing is the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.
Infographic courtesy of Jacqueline Wolven
This is more than simply writing a check and slapping a logo on someone else’s website. Companies embracing the market’s social responsibility demands are finding ways to leverage their time, resources, and skills to further the work of cause organizations while capturing it to make sure customers know how much they value the community they work in. The impact is real and the marketing content powerful.
The benefits of cause marketing can’t be ignored.
1. New Audience Exposure & Credibility
It’s almost like a word of mouth endorsement. When your organization is seen in the community working with a trusted organization, you have a near instant connection with that organization’s stakeholders. They already appreciate you because they know you’ve helped a “friend” of theirs – their beloved non-profit.
2. Happy Employees, Happy Life
Studies show that companies with a firm commitment to community involvement and volunteerism have more engaged employees and are more able to recruit talented applicants – especially millennials. This kind of engaged employee leads to greater productivity and company loyalty, making staff turnover and team conflict ancient memories.
3. Pursuing Public Value Has A Long-Term Return
Getting involved means your company is actively working to create a safer, healthier, and more productive city around you. When you neighbors – who have the same dreams of success – thrive, it lifts up every industry from education to commerce. Whether you’re a salon or contractor or investor, a vibrant economy around you leads to more opportunity, not less.
4. Doing Good is… Great
It’s simple and we all know it: doing good, helping others, focusing on the long-term impact, is a really good thing we need to do more of. It’s like a hot coffee on Monday morning, or spring trees in full bloom, or the Denver Broncos in the playoffs. It’s just right, true, and good. Seriously though, making a difference for someone else is worth the small sacrifices. When a business makes the decision to be involved, they’re usually able to produce social benefits far surpassing that of a single donor.
By participating in something like this, you’re connecting with people who share your values while you and your staff get to contribute to something larger than the day-to-day. It’s a win for you and a win for all of us.
To learn more about how you can get your business involved in the community and benefit from cause marketing, reach out to us. We love connecting groups to our non-profits and we love seeing brands climb the revenue rankings like Southwest.