Growing up, your parents may have told you that ‘no good deed goes unnoticed.’ While this principle is important for people, it is also important for business. Some organizations commit to company-wide community service days and run robust corporate volunteerism programs, while others have developed programs and initiatives focused on being a good corporate citizen.
As key players in the communities where their offices are located, building and maintaining strong and favorable relationships with ‘the neighbors’ is extremely important for businesses. When it comes time to add a new building or parking garage, you want the community on your side, even if it means they encounter a little more traffic or a slightly obstructed view. You also want the community to tout your good work to their friends and families, as it could lead to new business and increased revenue.
While businesses may partner with a local charity for their corporate giving program and they may have staff and employee volunteers that run food drives, coat drives and other charitable initiatives throughout the year, Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter, remarked at the October 2012 PRSA International Conference in San Francisco that he believes philanthropy is the future of marketing.
Stone predicts a budgetary shift that could reallocate as much as 75% of an organization’s marketing dollars to philanthropy. Noting the ‘compound impact in altruism,’ which he likened to the compound interest money earns in a bank, Stone emphasized that ‘Change is not a triumph of technology. It’s a triumph of humanity.’
Having spent a few months thinking this through, it seems ‘doing good’ could become ‘good enough’ when it comes to building brand awareness and maintaining a favorable image. The question is, what exactly does this all look like?
While Stone’s speculation is beyond intriguing, it could represent a paradigm shift in how businesses generate leads and convert prospects into customers. Think about it – could sponsoring the addition of a new wing on the local library become the new image advertising campaign? Could planting trees on the heels of wildfires become the new business growth press release? What does all of this mean for the future of social media? Do brand timelines become corporate philanthropy timelines? Will the concept of Facebook’s business milestones be redefined?
While this post inevitably raises more questions than it answers, do you think we are nearing the dawn of a new ‘marketing’? Are the actions of corporate philanthropy alone enough to increase brand awareness, cultivate relationships with prospective clients and convert qualified leads? I’d love to hear your thoughts.