Demonstrating brand values through action

Last week, one of my colleagues critiqued several brands that have recently attempted (some successfully, others not so much) to meet the increasing expectations consumers have for corporate social responsibility. Her article was an excellent take on how to create authentic marketing messages that show solidarity with specific causes. However, communicating brand values is only the first piece of the puzzle—what’s even more important is how your brand demonstrates a sustained commitment to those values through consistent and impactful action.

Grafik has been in business for almost 40 years now, but we still revisit our community outreach initiatives regularly to make sure we’re authentically demonstrating our values. About a month ago, our internal brand team held a brainstorming session to discuss ways we can more consistently leverage the skills, talent, and passion of our people to make an impact—and, ideally, have fun in the process.

The team came up with a ton of ideas, ranging from organizing volunteer efforts for various local charities to participating in fundraising initiatives. As we struggled to choose the best one, we arrived at a simple proposition: “why not do all of them?” We decided to form a social responsibility committee to plan at least one special initiative per quarter. This committee will ask everyone in the agency to submit their community outreach ideas at the beginning of each quarter, and then let everyone vote on what they feel is The Right Idea™ for Grafik.

As a proof of concept, the committee decided to promote agency-wide participation in Red Nose Day, a global movement that generates awareness and fundraising for kids in need. The first Red Nose Day was held in 1988, and has since raised over $1B globally to help end childhood poverty. We sprung into action by organizing a team fundraising page, helping Grafik employees create individual fundraising pages, designing Red Nose Day t-shirts, and developing a social media strategy to boost awareness.

To-date, we’ve raised $4K towards our team goal of $5K. We hope all of our partners will join us on Thursday, May 25 to make a difference in the world through participation and by giving whatever you can to support this wonderful cause!

Next month, Grafik’s social responsibility committee plans to review lessons learned from Red Nose Day as we welcome input from the rest of the staff on what our next cause should be. As with any organization, Grafik employs people with a wide range of interests and passions, and we believe it’s important to authentically reflect those through our actions.

Struggling to decide which causes your own brand should be supporting? Consider polling your employees, or even your customers. A recent Nielsen study indicated that 66% of respondents to a recent survey say they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Demonstrating corporate social responsibility is no longer an option; it’s an understood best practice for brands that want to win the hearts and minds of current and prospective consumers of any age.

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