Practice or Philosophy10/30/2012
Many businesses claim to be committed to a particular segment of society, a cause or organization. For example the NFL says it is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles for kids. Is this something they practice or is it more of a philosophy? In the case of the NFL it seems it is definitely something they practice, both as a League and as individual Teams. The "Play 60" commercials are aired regularly on national television, the commercial has NFL players interacting with young children and encouraging them to play for 60 minutes a day. Individual Teams also have their own campaigns supporting the health of American Children. The NFL may be an exemplary example; however there are companies that give lip service to their associations and promotions using them strictly as a marketing ploy. I believe the average consumer can see the difference.
If your business claims to support or promote a worthy cause or program, is it done in practice or simply as a philosophy? It is easy to say you support the National Cancer Society but do you and your business contribute, fund raise and publicly promote the organization? If not, I think your customers will notice.
Claiming to support or promote a worthy cause is simple and may appear to be an easy way to build good will with customers, but unless the claim is backed by action it can actually harm your business reputation. Think of it this way. You tell your neighbors you are committed to helping the elderly handicapped person next door stay in their home; your neighbors immediately think you are a pretty good guy for doing so. But after a snow storm you scoop your own drive and watch while the elderly neighbor struggles to clear theirs. How many of your neighbors will maintain a good impression of you?
We have all seen commercials where a business promotes itself by mentioning that a contribution will be made to a worthy cause each time one of their products is purchased. As consumers we appreciate the corporate philanthropy but if we found out that the business didn’t follow through on its promise to help the worthy cause it could permanently stain an otherwise stellar corporate image.
Supporting a worthy cause can create goodwill for a business and help to build and establish a favorable businesses image. But more importantly, if the support is genuine, a worthy cause will benefit as well.