AUCKLAND, New Zealand: When an organisation (or individual) stands for something, they demonstrate a unique purpose that takes them beyond ‘just another business’ and into the realm of purpose-driven business–it shows that you care.
To stand for something goes beyond corporate social responsibility and into an area that, in some ways, can help define your brand.
For example, DHL’s sponsorship of Surf Lifesaving NZ by DHL is excellent and significant, but their association does not define the DHL brand. It’s corporate social responsibility.
A few years ago, Westforce Credit Union undertook a programme to deliver financial literacy to children, particularly those from a lower socio-economic background. This took money, time, effort and a level of care that goes beyond a sponsorship. By the same token, the brand fit was good because credit unions were established to serve their communities.
When you stand for something, you give your organisation a voice that helps differentiate you from other organisations and ensures that your public relations efforts are better received by the media.
The brand building happens by association. We know from the science that people want to do business with those organisations that make a difference.
By standing for something, you will have people who identify with you; of course, there will be those who do not. However, the people who identify with you will be more loyal and qualified as customers because you share their values and worldviews.
What does it mean to stand for something, and how is it done?
Associate your brand with a public relations positioning that is brand-aligned and champions the communities or target audiences that you serve, like the credit union did with financial literacy for children.
When you do this, you are not just after ‘eyeballs’ as much as you are after ‘hearts and minds’.
A few years ago, the ALWAYS brand of sanitary products, whose target market is young girls and women, ran a campaign called #LikeAGirl. The documentary-type messaging revealed how the common expression “run like a girl” or “throw like a girl” for ‘fight like a girl” was not only untrue, it was demeaning and contributing to damaging self-confidence at an age when girls suffer their biggest plunge in self-esteem compared to boys.
ALWAYS regained its market leadership by championing its audience.
This approach takes your public relations messaging beyond self-interest, which only addresses the problems your brand helps solve. It puts your business front and centre, and it demonstrates that you care and that you stand for something with which your audience can identify.
Brand awareness and market education will take care of themselves.