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Posts Tagged ‘Brand Awareness’

One of the nicest things about working at Holy Cow Branding is the flexible schedule.  If I want to leave at 4:30 to get a haircut, that is when I leave.  If I wake up early, and am ready to work, I come to the office.

That was the plan anyway.

I was so engrossed in setting up Facebook Insights for Chile Bomba that I completely lost track of time and didn’t leave until 5:30.  If I had realized it was that late, I wouldn’t have even tried to get the haircut.    When I finally made it to Sport Clips, there were a few guys ahead of me, and I was told it would be about 30 minutes.  At the check in, Sabrina, told me that if I wanted to go get a coffee at Starbucks, I would have enough time.  She even offered to call me on my cell when it was close to my turn.

With time to kill, I headed to the Harris Teeter, to get some food stuffs.  On the way thru Kameron’s check-out line I used my KeyRing App to get my reward prices.  After the usual 30 seconds of blindly staring at the receipt with the only purpose being to look like I am doing something smart, I actually do find an error.  This is an amazing feat due to the complexity that is the grocery store receipt.  Good reporting tip, it doesn’t matter how hard it is to decipher the data as long as there is one number at the bottom that says you are winning.

I went back to the cashier and he apologized and told me to take it to his manager at the customer service desk.  When I first looked in that direction I saw no one, it was a ghost town, and before I was 10 feet from the counter there she was.  The manager person, Alva, appeared from thin air, maybe not thin air, she was helping another customer.  It only took her one look at the receipt to see the error and make the correction.

Ordinarily I would not have wasted the time to make the correction, but I had time to kill and I was rewarded for it.  I got $1.87 back in cash!  (Who knew pears were so expensive) And I had that weird feeling that while the world seems like a dismal place, my neighborhood was doing all right.

After stashing the produce in the trunk of my car I made my way back to Sport Clips and as soon as I walked in am told I had great timing and that I was next.  She even remembered my name! What great customer service!

Now, fueled with a sense of community, I pull out my note pad and start writing about this whole experience.  Of course, before I get much done I am being called up.  We have the usual idle chit chat and she asked what I was working on.  I told her it was a blog article about customer service.  I am not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was an exceptional haircut.

Post Script

Cara, the hair cutter, actually knows enough about sports to foster that feeling of the barber shop and we had a lively conversation about the National League Central division.  She is a Milwaukee Brewer’s Fan, and I am a Chicago Cubs Fan.  The next day the Brewers beat the Cubs in 13 innings.  At least I got a good haircut, and there is always next year.

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What does corporate citizenship mean to you? Does it mean having an employee volunteer day every now and then? Donating a portion of profits to a designated charity? Or do you hold a much broader definition of what it means to be a good corporate citizen?

In today’s world, it is no longer enough for companies to pay lip service to the community through half-hearted efforts to become involved. Consumers, and your employees, want to know that you are dedicated to making the community that you serve better, whether that community is large or small.

The goal of any corporate citizenship effort should be to create a long-term, ongoing relationship with a cause in your community. The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship lays out four principles of what they believe is the essence of corporate citizenship. They say corporate citizenship efforts should:

• Minimize harm the harm of your business activities on stakeholders, including employees, customers, communities, ecosystems, shareholders, and suppliers

• Maximize benefit by contributing to societal and economic well-being by investing resources in activities that benefit the community you serve

• Be accountable and responsive to key stakeholders by building trusting relationships with your primary audiences and being transparent and open to them about your business activities

• Support strong financial results because you have an obligation to yourself to run a successful business as well as serving your community

    Peter Sands, group chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank, also has some that he uses to judge with which corporate citizenship efforts to become involved. He says that the task you choose to take on should be “relevant to the markets a company operates in; leverage a company’s competencies and infrastructure; have the potential to extend existing business lines or become a new business; and offer an opportunity to make a distinctive impact.”

    My favorite corporate citizenship effort is the (PRODUCT)RED campaign that was started by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006. The goal of this campaign is to fight AIDS in Africa by donating money to The Global Fund which, in turn, invests the money in African AIDS programs directed at women and children. This campaign does not ask its corporate partners to donate a set amount of money to PRODUCT(RED) which then passes the money onto The Global Fund. Instead, PRODUCT(RED) asks their corporate partners to create special products that bear either the color red or the (RED) logo and donate up to 50% of the profits from the sale of those items. Current PRODUCT(RED) partners include Gap, Motorola, Emporio Armani, Dell, Microsoft, Apple, and Hallmark.

    PRODUCT(RED) does not take a cut of the money and has, to date, donated $60 million to The Global Fund. This effort is different than traditional corporate citizenship efforts because it asks companies to build charity into their profit stream, rather than asking them to take money out to donate to charity.

    Corporate citizenship is incredibly important to our company philosophy. We have worked with a variety of local charitable organizations to help them create new and engaging corporate identities. Most recently, we worked with the Me Fine Foundation creating a new corporate identity package to coordinate with their newly designed website. We have also worked to help them build additional relationships within the community, increasing awareness of their cause. We are now working with the Achievement Academy of Durham to redesign their corporate identity and provide marketing support to help them build brand awareness in the community to secure donations from local corporations.

    Whatever cause you choose to pursue, make sure you choose something about which you are passionate and that is a good fit for your business. Don’t try to be something you’re not or try to overextend your resources by tackling projects that don’t fit with your business model. By taking on corporate citizenship efforts that fit with how you see yourself as a company, not only are you giving back, you help to strengthen your brand identity in the community you serve.

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