Mrs. Jones taught her daughters Jenny and Martha the finer art of baking and cooking. When Jenny the older daughter grew up, she opened a bakery selling extraordinary pastries and breads. When Martha was old enough to go out on her own, she began packaging and selling delicious cook at home meals. While both were successful, people loved Martha’s food so much they all but forgot about Jenny’s company even when she tried to compete with her version of take and bake breads and cookies.
While both had similar businesses, Martha focused on using organic products, naturally grown, and sourced locally to help support her community. She created a food bank for the needy, an outreach program that delivered meals to cancer patients recovering from chemo and a scholarship program for at-risk youth to grow into the food industry.
Jenny spent her marketing efforts at fancy food events, promoting her image to news outlets, and paying for magazine coverage all to the benefit of her company.
The difference between the two companies is Martha created an emotional connection that customers related to and supported.
What is Impact Branding?
Impact branding is developing an emotional connection to your business through:
- Creating a positive influence on issues that affect the world, such as environmentally friendly cleaning products, affordable housing, or eco-friendly textiles. Typically, these are items or ideas that work to resolve things that negatively impact people, communities, or the planet.
- Integrity. A business that utilizes impact branding understands the role they play in making the world a better place. They hire with an equitable mindset, and develop products and services centered around people.
- Innovation. For a few rare businesses, they invent or create products and solutions that solve the biggest issues plaguing the world such as electric cars that help reduce our carbon footprint and slow greenhouse gas production.
What is Business Outreach?
With the goal of gaining more exposure to your business, contacting another organization, individual, or adopting a cause, may influence people to support your brand. However, there are two sides of outreach to consider. While both Jenny and Martha used an outreach strategy to promote their companies, Martha worked in collaboration with others for a mutual benefit. When Jenny reached out to others, she gained exposure for her company without collaborating in an impactful way.
How do I do Impact Branding?
The best impact branding comes from the heart.
- Adopt a cause. Let’s say you, or someone you care about, lost their health insurance and suffered a life-changing accident. Now they cannot work and have bills they cannot pay.
- Resolve what you want to achieve by supporting the cause. In the case of the person with catastrophic medical bills, you could raise awareness of their plight and create a city-wide fundraiser by selling baked goods the company makes and donate a portion to their bills. This will have a positive impact on the family while getting your company exposure.
- Market. Tie your company in by letting everyone know what you are doing for a worthy cause.
How do I do a business outreach that brings me business?
Adopting a cause doesn’t necessarily mean sending $9.99 a month to find a home for all the sad and abandoned puppies and kitties you’ve probably seen advertised. Companies, by nature, must be profitable to succeed. Therefore, outreach must be looked at like a high-level advertising campaign. Outreach goals should consider the following:
- Develop recognition: Competition for gaining new customers is stiff. Pairing up with an adopted cause needs to focus on what customers can expect from your brand.
- Increase business value: Like any good two-for-one sale, buying into a great product or service and helping a cause at the same time becomes a win-win for the customer.
- Generate new customers: With a strong impression on what to expect from your company’s outreach program, word of mouth can steer customers toward your brand.
- Establish trust: People tend to trust professional looking companies with highly effective branding. Creating an emotional tie to a cause brings a sense of maturity and decency to your name.
- Evoke pride and satisfaction with your employees.
- Change buyers’ intentions: Many people will go out of their way to buy things they love or for a cause they support. Once this connection is established, a second level of advertisement can enhance how they feel about themselves for supporting your brand and its adopted cause.
- Loyalty: By gaining trust and making people feel good about your brand, a loyal following becomes second nature.
Bang for your buck:
Think big! To help one individual in need may be noble and bring recognition, you need to look further. Adopt a cause that can help many people or resolve a worldwide concern. This is a way to draw global interest to your company at little cost.
Be authentic about giving back. While being raised by a single mother, life was not always easy. Martha took the memories of times with little food and doing without to heart. This is the reason each year during the holidays her company donates food, and volunteers time feeding those in need. Giving back is her way of expressing gratitude for the success and support the world has shown.
Need more information? Paris SBDC can help you understand the best ways to do impact branding, customer outreach and how to best promote your small business. Contact Paris SBDC today!
For additional resources and more ideas on how to do your own impact branding or customer outreach, for your small business, please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – Serving Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.