As we head full swing into 2017, companies are designating dollars to their business objectives and busily planning out their education marketing strategy. This year, companies face the additional uncertainty that comes with a new president and secretary of education. EdTech CMOs and marketing managers are under extra pressure to act nimbly with their company’s brand messaging and education marketing strategy as new education policies are put into play. In times of uncertainty, it’s especially important to focus your attention on smart, effective strategies that protect your brand.
Over the past 20 years, the concept of giving has been turned on its head, moving beyond nonprofits all vying for the same donor dollars. Not only have nationwide annual events like “Giving Tuesday” emerged in recent years, but companies like TOMS and Warby Parker have illustrated that giving can be a fundamental component of a company’s business model. People – as both consumers and employees – are becoming more conscious of how their dollars impact the world around them.
That said, an organization doesn’t need to have a “One for One” business model to gain a loyal following. Companies that do well while doing good have earned avid customers, partners and employees because of the following key reasons:
1. Giving reinforces brand messaging and culture
Employees care about how they are spending their time, and want to be part of an organization that cares about more than the bottom line. This is why many business people are drawn to the EdTech space, whether they were formerly an educator, are related to a person with a learning disability, or are simply invested in seeing a brighter future.
However, it’s not enough to say that your company is a mission-driven organization. Almost any company will make this claim. The companies that actively find ways to give back to those in their industry and local community are the organizations that attract and retain successful employees. When giving becomes a part of your company culture, your actions are in line with your messaging, and your credibility as an organization soars. There is a pride swell that happens with everyone who associates with your company.
2. Giving furthers company visibility
Beyond employee satisfaction, giving can make your brand more recognizable to potential customers and industry thought leaders. Find smart ways to collaborate with a like-minded, mission-driven organization to cross-promote the work that you are accomplishing together. A strategic and deliberate combination of regular news announcements, promotions, speaking engagements and digital marketing will heighten the visibility of both of your organizations.
John D. Rockefeller, a business magnate and philanthropist put it bluntly: “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.”
If your organization is already giving back, make sure you are following Rockefeller’s advice, because reason three is equally important.
3. Giving builds an insurance policy
All companies are destined to have small—and occasionally very large— public hiccups. It’s important to be prepared with a plan in order to prevent, minimize and recover from inevitable dilemmas that could seriously harm an organization’s reputation, employee retention and recruitment, and ultimately, its sales.
Companies that invest in philanthropy efforts proactively (rather than after disaster strikes) create a social equity within their community and industry. When something goes wrong, the organization’s audiences are more likely to be sympathetic if they know that the company is credible and has good intentions.
So while you’re planning out your year of conferences, email newsletters and company announcements, take a moment to consider how you might build upon your current giving initiatives, or strategize how to allocate that remaining marketing budget in a way that helps grow brand advocacy, visibility and your company’s forgiveness piggy bank.
If you’re not sure where to start with your education marketing strategy, we’re here to help.