Can Giving Back Increase Brand Awareness?

If a company gives back to the community, environment or planet, can that increase their Brand Awareness? Will that make people buy their services? Think of them in a different light? 

It is an interesting question. If you are starting a business, is it worth supporting non-profits or patterning your business so it creates a positive impact on your community or environment?  Money is tight and time is tighter. The bills have to be paid.  

I have done an informal survey on this very issue. I asked many people, "If you have a choice between two businesses selling a similar product and Business A supports a local non-profit and Business B is just out to make money, which would you choose?  The overwhelming answer was Business A. Non-profits depend on donations and businesses that donate make a huge impact on them. These donations of money, time or resources create attention going back in the direction of the donor. Positive attention means more customers and clients and a sense of loyalty to that business. Customers are not so likely to shop elsewhere because they know when they shop in that store or buy that product online, they are contributing to something more.

In 2011, Katrina and I attended the Inc 500 Convention and Awards Ceremony. Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea and #117 on the Inc 500 list spoke about his company and their mission.  You can get their entire story on their website Seth passionately spoke about their mission to create a real bottled tea without all the sugar. He also informed the group that their teas were Fair Trade Certified. Since 2003, they have contributed over $350,000 in fair trade premiums, reinvesting in communities where their teas are sourced. The list of their contributions is impressive and their ranking on the Inc 500 was equally impressive. So does giving back increase Brand Awareness?  Well, after that convention, every time I go to buy iced tea, I now buy Honest Tea.

After leaving the Inc 500 Convention, we realized that the overwhelming theme of the fastest growing companies was to give back and have a purpose greater than money alone. So support the companies that support us all and if you have a company, start giving back and make that fact well known. Your do good actions could be contagious and have a real impact on this planet.