How Giving Back Affects Your Business

January 8, 2019 / Dealership / 0 Comments /

Corporate responsibility is an ever-growing trend. In fact, many consumers now see it as a necessity. Giving back doesn’t just earn you good karma, it also improves the public’s perception of your business.

Whether you’re sponsoring community events or donating a portion of your profits to philanthropy, it’s important to have a strategy for charitable endeavors.

Holiday Giving at Strong

A longtime tradition at Strong Automotive Merchandising centers around yuletide giving. In lieu of expensive gift baskets and cured meats, Strong presents clients with a more meaningful holiday token.

Each year, the agency partners with Big Oak Ranch, a group home for neglected and abused children in Birmingham, Alabama. The project involves employees from around the company, banding together to purchase Christmas gifts for all of the 151 kids living there.

The process starts well before December 25. Budgets must be assembled, shopping teams created, and lists sent by the house parents. Then, there is the ordering, organizing, and photographing of each child’s gifts. It’s no small task, but the fulfillment we experience is second to none.

In doing this project, our clients’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. And that’s one of the keys to a successful corporate responsibility project. People see through fluff – no matter how well you frame it. We do this project because it is near to our hearts. In fact, one of our employee’s mother and father serve as house parents for the ranch, tying this project even closer to home. If you give back just for the glory of it, you won’t experience the same positive effects on your employees and your customers as you would with an authentic endeavor.

Promoting Good Works

Telling the world about your charitable actions isn’t bragging, it’s spreading positivity! By properly showcasing philanthropy, you can encourage others to do the same.

Scholarly research has found that stakeholders are most interested in learning about the impact of a charitable operation. So, in your promotion, focus on the human connection to what you’re doing. Also, make sure to highlight the effects of your contributions in the past. This is another area that scores well with the public’s interest.

As for which media to use, the most effective are social media, your own website, and news coverage. Customers prefer to learn about a company’s corporate responsibility initiatives from the company itself. This, along with a high level of shareability, makes social media the first place you should focus on when spreading the word. It’s casual, encourages interaction, and helps to build your brand. Adding a philanthropy page to your website as well will serve as a static resource for those learning about your company. And news coverage will help spread your brand’s name and reputation to a wider audience than you may have access to through social media alone.

However you choose to give back, the most important requisites are that you do so with authenticity and transparency. After that, you’ll have an easy story to tell.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as an account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40.” In 2018, Strong was named CEO of the Year by the BBJ. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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