Cause Branding Digest, October 6, 2015


Does Doing Good Do Good for Your Brand?
(Forbes, 04.10.15)

In November 2005, New Orleans was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. Homes were uninhabitable, electricity was unreliable, and most people still lacked a permanent address, let alone the appliances necessary to clean the clothes on their backs. That’s when Tide showed up with a fleet of Whirlpool washers and dryers, offering free laundry service for families in need.


Millennials Enjoy Tying Vacation to Philanthropy
(MediaPost, 02.10.15)

Millennials are more generous with their time, money, and donations than any other generation, according to a recent study on travel and philanthropy. New data shows that 81% volunteered, 78% donated cash and 83% gave in-kind during their most meaningful trip from the last two years.


Prepare for Holiday Retail Success by Starting Your Charitable Plan Now
(Small Business Trends, 29.09.15)

Do you know what holiday charitable events and causes your small retail store will be participating in this season? Your big competitors do.


The High Cost of Marketing Follow-up Failure
(New York Business Journal, 02.09.15)

One of the passions we share is helping nonprofit organizations, and the reason we were meeting was to brainstorm on how we could combine our efforts to make more of a difference when working with nonprofits. We both feel like we could do more.


“I start by getting a sense of what I want them to feel when they’re done hearing from me—what I want them to feel, not hear me say.” —Charlie Shimanski


Corporate Branding Digest, Dec. 2, 2014


The Secrets to Successful Networking from the Most Connected Women
(Fast Company, 20.11.14)

Ten successful women share how they’ve mastered the art of meaningful networking.


Measuring the Impact of Your Pro Bono Program
(Forbes, 14.11.14)

Just because this year’s Pro Bono Week is behind us doesn’t mean that corporate volunteer leaders should shift their attention from pro bono service. Indeed, this form of employee volunteering has become so effective and popular that, for the first time, a study is underway to standardize reporting and document the value of pro bono service to communities and companies.


Leadership in Liminal Times
(Harvard Business Review, 10.10.14)

Leaders have always shown their mettle in times of liminality. The term comes from Arnold van Gennep, the Belgian anthropologist who first outlined the common patterns in how cultures mark transitions from one human state to another (for example, from adolescence to adulthood). In his 1909 book The Rites of Passage he described three stages of separation from one world and entry into another. The liminal (or threshold) stage is central.


The Secret to an Engaged Workforce and a Gossip-Free Office
(Entrepreneur, 05.08.14)

Disengagement has become an epidemic in the workplace. Caused by office politics, goal misalignment and managers who hobble employee growth rather than help, there’s no denying our people often struggle to stay engaged. In fact, a 2013 study by Gallup discovered 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged on the job.


“A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That’s where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.” —Robert Kiyosaki


The 12 Days of Havas

On Dec. 12, Havas PR will launch its new publishing wing, 120M Books, with its first e-book, What’s Next? What to Expect in 2013. To celebrate, Havas PR is launching the 12 Days of Havas, an initiative for which staff will donate time to a different charitable organization every day for 12 straight days leading up to the launch. Jay Williams, vice president at Havas PR and the creative genius behind the 12 Days of Havas, sat down to talk about his inspiration for the program, what he hopes it will accomplish and the true meaning of the holiday season.

Q: What exactly is the 12 Days of Havas?
Jay Williams:
The program is a fun play on the Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” During the 12 Days of Havas, we are working with a new charitable organization each day and donating our time and industry skills to assist them with whatever they need. It’s great because it allows us to give back during the holiday season—which is all about giving—and ramps up anticipation for the launch of 120M Books, a huge step for Havas PR.

It’s also an opportunity for us as an agency to show our creative thinking and our capabilities from a corporate social responsibility perspective. It aligns well with #GivingTuesday, too, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which the agency has really jumped behind. We even used that as our kickoff day for this initiative. Plus, we’ve recently rebranded, so it’s a great way to highlight the ingenuity and collaborative nature of our agency while doing something good for those around us.

Q: What was your inspiration?
JW:
December is a time for giving; the year is winding down and I think a lot of us reflect on how lucky we’ve been and what the year has looked like. I was thinking about how we can all give back and show the world the caliber of people we have at this agency. There is a lot of need out there, and I know I stop and think about ways in which I can ease some of that need, even just a little. So my thought process was, Why don’t we do a PR marathon that really gives back? Leading up to the launch of the e-book, I want to remind people that we are the kind of agency that cares about those around us who need a little help. We’re also the kind of agency that has creative ideas like this. And we are all part of the thought process behind 120M Books, so why not do something that truly demonstrates who we are in the lead-up to that?

So I was sitting at my desk and thinking about the time of the year, and the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” jumped into my head. Then I thought about 12/12/12, the launch date of 120M Books. After a tangent about astronomy (don’t ask), I came back to the idea of the song and realized how appropriate it is, because it is about giving. A spin on that works so well, because our creative thinking is our gift.

Q: What do you hope the 12 Days of Havas will accomplish?
JW:
I just hope that it helps. The charities we’re working with have just been so appreciative you wouldn’t even believe it. These are great organizations, but they don’t always have the Madison Avenue level of communications support. In general, most charitable groups need better media resources and strategic planning. Our role in this is to be able to help the organizations we’ve chosen with some real communications expertise and backing, and we’re ready to jump in where they need us most.

We have a track record with some of these organizations already, so we already understand some of their needs and it’s clear from our conversations with them that they really need the help. They have amazing news and amazing goals, but they don’t always have the capabilities to go about spreading the news and getting their message heard. As a New York PR agency, we sometimes take for granted everything we’re able to accomplish, whether it’s putting together a social media campaign on the fly or getting our clients on national talk shows. Working with these groups really puts it all into perspective.

Q: How will Havas PR assist these organizations?
JW:
We’ll do everything from volunteer work on the ground, like local support for Hurricane Sandy relief, to strategic programming for events, social media strategy and training, brainstorming, and campaign ideation. We’re going to help these groups secure donations, come up with long-term strategies and do media outreach for any events they are having in the near future.

Q: The mix of charities is so diverse. Why were these 12 groups selected?
JW:
The best part of the initiative is that these charities ring true to Havas PR’s value of Future First, because doing good helps create a better future. There are some that we’ve had relationships with in the past, mixed with some new ones that are near and dear to the hearts of staff members. So it’s cool, because we’re throwing a whole personal dimension into this project. The list of charities ranges from Ronald McDonald House (helping needy children) to City Harvest (working to solve hunger) to GMHC (disease education and prevention). A great thing about working with 12 charities is that we can cover a lot of different causes, and we’ve done a very good job of that.

Q: How has the 12 Days of Havas affected the agency?
JW:
Everyone has gotten really into it and is very excited about being able to use their professional talents in such an amazing way. It has also been a great opportunity for us to work with members of the agency whom we don’t always get to collaborate with. We’re seeing different sides of our colleagues that we haven’t before, and we get to see what some of their outside-of-work interests are and what causes they are passionate about. We’ve also made connections with new organizations that hopefully will blossom into strong relationships down the line.

There are so many charities out there that need us, and we can help. It’s not every day that a company volunteers its individual services. Anyone can go give a few dollars to charity, but really taking the time and donating your strengths—I think that makes the biggest difference. In the end, the 12 Days of Havas is how our agency volunteers with our hearts and our minds.

[photo: creativecommons.org/Tim Green aka atoach]

Pen Pals of the Future

When I was young, I always wanted a pen pal. I used to exchange letters with my cousin, but it didn’t really have the same excitement factor as having a pen pal you’ve never met.

Maybe that’s why last year when my friend told me about a pen pal–based reading mentor program, I was sold. He explained that the program, In2Books, was a truly innovative online approach to volunteering.

In2Books is a literacy-based mentoring program that connects adult volunteers with students from third-, fourth- or fifth-grade classes in under-resourced communities.

Throughout the school year, students and their adult pen pals read five books together and exchange ideas about them through a series of online letters. The program encourages kids to think analytically, examine the books they’re reading and hone their computer skills.

When In2Books began in 1998, it was made up of just 10 classrooms in Washington, D.C. Now, more than a decade after its founding, the program has grown to 200-plus classrooms across the United States.

Last year I had a fourth-grade pen pal named Lesley, and this year I’ll be reading with a fifth-grader named Javis. Teachers say the kids are incredibly excited to receive letters from their pen pals, but I’ll admit that I am always pretty excited to get my letters, too!

Every letter is exchanged on the In2Books platform and the teacher reviews each one before a student receives it. This ensures that kids are introduced to the online world within a monitored, safe environment.

A lot of people tend to think that today’s technology is pushing kids further away from reading, but In2Books is a program that truly shows how traditional reading skills and the use of technology can go hand in hand.