When you think of philanthropy, what comes to mind? 1, 2, 3…shoot! Is it giving back more than your fair share to various charities? Or is it simply volunteering your time to a valuable cause when you don’t have the financial ability to donate? How about buying an item from a particular brand, knowing that your purchase is going to benefit someone else in the world? The answer is “D, all of the above”. Today, philanthropy has many different faces. It no longer belongs to just non-profit organizations and leading community members; it’s now a part of startup companies and world-renowned brands whose business models are becoming less about just making money and more about making a bigger impact. As the marketplace continues to get more competitive, digital marketing enables companies to achieve both of these goals.
Take a company like Krochet Kids. They are an up-and-coming lifestyle brand that has a simple mission: to empower people to rise above poverty through their “Buy A Hat Change A Life” plan. Through education, they strive to create sustainable economic development in underdeveloped countries by teaching women in Uganda how to crochet hats. By exercising this skill, the hope is that these women will be able to provide income for their families and in turn, live efficacious lives. Krochet Kids’ product––headwear, clothing, and accessories––is nothing new, but their company mission to “change a life” is what makes their merchandise completely different.
Consumers today are looking for more than just a product to buy. They want to have a human experience and know their dollar is going farther than a corporate bank account. Krochet Kids understands this and enables consumers to be a part of their vision. Each hat sold through their company has a specific signature sewn on the inside, belonging to the woman in Uganda who made that particular hat. It’s this personal connection––this humanistic appeal––that doesn’t require an advertising hitch or a crafty spin to catch your eye. The message sells itself, proving that following an altruistic belief will go farther in the end.
With a growing number of for-profit, philanthropic companies in the marketplace, digital marketing will only continue to play a crucial role in getting these organizations off the ground. In an ever-growing, inter-connected world, the Internet is a quintessential platform to have your mission heard. Companies like the Feed Foundation, Red, People Water, Worn, and OmniPeace aren’t looking for a creative advertising hook; their social message already speaks volumes. Digital marketing is more than just leveraging a product––it is about bringing to light the reason a company even exists in the first place.
Branding is no longer a little logo we wear stamped on our shirts. It now represents an entire community, a group that extends far beyond the immediate circle we live in. We should no longer consider ourselves just consumers. Instead, we are achievers, givers, and believers, all looking to do our part, no matter how small, in making this world a better place.
These companies allow each of us this opportunity, and the web enables these visions to be heard. It can take an idea and then put it in front of millions. Take KONY 2012 for example. Despite the controversy, KONY was so successful last year because it made people feel like they could be a part of something greater. Despite the world staggering at a 7 billion and growing rate, KONY impacted over 97 million viewers on YouTube since March of 2012.
So, why was it so successful?
It’s because these philanthropic-oriented companies are serving a community rather than just a consumer. Brands are now selling a feeling along with a product and looking to find the ties that bind us all together. It reminds each of us of our individual impact and that we are all capable of doing great things. Digital marketing allows communities to see their worth, and it continues to guide this world on how to become a bigger part of it all.