Why Giving Back is Good for Business
Why Giving Back is Good for Business
CAMPAIGN: CBRE Communities and Giving
Published by Sarah Fisher
Cause Marketing: “A relationship that bridges commerce and cause in ways that benefit both parties.”
According to a Social Impact Study by Cone Communications, 89% of consumers say they are very likely to switch from one brand to another that is associated with a good cause. And when price and quality are almost the same, nearly the entire population would opt for the brand associated with a cause. With that said: If you were lined up next to a similar Class and priced office building down the street, how would you stack up?
CRE organizations are just starting to really reap the benefits of Cause Marketing (supporting a non-profit or socially responsible cause where both parties cross-promote the relationship for mutual benefit). For a long time, it’s been all about sustainability and green initiatives. Which is great, but often not something that constituents can get actively involved in. The added benefit of many cause marketing initiatives is that they tangibly tie your building, team and tenants to the local communities in which they live and work.
First let’s start with the common misconceptions:
- “You can just write a check and be done with it.” The whole idea is to get people involved in the experience.
- “Cause Marketing (CM) is just for B-to-C companies.” CM is for any organization that wants to attract and retain customers. Yes, GAP did an amazing job with its Product (Red) campaign and entire brands like TOM’s and Warby Parker have popped up with a mission to donate 1-1 for every purchase. But many stand-out companies that don’t sell a “product” have developed Corporate Responsibility Programs.
- “You need a lot of resources to start a cause marketing program.” False. See Below.
Establishing Your Program:
There are basically four simple components to any good Cause Marketing Program.
First, pick an organization that you believe in and that relates to your CRE business in some way. For example, maybe it’s an organization focused on providing housing for families in need (see the CBRE example below) or utilizes some of your vacant space for a good cause (See the Forest City example below).
Second, don’t make it all about the Benjamin’s. The best thing you can do is to get your team and tenants involved. It will foster stronger relationships with all your constituents and the organization that you are supporting.
Third, create a plan for joint promotion. Does the organization you’re supporting have a newsletter they can mention you in?
And finally, define at least one marketing campaign to push the partnership. Maybe you need to provide some education and encouragement to people may have otherwise never heard of the cause you are supporting. Or maybe you publish a Corporate Responsibility Report each year.
Some Examples from the CRE Companies Who are Getting it Right:
Cushman and Wakefield
Make Room for Corporate Responsibility on Your Website
Cushman and Wakefield established its own registered charity, Schools Around the World (SATW), which partners with schools wherever C&W operates and aims to help young people who are limited by their domestic, social or financial circumstances. They prominently communicate their social and community objectives on the “About Us” section of their website. Not every organization has the same resources as C&W at their disposal, but if you do already have a website, it will cost you virtually nothing to add a section on Corporate Responsibility (of course, that would require you to define your program first!).
“We are committed to the communities in which we live and work. We understand the impacts we create on the local community in the everyday running of our business.“
CBRE is focused on improving housing opportunities for those in need (their signature program is Birthday Cakes and More for Homeless Children) and donated $8M in employee and CBRE charitable contributions in 2013. CBRE Cares is the company’s corporate giving and volunteerism arm in the U.S.
What sets CBRE’s program apart is a modern and social communication style. While they do publish an annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report, they also create an Infographic Version for easy consumption (because what tenants are actually going to read the full report, let’s be honest). They also have a separate and active Twitter Account for CBRE Cares.