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How Philanthropy Facilitates a Positive Brand Image

Published on April 20, 2022, at 5:03 p.m. 
by Sydney Miner.

When deciding where to shop, many people choose companies that practice corporate social responsibility. By giving back to their communities, these brands develop authenticity and build trust with their publics. Brands such as State Bags and Sackcloth & Ashes give back to charities that matter to them, while selling products that their publics love.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

A study found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay for sustainable brands, and more specifically that 73% of global millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable brands. Through the use of philanthropy and giving back, a brand can build a good reputation while also making a difference in the community.

Corporate social responsibility is becoming a global norm that many companies are beginning to adopt. Giving back is a new standard that publics are demanding, and as time goes on, more companies will choose to promote sustainability and charities that are important to their publics.

Company philanthropy and its importance
The founders of State Bags, Scot and Jacq Tatelman, originally started a camp for children in New York City when they quickly realized that many of the campers didn’t have real bags for their belongings. They then decided to start State Bags with proceeds from every bag purchased going to supporting children and families in need.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash

Money from the bags purchased has gone to support charities and initiatives like Bottomless Closet, Seeds of Peace and Time’s Up.

“We were very bent on having a for-profit company with a very impactful and genuine mission before we even knew what type of products we were going to sell and make,” Scot Tatelman explained. “We never cared [about] just starting a business to make money; it was really starting a business to use it as a vehicle to spread love and positive impact.”

Bob Dalton, founder of Sackcloth & Ashes, started his company in 2014 after his mother experienced homelessness. Dalton explained that “through her experience of being on the streets, it inspired me to actually do something about homelessness.” He then “started to call homeless shelters and ask what they needed, and they all said blankets.”

Sackcloth & Ashes uses the “one-for-one” model to provide a blanket to a shelter for every blanket purchased. Its initiative is unique in that each donated blanket will go back to the community of the consumer. If someone purchases a blanket in Birmingham, Alabama, for example, then the blanket donated will go to a homeless shelter in that city.

Giving back and creating a positive image
Through giving back to different communities, State Bags and Sackcloth & Ashes have created and maintained positive brand images. A study revealed that nine-in-10 millennials reported that they would switch to brands that are associated with a cause.

“I think people feel really good about the fact that they are putting their hard-earned money toward a company that is very real and true about what they do,” Tatelman said.

Dalton underscored the importance of philanthropy for a brand, stating that “if you don’t have some sort of way you are contributing as a brand, then consumers are not wanting to shop with your brand.” He asserted that “there needs to be a deeper purpose.”

Photo by Jack Church on Unsplash

Strengthening the relationship with publics through philanthropy
In creating authentic and trustworthy brands, these companies are able to create deeper, longer-lasting relationships with their customers. A study reported that 55% of consumers stated that it was important for companies to take a stand on social, environmental or political issues.

By purchasing from companies that give back to communities, people are able to contribute to society with their purchases. “I think we’re moving out of a time where people are labeled as consumers, and people want to be contributors,” Dalton explained.

Since the pandemic, Dalton said, “there’s a massive generation of people now that would rather contribute with every purchase, than just purely consuming.”

Similarly, Tatelman believes that the people who buy from State Bags feel proud to shop at a company that gives back. In order to maintain a positive relationship with the organization’s publics, he said, “we just always try and be as real and authentic as possible because that is in turn good for our business, and never straying from that.”

Giving back is a responsibility that many people are now expecting from the brands they support. Through transparency and authenticity, companies are able to not only make positive changes in the world but also create products that their followers can love in good conscience.

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