These days, you hear it about it in every business magazine, podcast, and website around: conscious capitalism. Thanks to Tom’s Shoes the 1-for-1 model is firmly ingrained in business culture. Companies like Starbucks have expanded employee benefits far beyond any similar retailer before them. Panera Bread donates all leftover baked goods to food banks and local charities. Now with the advent of B-corporations it’s become a tax status. And why not?! Charitable giving creates engaged employees and loyal customers. If you can find a company that doesn’t need either of those things send me an email and I’ll resign. From life.
I work for a 75-person company that makes sports supplements for bodybuilders. That’s right: big dudes are my brand’s demo, (check us out at iammutant.com). My own personal cause is animal welfare, specifically dog rescues, so I wanted to do something positive for a rescue through my company. This post is about how I made it happen, and how YOU can use this same model to promote something positive through your own organization. (Note: I’ve provided a helpful little checklist for you at the end.)
Our customers are all about big muscles and big weights. The point is they are all about size! A poodle rescue wouldn’t have made sense… but a PIT BULL rescue was a perfect fit. We found one that had a very good social media presence too: The New York Bully Crew. (Newyorkbullycrew.org)
I lead a team of five in my current role, but for an initiative like this I still needed approval from the next level up. So I had to “pitch” the concept and campaign. No problem. All I had to do was sell this as a marketing initiative, not charity. What we would do is create a co-branded tee-shirt that we could sell on our website, with all of the proceeds being donated to the rescue. Yes, we would have an initial cost layout but would recoup most of it when the shirts were sold. In other words, the donation we would ultimately make to the rescue would actually be coming from our brand’s fans, we were simply the vehicle for the fundraising.
We would pump up the whole thing through video and social media posts. Then when we sold through the shirts and were ready to make the actual donation we would use our social media to tell everyone about it. Yes, doing something good is good. But doing something good and telling everyone about it (while walking the fine line of bragging), is MARKETING. It looks great for the company and feels warm and fuzzy for the employees. My superior gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up and I moved forward.
We had one of our super-skilled graphic designers come up with the shirt concept and ordered 350 of them. They looked amazing! We listed them on our website for $24.99, and then spread the word. We have a very substantial social media following:
80k on Instagram, 400,000 on Facebook, and 210,000 on YouTube. We created and shared a variety of imagery and short video clips featuring the tee. In the posts we made it clear that the proceeds from the sales were going to a dog rescue, and this product was not-for-profit.
The response was overwhelmingly positive! People were very supportive of the cause, and very vocal about their appreciation for what we were doing. We sold through the bulk of the shirts in about 3 months, with another 2 months for the odd-sizes and leftovers.
The Brag (I mean… The Marketing)
Up next was the most rewarding part of the whole experience: getting the check cut and delivering it to the shelter. One of our celebrity endorsers, Ron Partlow, is also a big animal advocate. Ron and I flew to New York with our giant novelty check in hand. We toured the facility, met all the interesting characters there, and helped out with some of the dogs. We took lots of pictures and most importantly, shot a video of the entire experience. Watch it below.
At the end we presented a check for $5000 USD to the New York Bully Crew. It felt amazing and we were thrilled we could help. And the promise to my superior about marketing? Here’s the content we were able to source:
- 5 Instagram image posts
- 1 Instagram tzr video
- 1 x 8-minute video (shared on Youtube + Facebook. Facebook traffic directed to our website).
- Blog post about the experience
This is a content play, no doubt about that, so we squeezed as much out of it as we could. Over the next couple of months we’ll roll out more, but the above was the initial week-1 burst.
With some rough math on the numbers, our results (from the first 7 days) are the following:
- 200,000 impressions
- 8,000 views on Youtube
- 1000 direct link clicks to website from posts (Facebook)
*The above does not include impressions from shares or reposts, which are considerable.
More important than the stats though are the comments we received, (yes, I realize this is qualitative data, but it’s still important!) These demonstrate the brand-building and loyalty effect a charity initiative can have; Turning average customers into loyal fans.
Scott Ryan: Awesome video! Great to see MUTANT involved in the community. Says a lot about the character of the company.
Mike Florio: This is amazing! You guys fu$*ing rock!
L schotbo: Awesome show guys, keep up the great work!
Eric 2jz: Good to see a different side of Mutant. Fuckin awesome vid.
oOalchemistOo: loving the shirts! Great video guys!
Rneem93: awesome stuff guys, much respect for supporting pitbull rescues. Keep up the good work fellas
Kevin Donoghue: This is why I love Mutant
Shane Tucker: I’m a huge animal lover, and will be buying one of these shirts. Mutant rocks!!
Klaus Myren Riis: I love what Mutant is doing here. Support the big dogs, it’s all about showing love and they will give it back as well!
Brent Schmitt: That was great. Nice to see the break in so called stereotyping of pitbulls and bodybuilders. Appreciate the mutant family that much more.
Matt Regan: A very rewarding relationship for Mutant and an incredible group of people down there at New York Bully Crew.
Shane Morton: You just got my support! As a proud owner of a rescue pittie, I feel very passionate about this!! Kudos Mutant!!!
Jordi Martinez Zafra: Mutant guys are huge, not just physically but with initiatives like this they show the world that they have giant values to match the size of their hearts. Respect!
Want to try something like this with YOUR company? Here’s my very basic checklist of how to get it done:
- Find a cause that aligns with your products.
- Pitch it to your superiors as Marketing, NOT charity.
- Pick a fundraising vehicle that fits within your business model.
- When you’ve completed your goal, TELL EVERYBODY!
If this post was interesting or insightful for you please let me know in the comments below. Thank you!