Many people associate the World Bank with anti-globalization protests, and its monolithic, glass-fronted headquarters in Washington does little to humanize the group.
But a new café and retail store that will open there May 22 may help soften its image. The new café, Pangea, a project of the World Bank Group's (WBG) International Finance Corp. (IFC), aims to promote activities within the WBG that help support indigenous cultures worldwide.
"The World Bank hasn't been very effective in telling a balanced story about itself," said Harold Rosen, director of the Grassroots Business Initiative, the group within the IFC that is financing the project. "It tends to be very reactive and gets pulled into responding to crises that come up on projects that are questioned."
Idea: Pangea, an independently managed café, will sell "fair-trade" coffee, as well as jewelry, scarves, vases, and other items produced by members of indigenous cultures in Bolivia, Bangladesh, and other places around the world.
Tools: Items for sale, videos, and educational materials at the store should help counter negative perceptions about the work of the World Bank and its affiliated organizations, said Rosen. Press and public outreach is being handled by the IFC in-house, but DC-based Metropolitan Group helped with publicity, educational materials, and advice on the shop's "look and feel," Rosen said.
Measurement: Success of educational and outreach efforts will be measured by events organized, partnerships developed, volunteers participating, and media hits. Client benefits will be gauged by market connections developed for grassroots producers, number of suppliers receiving technical assistance through the sustainable trade program, and the percentage of sales directly supporting producers. Business indicators include sales and profits.
Company: The World Bank Group International Finance Corp.'s Grassroots Business Initiative
Campaign: Pangea Café
PR Team: IFC and Metropolitan Group, Washington
Other marketing: Media outreach, events
Launching: May 22