Brands go 'unexpected' places

Communicators from top brands discussed how charitable initiatives have benefited their companies on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York.

Communicators from top brands discussed how charitable initiatives have benefited their companies on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York.

Panel members included Michael Rouse, VP of diversity, philanthropy, and community affairs at Toyota and president of the Toyota USA Foundation; Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City; and Matthew Bishop, globalization editor at The Economist and author of Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World.

Purvis:
"[The partnership between Toyota and the Food Bank] has been a game-changer for us. [Toyota] has helped us tell our story in a different way. They have offered the thing that makes them best to a charity, so we could do our best."

"In charities, we are known and expected to change the world with gum and paper clips. Toyota gave us a technique [Kaizan], and a new way of thinking."

"Toyota's philanthropy has created best commercial you could ever want."

"You can really tell the difference between a campaign that started with the company or one that was fueled by the cause. It starts with listening."

Bishop:
"There is going to be a real effort to focus much more analytically on what companies are doing and it is going to come more and more from the investment community."

"Companies will need to be much more serious about measuring impact [of their CSR work] and it will be less about superficial cause marketing."

"That is what we are on the threshold of and it will be a very positive period for capitalism, where it really starts to demonstrate it is not just about short-term profits, but it is making a difference."

Rouse:
"You have to ask, are you doing an activity or creating a relationship? Creating a relationship is more important."

"This is particularly true with Millennials. Whether they want to or not, this generation in high school takes part in community service projects, and in college they continue this activity. When they are out, they are not going to work for a company that is not socially responsible and they are not going to buy from a company that is not socially responsible."

"So for those that haven't gone down that road [of philanthropy or CSR] yet, their future may depend on it, because it is a notion that is really setting itself firmly in society now."

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