Philanthropy as brand identity

Last week, Ed and I took a tour of lower Manhattan looking for signs of #GivingTuesday making its way into the brand activities of for-profit businesses.  We were surprised how little evidence we could find.  Maybe it was the rain.  Maybe a lack of understanding about how easy it would be for any company to participate in this new and growing celebration of philanthropy.  

Johnson & Johnson #GivingTuesday pop-up activation at the NYSE

Johnson & Johnson #GivingTuesday pop-up activation at the NYSE

One company blew us away, however:  Johnson & Johnson.  They were outside the New York Stock Exchange in the cold, cold rain showing their support for community philanthropy, #GivingTuesday and their partner charity, Save the Children. As I understand it, the NYSE has a pop-up in this location every year now.  Kudos to them. 

The J&J activation was so well planned, it was a "no fail" option, rain or no rain.  The sound system was turned up, all the brightly colored graphics were on display and the activities and volunteers were in place.  The turnout was low (that rain was really cold!) but the effort still paid off.  J&J had set up so many ways to participate that their challenge match giving of $450,000 was nearly complete by mid-day.

I commend J&J and their partners for their efforts to grow public awareness of philanthropy while making their own investments of time, talent and treasure, especially at the holidays.  Sure, we all understand that showing a caring side is a wise part of any brand identity campaign, but you gotta admire those who put action behind the words.  J&J's model is one worth following, starting with the company credo.

Here's what they're doing right:

  • #GivingTuesday activities took place in the streets but are part of a bigger plan of seasonal giving
  • They created lots of ways to give, multiple channels by which to engage their programs, multiple charities to choose from and provided matching gifts
  • The storytelling focus is on building a culture of generosity and inclusiveness—you donate a photo and they'll match it with a gift
  • The scale of the activities and the matching dollars are commensurate with the size of the organization and their marketplace
  • The messaging focus is on the charities and their missions, not J&J
  • Partnerships were highlighted on all channels
Proceeds benefit Save the Children

Proceeds benefit Save the Children

In addition to the street presence, J&J has created the Caring & Giving website giving users five ways to contribute during the holiday season. This is a sister site to Care Grows, J&J's gift matching program.

If your company has a philanthropic focus, we'd love to tell your story, too.  Just point us in the right direction!




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