Children in Need is a BBC-owned charity that gives grants to local projects in Britain that focus on helping disadvantaged children.
Emma Hill, creative director of Mulberry, said of the project:
“When we were approached to design the fashion bear, we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to use our resources and create something genuine, loveable and close to our hears to support the cause.”
I found this interesting, because I have been recently thinking about the role that Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, plays for luxury brands.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be defined as “a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model”. In the past, CSR has been seen as an ‘extra’ that is nice to do but not necessary, and that may well leave the company out of pocket. However, this view is rapidly changing, with brands that are not undertaking CSR initiatives and reporting on these finding themselves scrutinized.
It is not accidental that brands such as Mulberry have chosen to partner with the BBC Children in Need. The cause is one which resonates with the consumers of those British luxury brands – in fact, the article states that many luxury brands have chosen children-focused charities recently to connect with their customers. This does not weaken their brand identity, but rather strengthens it, positioning their brand as socially responsible whilst resonating with customer’s wishes to ‘give something back’.
Kahro, a jewelry stores Raleigh NC store which I run, has teamed up with Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a Raleigh NC based charity that work to fight female cancers. The charity is close to the heart of Kahro’s clientele, which creates a link between the way the customers wish to act and the way the company behaves. Giving to charity is seen as an aspect that Kahro shares with its customers; just as they spend extra, Kahro spends extra. This charitable giving builds self-esteem for all the Kahro employees, as they know that their workplace gives something back to the local community. In turn, this raises productivity and staff commitment.
For me, the key to successful charity partnerships is to ensure that they are aligned to employees, brand values and customers, and that they feel authentic rather than driven by profit.