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Agility & Humanity in Marketing/PR

Agility & Humanity in Marketing/PR

Two weeks ago, I sat down to write a Trendspeak post that would serve as something of a trade show “checklist” for exhibitor promotions. That post was sidelined last week when Hurricane Harvey slammed Houston, TX. My intention is not to report on the hurricane and resulting devastation. Plenty of others are doing that far better than I ever could on this B2B blog. This post is about the outpouring of generosity and support we’ve seen from our clients and other companies in the B2B community—and why these actions are so important to corporate identities.

If your company is a member of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, you may have seen the recent announcement that the organization will match all funds raised for the American Red Cross to support the victims of Harvey up to $100,000. Additionally, PMMI is diverting funds raised through its PACK gives BACK™ scholarship program to the American Red Cross to aid in relief efforts. These moves have made me proud beyond words to call PMMI a client. It spoke to the big hearts of the individuals who drive that organization. And, for many others and myself, that action is cemented as part of the association’s identity as it promotes this initiative to meet its goal. Of course, PMMI isn’t alone. Many B2B companies have stepped up to support victims with donations of their own.

If your company is looking to help victims of a humanitarian crisis—be it Harvey, Irma or a natural disaster hitting closer to home—it’s important not to forget the communications component. Here are a few pointers that can sometimes be overlooked when responding to a humanitarian crisis:

  1. Don’t go on autopilot with your company’s giving. Be agile and responsive to when it comes to unforeseen events affecting communities you care about or natural disasters causing national emergencies.
  2. Don’t keep it to yourself. While some donors (individuals and companies alike) may think it’s a self-serving move, amplifying your generosity will encourage others to follow your lead and contribute to the cause.
  3. Treat these sudden causes—like supporting the victims of a natural disaster—with the same importance as you would a long-standing charity. It’s not always easy to squeeze in the extra announcement and a schedule of social media call-outs into a packed marketing calendar, but make it happen.
  4. Communicate the importance and impact of your charitable activities to your employees. Be clear on who and how you are helping, and encourage workers to become personally invested in the cause, using their own social media channels and word-of-mouth to grow your fundraising or volunteer efforts.
  5. Keep it human. When communicating about your charitable giving, don’t let corporate style sterilize your message. Highlight the impact your efforts have on people/animals/communities with clarity and emotion. You’re touching hearts, not ticking boxes.

With those points considered, we wish you the best of luck in your company’s charitable efforts and hope you’ll consider supporting PMMI’s efforts to match up to $100,000 for Hurricane Harvey victims. Donations can be made at this link: www.pmmi.org/we-care.

At this time, our thoughts are also with those weathering Hurricane Irma.

by Christina Wilcox