Build Your Brand by Giving Back


To build a lasting brand with a stellar reputation, it’s important to determine what you want your brand to stand for. Everything you or your company does reflects on your brand, so make sure you’re doing something that makes you proud. That’s where corporate philanthropy comes in. An important job of a real estate professional is to serve their local community, and what better way to do that than through corporate philanthropy? It’s an observable component of a brand’s commitment to social responsibility, and it’s becoming an increasingly vital foundation for building a positive brand identity.

Unilever provides a great example of corporate philanthropy done right. Unilever’s Dove brand put its money into an initiative to build self-confidence among young girls between age 10 and 14. In 2006, Dove ran a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl that was not about selling shampoo or soap. Instead, it introduced the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, which started a conversation about body image and self-esteem. Consumers responded positively by purchasing Dove-branded products, and Dove reinvented its brand in a lasting way.

Another example of good corporate philanthropy is Cox Communications. For over 20 years, Cox has encouraged employees to donate their time to charitable causes through Cox Charities. According to Lisa Lovallo, the Southern Arizona Market Vice President for Cox Communications, volunteering can increase employee productivity. She believes “corporate-supported volunteer programs allow employees to highlight their abilities and learn valuable professional skills that will reflect in their work, creating a stronger, more engaged workforce.”

Of course, Unilever and Cox are large companies with lots of resources at their disposal. But you don’t have to be big—or even go big—to be an agent for social change. Pick a charity or volunteer group with a mission closely aligned with your values, and start small. Agents at Windermere Glenn Taylor Real Estate in Oregon participate in a local community auction each year. They personally donate items and services or solicit local businesses for donations, and they attend the auction as both volunteers and bidders. Broker-owner Kim Salvesen estimates that her new agents gain “70 percent of business . . . through the sphere of influence they’ve developed by working on the auction and other volunteer activities.”

There’s no question that charitable giving—whether it’s a donation of monetary value or time—is good for business. You or your company’s philanthropic ventures show the community your core values and beliefs. Having a charitable brand can help increase employee satisfaction and retention, boost your marketing and networking efforts, and foster positive brand awareness—all of which can lead to happy clients and more referrals!

Want to get your brand involved in making a positive difference? Check out Giveback Homes, a community of charity-minded real estate professionals who help build homes for deserving families, organize fundraising events, and take action for social good.


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