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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Doing Good

My company is a sponsor of the Iron Girl series; the first event of the year took place this morning in Boston today July 9th. I expect that it was a huge success with beautiful weather, lots of fun, and countless personal records set. More on the Boston event later.

In case you haven't heard about Iron Girl, do check it out. It's a cool series of events: 5k and 10k walk/runs, duathlons, and triathlons. Iron Girl is about empowering women to become active, to take control over their lives, to have fun in the process, and connect with likeminded women. Their tagline: "it's your turn".

We got involved because of our sponsorship of the IronMan World Championship [i.e., the killer triathlon in Kona, Hawaii] IronMan World Championship, the ultimate test of endurance and durability. Since we have positioned our brand, Wear-Dated, as the durable brand of carpet fiber, we considered IronMan a no-brainer. When Judy Molnar [read her amazing story] came up with the concept of Iron Girl, we got very excited, since it represented an opportunity to be in conversation with our primary carpet consumers: women!

Andrea Learned in her blog "Learned on Women" has a post about the benefits of sponsoring causes and mentions Iron Girl. The Iron Girl connection certainly got my attention, but the post also got me thinking about the power that doing good deeds has with consumers, especially women. Women have a group focus; they worry about the people around them [family, friends, associates...], how to keep them healthy, happy, involved, etc. Since they are so time-stressed, they can't save the whole world. However, they can and do make decisions to save the world through their purchasing decisions. Check out the "Doing Well by Doing Good 2005 Study Results".

Here is the list of top ranking companies:
1 Johnson & Johnson 2 Ben & Jerry’s 3 Walt Disney Company (tie) 3 Whole Foods (tie) 5 SC Johnson 6 Kraft 7 3M (tie) 7 McDonald’s (tie) 7 Procter & Gamble (tie) 7 Southwest Airlines (tie)

These are the 12 key drivers determining a company's performance:
1. Values and treats its employees well and fairly (85%)
2. Executives and business practices are ethical, honest, responsible and accountable (83%)
3. Goes beyond what is required to provide safe and reliable products and services (75%)
4. Responsibly markets and advertises its products and services (72%)
5. Committed to social responsibility, economic opportunity, environmental protection, etc. (72%)
6. Listens to community or customer input before making business decisions (68%)
7. Is active and involved in the communities where it does business (68%)
8. Committed to diversity (gender, race, etc) in the workplace and its business practices (65%)
9. Company's products and services enhance peoples' lives (64%)
10. Corporate values and business practices are consistent with my own beliefs (62%)
11. Supports a cause or issue that has led to improvement and positive change (61%)
12. Donates or invests its fare share of profits, goods or services to benefit others (59%)
Kind of interesting! Where are you in terms of supporting the things that she considers important? And, how do you let her know about it?

Per the survey, these are the 5 most credible ways of letting consumers know [note how many are word-of-mouth generators]:
1. People and organizations who have been helped or are personally involved in the company’s corporate citizenship
2. News coverage on television and radio
3. News coverage in newspapers and magazines
4. Partnering with non-profit organizations, educational institutions, government and other groups I trust, respect and admire
5. Community events, fundraisers, sponsorships, symbols of solidarity -- e.g., ribbons, bracelets, bumper stickers, etc.

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