While I hate most reality TV, I have a thing for “Dancing With The Stars” (whatever, you know you love it). The performances are great fun, and I love to see people push themselves to try something new … something challenging. Oh, and those Chmerkovskiy brothers certainly are not hurting my retinas.
This season featured Nyles DiMarco, a 27 year-old model and advocate for the deaf community. He took home the Mirrorball trophy, in spite of living with complete deafness – an obstacle rendering him unable to hear the music to which he needed to dance. Think about that for a second. He could not hear the music. But each week, he pushed himself and performed at an amazing caliber, all with a mission of changing the way people view those living with hearing impairment. He relied heavily on his partner to guide and lead his steps on the dance floor, while pushing himself to look beyond limitations. He chose to be a living example of how limitless life can be, when you simply make the choice to lead and show the path to others.
DiMarco’s win hit close to home, as over the past several months the folks at Core have had the privilege of working with HEAR Wisconsin, an organization dedicated to helping infants, children, adults and families dealing with hearing and communications challenges. We had the honor of meeting so many families and individuals who have chosen a leading and positive path in life. Through our own “Share It” corporate social responsibility initiative called Core Gives, we were able to provide in-kind services to HEAR in order to help advance awareness surrounding its mission, as well as raise necessary funds. A specific deliverable is the following video we produced on their behalf:
What our experience working with HEAR Wisconsin has taught us is that we as corporate leaders have an important mission, too. We need to assume our lead role in helping community-impacting non-profits fulfill theirs. Their impediment is a lack of funds and resources – but we can choose to pull down those obstacles together.
Several months ago in a blog about corporate giving in the U.S., I shared the harrowing statistic that currently, corporate funding of non-profits is at a pitiful 5%, with 72% coming from individuals1. In a day when companies are clamoring for brand loyalty, many are not meeting the global need to impact the communities they are aggressively targeting. Well, brand engagement is a couples tango, folks, not a solo. You get what you give.
Corporate giving is a necessary and fulfilling business strategy that builds support, engagement and long-term brand stewards. In fact, 61% of American consumers are willing to try a new brand if it is aligned with a cause2. And corporate involvement can be the difference between non-profits just surviving and truly thriving. With government funds being cut, individual giving dollars stretched thin, and increasing costs of doing business, now is our time to accept the challenge. As marketers, we recognize even further the benefits associated with corporate social responsibility. Research proves that companies who invest in their communities see higher customer loyalty ratings, greater employee engagement and retention (79% of people prefer to work for socially responsible companies2), and more favorable brand awareness. Overall, it is a beautiful win-win partnership.
So as I channel my inner Len Goodman, I ask all corporate leaders to start stretching their quads because you are needed on the dance floor. And while there is no Mirrorball trophy (I mean, I could make one for you if its motivating), the reward is a strong and vibrant community that holds you and your brand in the highest regard.
Say it. Live it. Share it. Shake it.
Beth Crivello-Wagner is the Vice President of Brand Services at Core Creative.