what do your corporate giants do for GOOD?

So in a quest for my project… I’m looking into the bigger corporations/ their products and services they offer for philanthropic type of work. you know. good stuff.

IDEO’s toolkit looks into “Human Centered Design”– looking for new solutions for today’s world problems for communities in need… “hear, create and discover” are three things they stress. Head over to IDEO to get a good (free) look at their really long pdf.

Mmk, so where do we begin class…

The first company I thought of was product/project RED… You know, at first, you can’t help but be amazed at how successful their marketing/branding campaign is. Pretty genius how they incorporate RED (including just the letters) into.. basically everything.

One thing that really inspired me to do research this project is watching Izzie Zahorian’s presentation on “Designing Something They can Believe In Again…” She focused on making sure that a companies’ values and beliefs branch out to customers and are powerful and important. Oh yeah, don’t forget… the most important thing is facility transparency.  Although RED advertises for a great cause, it’s transparency on how full flegged their commitment/ their claims to donate “help people with HIV/AIDS” is pretty questionable. On their site.. you don’t really know where your money is going do you?

buylesscrap.com argues that donating directly to The Global Fund without consuming creates more of an impact.

“The recent questions about the effectiveness of RED’s business model suggest that consumers, when buying certain RED products, cannot exactly know how much money makes it to charity. Additionally, there is the concern about how much money has been spent on RED’s partners. Hence, RED is experiencing its first crisis as a brand: lack of consumer confidence. “

3 steps suggesting to gain back confidence include:

“1. Let consumers know what has been spent, by whom, and on what.

2. Replace current models that do not make it clear how much money goes to Global Fund.

3. Make it possible and easier to donate money to Global Fund directly – without making a purchase.

Although I feel bad for criticizing them, and I feel that working with such large corporations is hard to successfully pull something off that is 100% genuine… I still think that if there is all this kind of scrutiny… that means that not all of their customers are convinced. If they want to successfully build brand loyalty, and build a meaningful relationship.. they need to clarify their corporate transparency.

But after looking into it, there are so many corporations that have continued to develop their community/care image… 

(Pampers,  Tide total care, Starbucks, Dawn, Hasbro Cares (Project Zambi))

Which of them are 100% genuinely following through.. I don’t know.. but I guess it’s important to see/show that more and more companies find it important to explore these areas. Plus. hey. isn’t it awesome to slab a cute seal on a packaging and make more money for your company?

so which company gives the damn the most? i mean … which one is most convincing?

and the winner is…


well. okay okay. maybe they have a 1up because they focus on health care products. But still! it’s pretty impressive that they have a reputation and an image for caring more for people.. than profit. what is most exciting is how much of that stuff they publish… Their initiatives all put on reports on their websites.. open.. out there…. downloadable.. transparent to the public.

So how can FP do something similarly successful with toys? I’m hoping that I don’t just slap a “we’ll donate money” sticker on an existing toy. Common…. Design thinking! Break!

One Response to “what do your corporate giants do for GOOD?”
  1. Ben says:

    I think another problem with co-opting corporate branding w/ donations to charity is that it dilutes efforts to help non profits more directly. (e.g. I buy ethos water all the time, i don’t need to give to the united way)

    Buylesscrap tries to make this point with “shopping is not a solution” but I think they can make more of an impact by fleshing that out a bit more.

    In addition, there’s a dangerous point at which corporations may think they can work without the charities themselves. E.G. $1.00 of each purchase goes to Breast Cancer Research vs. $1.00 goes to the Susan J. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation…is there a big difference? not really, to the consumer. big difference to the receiver of charity, i would say…

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