December, 2010"Giving drives strategy. Giving drives brand. Giving drives innovation," states Will Marre, CEO of Realeadership Alliance and author of Save the World and Still Be Home For Dinner (Capital Books). Marre says that since the holiday season is a time for giving, perhaps it is also a time to support companies that give big.
To bring more attention to the Giving is Winning strategy, Marre is spotlighting a list of 25 top companies who are world leaders in integrating giving into their way they do business and turning social responsibility into real strategic opportunity. Each business day in December one large or small company will be profiled with a reason to support them.
Marre asserts that giving and winning go together. "The companies on the list are making industry leading profits and growing at a healthy clip," he contends. "When giving becomes an essential part of your culture, employees are inspired to create more value and consumers choose you."
Perhaps that is because increasingly consumers, employees and the public are becoming more interested in the soul of companies. According to a new survey discussed in Brandweek, despite the recession, 75% of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55% of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don't. Additionally, the survey found that 70% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from socially responsible companies. In fact, 28% are willing to pay at least $10 more. Also, the survey found that nearly 50% of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds are more likely to take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.
Marre's list of Giving is Winning companies comes from research he is conducting with Clemson University and the University of California San Diego called 21 Companies for the 21st Century. The research is examining what successful companies are doing in today's challenging environment that average companies are not. One factor according to Marre is the sincere desire to give.
Marre's research unearths some inspired, strategic giving of companies that use their strengths to create a better world. For instance, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, FedEx will deliver approximately 15,000 real Christmas trees to more than 50 military facilities in the United States and overseas as part of the 2010 Trees for Troops program. TOMS Shoes gives a pair of new shoes to a child who has no shoes for every pair of shoes purchased. TOMS have given away one million pairs of shoes since its founding in 2006.
Nike, which believes giving access to sports to adolescent girls in the developing world generates confidence, self-determination and a thirst for education, has committed over $100 million to help girls. From micro-loans to creating safe houses, Nike is seeking to unleash the human potential of girls world wide.
"No company is perfect. It's true. But over the past five years I have seen genuine change in many corporations," states Marre. "Giving is Winning illuminates 21st century innovation strategies. Good things are growing. It's time to recognize them, reward them and insist on more. Our future depends on it."
For more information visit Marre's Giving is Winning blog and get a special series, "Apple to Zappos: What Today's Successful Leaders Are Doing That the Rest of Us Aren't."
About Will Marre:
Will Marre is CEO of Realeadership Alliance and founder of Thought Rocket, a new online leadership development platform providing up-to-the-minute leadership research on what successful organizations are doing to thrive in the 21st century. Will Marre is also the cofounder of the Covey Leadership Center where he brought the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to millions of executives and managers worldwide. He also heads the advisory board of the Human Performance Institute (a Johnson & Johnson company) and is an Emmy award-winning writer of a public television learning documentary. For more information please visit WillMarre.com.