This morning I ran the Komen Race for the Cure in Detroit. As a native metro Detroiter, it was awesome to see 30,000+ people in the city. Downtown Detroit was alive even on a cloudy day. The streets were packed with runners and walkers, adults and kids…every one of these people rallying around a cause that has impacted their lives in some way. Since 1992, the Detroit race has raised over $17.5 million locally.
Since my mind is always thinking, not only did I see a rallying cry for 30,000 people, I also saw an opportunity. As of late, my business thoughts have focused in on one thing, the customer. In a recent post, I gave my thoughts on Joseph Jaffe’s book, Flip the Funnel. If you recall, Jaffe suggests leveraging current customers in order to gain new ones. What can businesses, both big and small, do to rally loyal followers (current customers) around an idea? Businesses can get behind a social cause. The caveat in all of this is that businesses need to do this because it’s the right thing to do and not because they are trying to get a sale out of it.
When there is a worthy cause to get behind, communities get involved, as evidenced by the number of people in downtown Detroit this morning. Yes, the corporate sponsors there with their product displays, but the overwhelming theme was about the fight against breast cancer. From a business perspective, one of the benefits you get is exposure. However, the additional benefit you get is being tied to something bigger than the company itself…people and the community.
So my questions to you are this: As a business owner, do you see an intrinsic value in this? As a consumer, can something like this influence your opinion of a brand, product or service? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.