A new native campaign by Titos Handmade Vodka provides a great lesson for local companies who want to build goodwill in the community and leverage the support they have given to a cause.
Here is an excerpt from the paid article on Titos that ran in the New York Times Brand Studio:
"In the early days of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge II worked exhausting days at the distillery, with Dogjo, his German Shepherd mix, at his side. To hear him tell it, she was often the only contact he’d have with another life form for days as he cooked batches of the product, bottled it and loaded it for distribution. During those times, Beveridge often slept on a cot he’d set up in the warehouse, his companion curled up nearby. 'Dogjo was with me the whole time. I still can’t talk about her without tearing up,' he says."
Lots of human emotion here, and an alchemy in which the reader now feels pretty good about a brand of alcohol sold in small bottles on airplanes. The article goes on to explain how Beveridge eventually developed a relationship with Emancipet, a Houston-based non-profit veterinary clinic. After feeding strays dogs at the distillery, he began to take them to the clinic to get spade. How Emancipet, like Tito's, went national. And so on.
Read the full story here.
Lessons learned here are many. To replicate this kind of campaign locally, here are a few steps:
1. Look for a company with a community mission. Ever on call with a great local company with a famous brand who "doesn't need you" but wants to talk about their favorite causes? Ask a few more questions. The largest "buying sign" is a company that talks about aspirational intentions and what they have done for the community. While researching the prospects website, watch for charitable events they are involved with, especially ones they own.
2. Work backwards by keeping an eye on - and that means a list - of logos associated with non-profit events in you area and make it a habit to talk to non-profit whenever you get the chance. You may be able to help one of these sponsors get more credit for what they have done. Keep your ears open for what would make an interesting story! Although it is harder, you may be able to become a matchmaker for companies interested in a commmunity brand and a non-profit that needs help, especially if it's goods and services instead of money.
Another source of information is business journals, where companies sometimes "announce" their chartible efforts. One example is a local chain of coffee stores in Maine who announces the winners of their grant program in the business journal - as a B2C company they could get more credit from their community in a B2C publication.
3. The coffee company would also get more engagement by telling the story of eadh of the winners, instead of a "tombstone" print ad. Whether in video or text, non-profit efforts have great feel-good stories to tell that convey human emotion. Showing the Tito's native article should make it clear to an interested client how this works.
4. The last piece of this is putting together a media plan for the client that makes sense. There are plenty of opportunitie to create native buys if you do not already have them, but marking "sponsored" at the top of an article that runs in an ad unit or fixed poition on the website, or is inserted in the weekly newsletter. Best practice is to place the article on the client's website so they receive the traffic, unless your media company has a full blown native program like Brand Studios, where the prestige alone is important. Some of the top native programs run by local media insist, however, that the article run on the client site. Don't forget to outline a plan for social boosting of the content, which should be sharable.
5. Add programmatic distribution. If you current provider does not offer a native advertising network, find one that does. AdCellerant is one option. The stories that run on the native ad network have the identical font, type size, loock and feel and run instream with related content CTR's for this type of advertising are exceptional, so everyone is happy.
If you have a great campaign with a local non-profit please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear about it!