“Do you want a customer for now or a brand advocate forever?”
– Ron Netanel, Founder of Idealogic Brand Lab
Isn’t it a great feeling when a company decides to give back? Like when you buy a pair of TOMS and another pair is given to someone in need? Why is it that charitable brands seem to resonate with us as consumers? Yes, they’re doing something nice for someone else–but the big takeaway here is that brands are reflecting humanity by caring for others.
Consumer perception is a key reason why companies should consider brand activism. Most people do not have the financial means to help save the world. So when companies use some of their profits for good, it allows consumers to feel as though they are contributing and are part of something greater than themselves. Activism is a win/win for businesses and consumers because it can lead to loyal relationships. These relationships are built around common ideals and align with consumers’ values and beliefs.
When a company contributes to a cause that aligns with its core values (or DNA, as we at IDealogic® call it), we as consumers can connect with them intrinsically. And instead of just being a customer, we tend to become brand advocates and have greater drive to participate in the company’s cause.
Wendy’s Gets It Right
When it comes to adoption, Wendy’s has shown us from the beginning that they care. Thomas, was adopted at six-weeks old. In 1992, he established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA), which is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding homes for children. Thomas was able to connect with this cause on a deeper level because he dealt with it in his own personal life.
Wendy’s has been adoption advocates for years. You may have seen coin canisters at your local Wendy’s. The proceeds go to the DTFA. The brand has also hosted in-store fundraisers like the Frosty Key Tag, where customers are able to purchase a $2 key tag and get a free frosty with every purchase for an entire year! 85% of the earnings from the key tags went directly to the DTFA.
Now, Wendy’s has set another goal. The company has teamed up with Snapchat to create an augmented reality (AR) experience to help kids waiting to be adopted. (Snapchat has been making it more possible for brands to be able to visually grab the consumer’s interest through animated billboards, vehicles, posters, or product packaging.)
So how does this AR experience work? Snapchat users can take a photo of the snap code on their Wendy’s drink. This will unlock a Snapchat lens that triggers a three-dimensional AR experience. During this AR experience, testimonies from adopted children pop up on the screen and tell the viewer how adoption has changed the child’s life for the better. And every time someone snaps the code, $5 is donated to the DTFA. Check out this video from Adweek to see what it looks like when you snap the Wendy’s code!
Wendy’s goal is to donate $500,000. Wendy’s lovers have until July 22 to participate in this fun and meaningful cause.
A Look into Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
What makes Wendy’s even more special is that they created a program called Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, which is a part of the DTFA. In this program, grants are provided to adoption agencies to hire professional agents. These agents focus on children who have had a difficult time getting adopted, from older kids to sibling groups to kids with disabilities.
Dave Thomas was able to create a child-focused model that focuses on fitting a family to a child rather than the other way around. By doing this, 8,500 children have been able to find permanent homes so far.
The DTFA’s singular mission is to “find forever families for children in foster care.” Over 400,000 children are living in the foster care system and out of those children, 123,000 are eligible for adoption.
“These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.”
– Dave Thomas
Brand Activism X DNA = Brand Advocates
Wendy’s is doing so many things right in their quest to help children find families. In this beautiful way, Wendy’s has figured out how to align its brand activism with its DNA, which is an imperative approach to cause marketing.
To ensure authenticity, we highly recommend that companies contribute to the types of causes that align with brand mission, vision, and/or purpose. This creates genuine brand stories which can help make companies more personable and real to consumers. Cause marketing has more value when the brand supports issues that align with the company.
Wendy’s is the perfect example, in that the brand is helping kids in foster care because the founder was, himself, adopted. He cared so much about this issue that he started his own adoption foundation. His legacy continues on, with Wendy’s now working toward breaking the stigma that older children can’t be adopted because they’re not babies anymore. The brand is doing whatever it takes to make sure these children find loving homes because this very action aligns with the brand’s DNA.
Another example is Dominoes’ decision to pave potholes to enforce driver safety. This resonated with the brand’s essence because delivery drivers had to deal with the potholes. The message was to protect their drivers, which would then protect your pizzas–and the public loved it. Who doesn’t love fixed potholes and pizza that isn’t stuck to the top of the box?
Wendy’s is getting on the forefront of the topic of adoption, and in doing so is sticking to its roots. With over 400,000 kids in the foster care system, we can’t help but feel that the problem is too big to fix by ourselves. But by partnering with Snapchat to create a fun AR experience, Wendy’s is helping all of us feel good about our purchases and help to make a difference.
At IDealogic®, we believe companies should align activism with brand DNA. This is a great way to cultivate brand loyalty among consumers. And we hope one day, brand activism will lead to Brands Of Humanity: Phase 3 in IDealogic’s Brand To Human® process. The main purpose of Brand of Humanity is to have a collective of significant brands that use their means to “effect positive change on the world.” So great job, Wendy’s. Hopefully more companies will follow suit to create some serious change in the world!