Today, I wanted to tell you a story about how a company is building their brand by adopting a great cause.
I attended a fundraising event last night at the very prestigious conference venue at the top of the Pearson building, which boasts arguably some of the best views across London. The event was to raise funds for Schools 4 Schools a charity, set up by Debra Stevens, to help promote education and development of children, particularly in the Gambia, through the provision of schools, learning equipment, medical facilities, food programmes and community infrastructure. One of the other things they do is to promote ‘twinning’ of schools in the UK with those in the Gambia as a way of promoting cross-cultural understanding and education that flows in both directions.
The event featured talks by Debra, a great drumming activity from Unbeatable Energy (led by Steve Rivers) and a keynote presentation from best selling author Michael Heppell (‘How to be Brilliant‘ and his latest book ‘FLIP IT‘ ).
Despite all of the great talks and activities (and they were great), one of the best things that I learned last night was about the involvement of Maintenance Management Ltd (MML) with Schools 4 Schools, through a chat that I had with Neil Harrison, MML’s Managing Director. MML is a facility management company and their clients include Blue Chip companies including Boots, Tesco, John Lewis Partnership, Budgens, Auchan and now Mapeley Estates (owners of the HMRC estate).
Now many people might describe facilities management as a ‘boring’ or not very ‘sexy’ (better description) industry. Indeed, it is one that goes about its business and if they are good at what they do then they do not tend to step into the spotlight and often go unnoticed.
MML has partnered with Schools 4 Schools (the charity occupies a small office in MML’s building) and helps raise essential funds through fundraising activities and donations from the company itself, its emplyees and its contractors. In 2009, they were able to raise a fantastic £20,000, which has allowed Schools 4 Schools to provide 166 children of the Gambian village of Jalanbang with:
However, apart from the great work that they are helping to get done, one of the great benefits I was able to pick up from talking to Neil at MML was the impact their work with Schools 4 Schools has had on their relations with their staff, their suppliers and their customers. Everyone one has been enthused, interested and proud of the work they are doing. In doing this, they are building their brand, they are becoming more than just the company that does great facilities management stuff, they are becoming a great company to be associated with. A great brand in their own industry. Now, that’s branding.
Finally, not to give the whole spotlight to MML’s brand and to move it back to Schools 4 Schools work, please check out their website here and if you have a few pounds/dollars/euros/renminbi or whatever spare then please donate here.
Do you have a cause for your business?
Thanks to H2O Alchemist for the image