How to cultivate a spirit of generosity in your brand
I talk a lot about heartfelt branding in my mentoring work. This is a way of building a brand that connects and presents the heart, soul and service of what you do. These 3 elements can also help you cultivate a spirit of generosity in your brand. Generosity is about enabling your craft and business to thrive. And cultivating a spirit of generosity is all about giving to others without expecting to receive something back in return. A generous spirit guides how you connect with your audience and customers.
How cultivating a spirit of generosity can benefit your brand
While the purpose is not to expect anything in return, being generous benefits a business, in many ways. The benefits include:
- A positive impact on brand reputation, as a survey conducted by Small Business Network, Alignable shows, 65% of small business owners reported that giving back to their community has helped to improve their brand perception.
- Increased brand loyalty. According to a study by PR and marketing agency, Cone Communications, 94% of consumers are likely to switch and remain loyal to a brand that supports a social or environmental issue.
- Positive media coverage. This can help to raise brand awareness, increase customer trust, and attract new customers and opportunities.
- Improving your income: A study by communications group, Havas Group, highlights that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services from brands that they perceive to be more meaningful.
What a spirit of generosity in business looks like
As a small business owner or one-person band, it can sometimes seem that the act of giving in business is reserved for big corporates with deep pockets- not so. When it comes to generosity I am not just talking about giving money or supporting charities, rather I encourage you to think about how, when, where, and with whom you share your resources, time, knowledge, skills or experiences, and why you choose to do so. To illustrate, giving to charity or volunteering in the community are typical business acts of generosity, however, sharing in-depth information and tips in a blog post, sharing the work of an emerging maker in your field, or taking on an apprentice in order to pass on your skills are all ways of demonstrating generosity.
Here are 12 ways to cultivate a spirit of generosity in your brand:
1. Pay it forward.
At one time or another, you’ve probably received something that’s made a difference in your life, i.e. valuable mentoring advice, help with solving a proble, hearing a speaker share their wisdom at a free event, or having work recommended to a customer. Paying forward the generosity you’ve received is a chance to do the same for others. This could be in the form of giving the gift of your time by volunteering or sharing what you know by hosting a free mini-workshop. Paying it forward requires understanding what is needed and if and how you can meet that need.
2. Take the time to listen, really listen.
The act of listening is a form of generosity that says, ‘I care about hearing what you have to say‘. In a world where so many things demand our attention the ability to listen before taking action enables us to understand and properly address the needs of our customers. Listening also means paying attention to the little details and acknowledging the things that aren’t being said. Listening shows that you are respectful of the other person.
3. Respect and acknowledge others.
This requires being open to seeing things from different perspectives. We may not always agree, but even in disagreement, there is still room for kindness and understanding. Understanding leads to community.
4. Build a community.
When you respect others you become part of a community of people who are drawn to you. Communities in which generosity is free-flowing find common ground and can empower individuals and generate collective impact on the issues that affect us.
5. Celebrate and support your peers.
Yes, we may be competing for market share alongside our peers, but our collective achievements generate greater awareness of our industries to the benefit of all. Simple acts such as a like or a comment can boost the morale of your fellow makers, or those following in your footsteps. Leave sincere and personalized comments over generic ones.
6. Show your customers how much you value them.
A spirit of generosity is cultivated when you show gratitude and appreciation for the people that support your brand. Those who buy, and those who tell others about your work. This can be through loyalty programs, discounts, and other perks. When people feel valued they tell others about you. A survey conducted by American Express found that 81% of consumers are more likely to continue supporting a small business after receiving excellent customer service. Customer service is a way to demonstrate generosity and can lead to increased customer loyalty for your business.
7. Show appreciation for your employees and collaborators.
Create a culture of sharing and collaboration by showing your employees and collaborators how much you value their contributions to the success of your business. Encourage employees or collaborators to share ideas, resources, and expertise with one another, and to work together to achieve common goals.
8. Appreciate being in the present.
Whether you are experiencing ease or challenges, the season you are currently in shapes and moulds you. Be thankful for how far you’ve come. Celebrate your wins and learn from the challenges and disappointments.
9. Practise gratitude.
Acknowledging and being grateful for the opportunities, experiences and ability to practice your craft and build a business doing what you love can do wonders for your sense of purpose and inspire your acts of generosity.
10. Give within your means.
Generosity is not a competition of who is seen to give more. Every business is different, it has its specific priorities and commitments. Only you can decide how generous you want to be with what you have. Generosity should not feel forced, so do it in a way that is comfortable for you, otherwise, you will only end up feeling resentful.
11. Say no to the things that take up space and drain you.
When you say no to the things that take up space and drain you you are able to free yourself up to say yes and give your commitment and energy to the things that matter most to you. The things that generate impact, not only in your life but in the life of others.
12. Give to yourself.
You can’t give to others if you don’t top up your sources of giving. These sources could be physical, mental, spiritual, or material/wealth. Show yourself some generosity by investing in the areas you need to keep full.
However, you choose to cultivate a spirit of generosity in your brand, give and share because you want to, not because you think you have to or because you have been told to give. In giving from the heart lies the true spirit of what it means to be generous, and the positive impact generosity can have on your work and business can be immeasurable. If you want to learn more about the 3 valuable elements of a heartfelt brand get my free guide here.
[Image credits: The image shown belongs to Diego PH on Unsplash. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]