Project Blue Van

[pullquote align=”left”]”Values-led marketing … promotes products and brands by integrating social benefits into many different aspects of a business enterprise. Instead of advertising, which adds no value, we do things that actually provide a service to people and society”

Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s Double-dip, 1997, Simon & Schuster paperbacks)[/pullquote]

We have been very inspired by the approach to marketing articulated in Ben & Jerry’s classic book on values-led business. Our whole marketing strategy is based on their ideas. The first question we ask when thinking about marketing our service is: “How is this going to be of value to someone else?” If it isn’t we think again! For example, we aim to regularly blog and tweet useful knowledge that will help people in their business (and hopefully come back to us for more advice/training later). We are always looking for new ways to give valuable stuff to people as part of our marketing strategy.

When we bought our new van in April, we wanted to see how we could use it to benefit folks as well as use it for the day job (i.e. transporting us & resources to clients around the UK). We could have put our logo on the side and just advertised our business, but that would have provided no value to others, so we hit on the idea of using it to encourage people to donate money to charity. We travel most weeks visiting clients and delivering training across the UK, so a lot of people should see the van. If a large number were to let us know then we could donate money to the charity of their choice.

So this is the plan:

  1. A stranger sees our van in a particular location
  2. They take a photo of it and tweet it to our handle: @GeorgeT_D, including
    • Charity of their choice
    • Location of van
  3. We make a donation to the charity (we’re thinking about £10 each time)

To stop us ending up as one of those “Good ideas that went terribly wrong” stories, we’re adding a few terms and conditions:

  • Only one tweet from one Twitter account
  • A max limit of £1000 giving to charity per qtr
  • The chosen charity must be registered and not associated with a particular political view or lobby position

What’s in it for us? Firstly, it should benefit a whole load of worthwhile causes, which is why we’re in business. Secondly, our brand should be spread around a bit more, which hopefully will help keep us in business.