My first experience of philanthropy from a beauty brand was in 1994 when MAC launched their Viva Glam lipstick. The proceeds from the sales of the lipstick went to the MAC Aids fund which supports men, women and children affected by HIV/Aids. This initiative contributed to MAC being a lovemark brand for me for many years.

Consumers in 2014 now expect that successful brands will “give back” to communities that are less well off. This is just as it should be – but do we bring enough attention to our brand’s philanthropic actions? Does the brand you partner with support a charitable cause? If so, can all your team communicate the process to customers?

We know from experience with Dermalogica’s FITE initiative that it takes the efforts of the whole team to really bring this type of initiative to life. Let me share our learning with you:

• Make sure the whole team fully understands the initiative. Set time aside to discus the program with your staff to be sure they can all talk about it to customers with confidence.

• Use the material provided by your brand to promote the initiative on your shelf, e.g. posters, product stickers and brochures.

• Set goals and celebrate milestones along the way, both with your team and with your customers.

• Always thank a client for her contribution when she purchases a relevant product. By choosing to buy that product she is helping someone less fortunate. That’s a nice feeling and one we want our customers to experience.

While brand initiatives tend to operate at an international level, there is opportunity to create your own philanthropic program at a local level. Look for future blog posts on this subject.