A letter from Ryan Townend, CEO of William Joseph:
The greatness of your company has many measures: profits, return on investment, client retention, awards, or even stakeholder feedback. But, as time goes on and the world changes, the ultimate measure of your company’s enduring success is its legacy. What has your company done for the community? How have you made an impact? How have you made the world a better place?
For William Joseph, our answer is that we give back. Embarking on each year with a resolution to be the best company that we possibly can be, we are using this issue to focus on non-profits and charitable giving. Philanthropy and giving back is something we believe truly makes a company successful. It is the reason we get out of bed in the morning. For us, “that would be a nice thing to do” has become more than an idea, but a way of life. It’s one that permeates our daily lives and is deeply ingrained in our corporate identity and culture.
For myself, community means working to make the world a better place. Coming from a relatively small town, I’ve always known that my home helped shape who I am today. After fifteen years as CEO of William Joseph, I consider it a privilege to support my community and those who aspire to make it even greater by giving back.
This philosophy isn’t just good for the soul – it’s also good for the bottom line as well. More than 90% of consumers would switch brands to one that openly supports a great cause, and more than 85% of Millennials (one of the most powerful consumer groups today) connect their purchases to the responsible efforts a company is making.
At WJ, we have built a community around our business. The people involved – clients, coworkers, family – feel as though they are part of what we’re doing. The WJ community is a big piece of what has made us successful.
Community represents the family that surround you at the dinner table, the town you’re from, your staff, and a group of clients you call friends. We have been honoured to partner with and support many clients across Western Canada which work to make the world a better place. We worked with Kids Cancer Care to brand and implement the Big Book of Care campaign. This campaign speaks for childhood cancer charities across Canada, operates as a resource to share the story of childhood cancer, and offers easy links to the donate pages of regional childhood cancer charities. For years, we have worked with STARS, a non-profit that provides rapid and specialized emergency medical care and transportation for critically ill and injured patients, to deliver compelling event brand strategy services for fundraising events. We have also worked with all four hospital Foundations in Saskatoon – something which my team and I are extremely proud of.
We also engage our community on a daily basis. With a passion for helping entrepreneurs grow and be successful, we sponsor multi-year initiatives which support innovation and technology, including the Tundra Acceleration Centre for Entrepreneurs (ACE), the SPARX Energy Innovation Theatre and Pitch. Whether it is client meetings, lunch and learns, networking events, WJU seminars that we host across Canada, or sharing a day in the life of WJ through interesting posts on social media, we share our knowledge. We learn in return, and we enjoy doing every bit of it.
As William Joseph and the number of clients we work with grows, so does our understanding that a loyal, energized community is the greatest asset any brand can have. We make a point to build our community both online and offline. Our Calgary staff spend every lunch together playing bocce ball (if you happen to be on a lunchtime walk around Eau Claire and see a group of people standing around in the bushes, that’s probably them). The WJ team has been an equal participant in working to make the world a better place. When it comes to building community, leading collaboration, and making a difference, I can think of no better example than my team.
In our fourth edition of WJ Magazine, we go in-depth with team WJ in the community and industry, including client features, WJU highlights, and an interview with Erin, Senior Strategist and WJ’s non-profit marketing guru (see our last blog on how to be strategic with your charitable giving).
Building a community doesn’t happen without a lot of effort. It requires a mindset, an appreciation for others, and a “you succeed, I succeed” mentality. I consider William Joseph – our staff, clients, and partners – as one shared entity. We work to represent the actions that build community. We make connections, build trust, get involved, and give back together.
You only have one life to live. Make it a good one. Make it your legacy, your company’s legacy, and one you would be proud of.
The two most important days for your company are today and tomorrow. Make them count.