Every year, L’Oreal recognizes a new set of ‘Women of Worth’ and awards their charities $5,000 each, with an additional $5,000 donation made in each of their names to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. One of these women is selected as the National Woman of Worth Honoree and her charity receives a whopping $25,000! As you can imagine, L’Oreal also showers these women and their charities with lots of media attention and hosts a large gala event in their honor at the end of each year.
In L’Oreal’s own words:
More than 30 years ago, L'Oréal coined the phrase "Because I'm Worth It" to celebrate a woman's worth and build her self-esteem. In 1997, as an extension of this sentiment, L'Oréal Paris proudly partnered with The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) to raise money and awareness in the fight against ovarian cancer.
In 2006 our signature phrase and OCRF partnership came to life in a new way. L'Oréal established Women Of Worth - a grassroots program and award that honors women who serve others in their communities.
Who is a Woman Of Worth? She's an inspiring volunteer, an outstanding achiever, and a beautiful person who's making a difference in her community. She sees a need around her and doesn’t hesitate to get involved. Whether she's empowering women, mentoring children, helping survivors to heal or motivating troops overseas, her efforts are tireless. Her spirit is unbreakable.
From a socially responsible perspective, L’Oreal is doing a great job by supporting amazing female change-makers and their charities. There’s no doubt that a program like this makes L’Oreal look and feel good, as it should. But, the ‘good’ stuff doesn’t just stop there. By putting the spotlight on these remarkable women of worth, L’Oreal is building an army of brand ambassadors.
At the age of 15, you were the victim of acquaintance rape. It took you four years to build the courage to speak up about what happened to you. Right before your eyes, the website you built to tell your story has evolved into an organization that boasts of being the largest international online sexual abuse survivor community, serving more than 20,000 survivors worldwide. (Learn more about 2009 National Woman of Worth Honoree, Shannon Lambert here)
Naturally, you feel blessed to have the opportunity to help thousands of women around the world heal, but now you’ve also been recognized for your work by a very prominent beauty brand whose core consumers are women like you. Once you complete your interviews, attend the big awards gala, and accept the $25,000 check on behalf of your charity, will your relationship with that company end there?
Not a chance.
You’ve just been transformed into a brand ambassador of that company for life. All of the women in your network will be reading that press release announcing your name as the recipient of this prestigious award. And, because of the impact you and your organization have had on all of these women, they will have newfound appreciation for the company that honored you.
What does this mean for L’Oreal? Chances are that the next time a member of a Woman of Worth’s organization is watching a L’Oreal ad on TV or sees one in her favorite women's magazine, she’ll probably smile without noticing and pay closer attention than before, store the name of that new product in her memory, and possibly pick it up the next time she's at the drugstore. Maybe she'll even recommend it to friends. Moreover, L'Oreal will have boosted its chances of becoming her beauty brand of choice, if it wasn't already. Why? Because she believes that L'Oreal is a socially responsible company that truly values women. After all, it honored one of her favorite women and made a donation to a charity she holds very close to her heart. All in all, the brand just evokes a feeling of goodness in her, so when given a choice between L'Oreal beauty products and those of its competitors, why in the world would she buy anything else?
Take a look at the list of 2009 ‘Women of Worth.’ These are impressive women who have each made a very profound impact in their communities. If there’s anyone a beauty brand like L’Oreal would want as an ‘everyday’ brand ambassador...it’s definitely one of these power house women. Smart thinking, right?
P.S. You don’t need to be a multimillion dollar enterprise to build an effective base of brand ambassadors. Look to companies like L’Oreal for inspiration and, you too, can build socially responsible programs that also serve as breeding grounds for brand ambassadors. Other companies doing this successfully are Pepsi with the Pepsi Refresh project and Bank of America with the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative. If you know other terrific examples, please share them with us!