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  • Steve Mangold

Why We Fight

Updated: Sep 12, 2017

I was speaking with a friend at a San Jose Rotary Club committee meeting today about her marketing communications needs. She’s the executive director of a substantial nonprofit organization that, frankly, does not enjoy the wide name or mission recognition that it deserves.




She asked if we did Web sites, which we do, and I referred her to the site we developed for FIRST 5 Santa Clara, www.first5kids.org. That site has won us several national and international awards, but more importantly, it has helped FIRST 5 build a larger and more active community of parents, caregivers and supporters.


Because of our navigation and design strategy, the site enables its various constituencies to access information relevant to them, easily and even elegantly, with attractive graphics and clear, precise prose. And it appeals to people outside our geographic area because it is such a useful compendium of child-development research and information, presenting its offerings in audio and video files that inform even the most impatient or non-literary viewers.


Speaking with her about what we do made me realize, ever so belatedly, that Brand Cowboys has always been in the business of building stronger communities. The difference is that now social networking has changed the paradigm from paper-based communications to online, 24/7, instant communications, and that people come together in virtual communities based on their interests—actually their passions—and seek to make a difference in the lives of their families and their community. Our specialty is linking corporations and for-profit entities with community-based, nonprofit groups to the mutual benefit of both.


So our work over the past 20 years with Second Harvest Food Bank has generated thousands of corporate supporters who provide volunteers, food and financial donations. The corporations benefit from their association with and good deeds for the Food Bank, and their employees feel much better about their companies for being involved in significant, socially beneficial work. The Food Bank’s mission is advanced by the fuel—often literally, in the case of subsidized diesel fuel for the Food Bank’s many trucks—that companies and individuals make possible through food and financial donations as well as their volunteer efforts.


We seek to craft win-win-win solutions for our clients, whether they are Fortune 500 corporations or worthy NPOs. Now, those solutions increasingly have online components. Social media—blogs, Twitter, Redditt, Facebook, LinkedIn, online communities of like-minded individuals—makes a person’s or a company’s investment in a social cause more immediate and multi-faceted.


We like to think that we know all the ways people will band together and make “common cause” for a social issue, but we don’t, because people, in their infinite wisdom and creativity, will always invent initiatives that no PR agency could imagine. But what we do is create the platform, the medium for people to join in concerted action to make a difference in their community.


Of course, it’s not just online. It involves brochures, posters, direct mail campaigns, ads, contests, speaking engagements, personal contacts, consistent messaging and so on, all the elements of classic marketing communications.


This holistic communications mix is our comfort zone and expertise. So when a company is ready to step up to the plate and make a difference in the community, we can help, making the process easier, cheaper and more effective.

When an NPO seeks a greater degree of community engagement and support, we can be the midwives for that transition.


This is a major difference between Brand Cowboys and the many PR and communications companies we encounter in the marketplace. If you seek the best at what you need done in community or corporate relations, give us a call. We’ve been there, done that and also have some great ideas that have never seen the light of day. It all boils down to the fact that we care about where we live and what kind of society we are building. We all breathe the same air, and it might as well be clean and wholesome.

Sales pitch: let’s do some great things together.

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