While philanthropic efforts almost always generate a positive response toward a brand, this particular initiative was especially impactful due to three key ingredients:
1. Relevancy – The philanthropy directly responds to a current national crisis that is impacting not only those in the affected areas, but also their networks across the US.
2. Timeliness – AT&T issued the announcement of waived fees and extended coverage on August 26th, the day Hurricane Harvey began to cause unprecedented flooding and destruction on the coast. The early response to the disaster highlighted AT&T’s proactivity and eagerness to help those affected.
3. Connection back to the brand – While AT&T could have simply donated funds to help those in impacted areas, they instead found a way to link their philanthropy directly to the AT&T brand by helping victims stay connected through extended coverage and waived fees. In doing this, AT&T found a way to make a meaningful impact while sensitively and subtly keeping the brand and its services top-of-mind.
As marketers, we should keep AT&T’s response to Hurricane Harvey in mind for future philanthropic efforts, and always ensure relevancy, timeliness, and connection with the brand when developing initiatives like this.
Relevant links and press:
- Initial announcement from AT&T: AT&T Newsroom: Waived Fees for Customers Impacted by Hurricane Harvey
- Today’s updated announcement including additional coverage and waived fees: Hurricane Harvey: Response & Live Updates
- Initial Twitter announcement and announcement of extended support
- AT&T’s inclusion in AdWeek article: Here’s What Brands Are Doing to Help in Texas Communities Devastated by Hurricane Harvey
- ABC 11 News: AT&T waives fees for customers impacted by Hurricane Harvey
- Dallas Patch News: AT&T Won't Charge For Overages In Hurricane Harvey-Devastated Areas
- Saintpetersblog.com: AT&T helping Texas hurricane victims stay connected, waives wireless fees