Patrick Milan: Smart brands will help the less fortunate

Iconoculture, the really smart consumer research group that monitors trends, reminded me today of a couple incredible statistics from the past two years. Last year, Americans were joining the food stamp program at an average rate of 20,000 a day; in 2010 the rate jumped to 22,000 a day (USDA.gov, 2 December 2010).

If you need a better statistic to make this feel real, consider this: nearly one in four children are what agencies now label as “food insecure” (SesameWorkshop.org, 23 November 2010).

The families who have been hit hardest during the Great Recession are in the thoughts of those of us who are faring better this year. There is a deep level of concern among Americans about hungry children and families in distress. This year, the concern is translating into action.  |

Those of us who can feel the economy improving (if ever so slightly and  slowly) are reaching out to help the less fortunate. Covio.com reports that 74% of consumers plan to give to charities this holiday season and online donations will increase by an astounding 30 percent from 2009.

There is a very interesting convergence occurring here. On one hand, consumers are looking for acts of kindness from brands in the marketplace. On another front it is reported that American corporations have more cash in hand than at any time in history.

At the intersection of these trends, consumers are watching to see which brands behave like them. Smart brand leaders know actions speak louder than ads.

Those company leaders should be going out of their way to lock arms with their best consumers to help organize and fund efforts to help America’s distressed families.

This post was written by Patrick Milan and originally published on Tunheimmilan’s Posterous Follow Patrick on Twitter: @pmilan

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