Giving Hope a Hand: Kroger & Several Nonprofit Partners
In 2006, Kroger saw an opportunity to bring well-intentioned but dissimilar vendor promotions around breast cancer awareness (particularly in October) into a coordinated message that could be shared with their customers and associates. ‘Giving Hope a Hand’ was designed to celebrate breast cancer survivors among Kroger’s own associates – average, ordinary people who were suddenly forced to face an extraordinary challenge – bringing an authentic voice to the program. Kroger also opted to direct funds raised to local breast cancer programs in order to support their customer base living in the many small towns, big cities and locations in between.
Kroger associates who are breast cancer survivors were featured on in-store materials and customized packages of
national and corporate brand items sold exclusively in Kroger’s more than 2,400 stores nationwide. In 2011, 53 Kroger associates participated.
A dedicated, interactive website, www.sharingcourage.com provided each survivor with a profile page, along the sponsoring company. Visitors to the website are able to upload their own stories and photos, and post messages to a Wall of Hope. Vendor partners played a key role in the program. In partnership with Pepsi and Gatorade, Kroger associates joined NFL players Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez on marketing materials that appeared in stores. Also supporting the campaign were a Facebook page in partnership with Yoplait, a direct mail publication mailed to 1 million customers, Twitter feed and YouTube video.
The two weeks of the in-store promotion rank among the best sales weeks of the calendar year for participating vendor partners. Vendors bring their best products and best prices to the sales component of the program, providing added value to customers. The resulting $3 million donated to local charitable organizations strengthens the local store’s reputation as a committed corporate partner in the community.
Judges were moved by the accessible, local feeling of the campaign, made possible because Kroger recognized and honored their own employees as heroes. This empowered both consumers as well as internal associates to support these heroes in a very meaningful, authentic way.