We all know what “cause-related” marketing is and we’ve seen marketers who, maybe not so subtly, associate themselves with a widely respected or revered entity to ethically gain a bit of positive rub-off.
Well, Ping Golf, a family owned and run business in Phoenix, Arizona, and one of the market leaders in all things golf from clubs to bags to everything else, avoids all the ethical traps in that. They have just a wonderful program (I certainly don’t describe it as “marketing”) that they don’t promote, in fact they keep it almost secret, and that powers the Ping brand to levels any company would covet.
You see, Ping gives EVERY wounded U.S. military veteran upon discharge from their hospital a free full set of golf clubs, a bag and golf lessons to help get them physically active and participating (in life) again. Oh, forgot to mention, Ping does this FREE…no charge, just the company’s heartfelt thanks and recognition for the vets who have given a lot more than a gammier putt.
Now this program is not just a one timer or an urban legend rumor. It’s verified by Snopes, so check it out. Ping doesn’t promote the program on their website, although they do promote highly discounted “military” rebate offers there. I guess that’s because they correctly see those as “marketing” actions targeting a certain target audience.
Not so for the free clubs, bag and lessons to those wounded vets. I hazard a guess a guess that this is the first time you’ve heard of this Ping effort. No press release, no ads, no website or Facebook posts. They just do it! And that’s what makes it soooo powerful. For those of us who unintentionally become aware of it, we shout it from the rooftops (well maybe from my blog top, but certainly via word of mouth too).
Today I write this post, have tweeted it twice and told some of my friends verbally. That’s not much, but I’ve got on my mental hard drive now and it can’t be erased. Multiply me by the literally thousands who “accidently” find out about it every year, then add the widespread and constantly growing circles of the wounded vet recipients themselves , and you can see how under the radar viral this thing is.
I’m sure Ping realizes their brand benefits from this program, even though it is not promoted. But what I’m equally sure about is they don’t really care about that part of it at all. What they care about is the fact they’re making a positive difference in wounded vets interrupted lives.
AND THAT MAKES ME REALLY LIKE PING … AND I DON’T EVEN PLAY GOLF. THINK ABOUT IT.
Karsten Solheim http://phoenix.about.com/od/attractionsandevents/ss/PING.htm