No doubt you look at my last name and say Italian? But rest assured, on my mom’s side I’m your amico! Like all Italians, I had an Italian grandma. And like all Italian grandmas, she had an opinion about everything and wasn’t afraid to share it or the life lessons she had collected along her colorful life. What she didn’t realize is that she also taught me some great marketing tips that in her honor, I’d like to share with you.
My grandparents never had much money. They both worked in a clothing factory. They supported two kids (plus an orphan they took in for over 10 years) and did the best they could. No fancy anything. My grandma made most of her own clothes (which meant her polyester pants often matched her polyester shirts — see photo) and she’d cut up old panty hose and use them for rubber bands.
But when someone was in trouble or needed help — my grandparents were there. With food, shelter or whatever was needed. One of my favorite family stories was about their neighbors, the Bleiweiss family. Mr. Bleiweiss lost his job and was struggling to support his family. My grandparents knew he’d never accept money so they anonymously mailed him cash every week for months until he found work. It was money they didn’t really have to spare. But in their lives — you shared what you had. No matter what.
They did it without fanfare or the spotlight. They did it because it spoke of who they were as people. It was part of their brand.
Our companies need to step up to that example. I don’t care how new or small your business is — you can help someone. You can share what you have — time, talent, treasure (money). Serve on a board and share your expertise. Volunteer to sort food at a food shelter or serve a hot meal to the homeless. Tutor. Donate your product/service to a non-profit. If you have the resources to be reading this — you have enough that you can share.
You do it because it is the right thing to do. It’s always been my philosophy that if you give for the right reasons without looking for an angle or way to make money — the rewards will be there. Probably more than you could imagine or deserve. But it starts with a generous heart.
At McLellan Marketing Group, one of my expectations for every employee is that they are involved in some sort of community service. I could care less what the cause is. I care that they do it. And if an employee can’t embrace the idea of sharing of themselves, I know they are probably not going to be a good MMG team member.
Go on….share a little. Give back. It won’t hurt a bit.
Here’s the entire Marketing Tips from My Italian Grandma series, for your enjoyment: