Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, VP of strategy at Savage Brands, and my guest today is Thao Costis, CEO of SEARCH Homeless Services. So Thao, so glad that you’re on Brandonomics.
Thao: Thank you for having me back.
Robin: Yes well welcome and I loved learning specifically about SEARCH Homeless Services but there’s even a bigger issue that you have at hand is you’re not just charged with communicating the messaging around SEARCH, but this idea to the general public about homelessness in general and what that means truly. Because most of us have our own kind of preconceived perceptions about what homelessness stands for and what the solution may be. So how are you looking at some of the challenges in your role in terms of how are you educating the general public around this idea of homelessness?
Thao: Yeah, this had been a lifelong – as far as our organization – challenge in that it’s hard to appeal to the public because homelessness does not look pretty and so people do have these judgments. And so we’ve tried different things from of course at our luncheon it is speaking to the issue and sharing about the myths and the facts of situations to help defray that. And one of the things that we’re working on right now is developing a diagram – an info-graph so to speak – to explain what happens when somebody becomes homeless – what are the causes of homelessness – and how most people are able to get back on to their own feet. But then there are others that get stuck and so what are the answers for each of these populations and what works and what doesn’t.
Robin: So tools like these help from an educational standpoint because it shows where a solution may have long term benefit; how important is it for you to enable your board, your employees with tools like these so that they can be sharing the message?
Thao: It’s very important because I think there are so many complexities about homelessness and there is so much data going on that it’s hard for somebody who’s not living it, breathing it and doing it every day to be able to say to their friend, their neighbor or their coworker that here’s some project who’s helping the homeless that you really ought to be engaged in and support. And when they start asking questions about it it’s hard for people to explain all of that. So I think this would be a great tool.
Robin: I think sometimes as marketers and communicators we sometimes rely too much on the official communications but word of mouth is still very important too and I think that’s what you’re sharing here.
Thao: Absolutely. Yes, for us that’s been the most effective is the word of mouth because you trust the person that you’re listening to and so when you’re getting a generic message it kind of goes by the wayside. But yes, hearing it from somebody else who you have a relationship and you care about, you might care about their issues too.
Robin: That’s an important reminder, thank you so much.
Thao: Thank you.
Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.
brought to you by