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The ongoing branding challenge – clarifying, communicating and connecting a brand’s purpose to create action

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Being the keeper of a 70-year-old brand is a big responsibility; one that comes with its own challenges. Robin Tooms interviews Kym King, Vice President of Public Relations at Goodwill Houston to talk about how brands can better communicate mission and purpose to connect with customers and create action.

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 Kym King, Vice President of Public Relations at Goodwill Houston. So Kym, welcome to Brandonomics.

Kym: Robin thank you so much, I am thrilled to be here.

Robin: Well I’m glad you’re here because you are the one that’s really in charge of the brand here at Goodwill Houston and I just want you to share with us what your biggest brand challenge is right now.

Kym: Well first of all let me say it is an enormous responsibility to be the keeper of such an important and longstanding brand. You know, Goodwill Houston had been here for 70 years; as a national brand Goodwill Industries International has been here over 100 years you know. And people know our brand; it’s usually hard pressed to go anywhere in Houston or anywhere in the United States and say the name Goodwill and people not know what you’re talking about. The challenge that we have brand-wise is getting people to really understand our mission; they know the stores, they know the donation centers. When you ask them what does Goodwill really do it gets a little fuzzy. They know we do well, they know we do good in the community but that’s our biggest challenge; to really get people to understand that Goodwill is all about jobs. Creating jobs, helping people find jobs and especially people who have barriers to employment.

If you are an individual with a disability, if you are an older worker, if when you were in high school you did something silly and got a juvenile record, if you were formerly incarcerated and you’ve paid your debt to society; we specialize in helping people who have difficulty finding jobs.

Robin: Well this gap between knowing and understanding that you mentioned is actually really profound and I’m curious how you connect the dots between the two for everyone.

Kym: It’s an ongoing creative challenge and I have to say I have a great team at Goodwill and this is what we talk about, this is what we strategize about, this is what we brainstorm about every single day. So one of the ways that we’ve done this Robin is we’ve created a slogan that is – I think it gives people the brand mission in a nutshell. So you ready?

Robin: Ready.

Kym: Donate + Shop = Jobs. When you donate to Goodwill the money that we generate by selling your items goes to creating jobs and helping people find jobs. And so one of the ways we’ve done that is to say that over and over again; in fact we’ve now begun to create that in a real visual way with our stores and our donation centers and our job connection centers. We have a donation center, a store, a job connection center all together and so when people visit our locations they actually get to see Donte + Shop = Jobs live and in person right there in front of them.

Robin: That’s great; make it memorable, let them experience the brand the way that you want them to see all the connections and that’s how you do it.

Kym: Absolutely.

Robin: I appreciate you sharing that, thank you.

Kym: You’re welcome.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Through nine job connection service centers and many grant-funded programs, Goodwill Houston provides job training and placement services to people with barriers to employment. This includes veterans, older workers, youth, the formerly incarcerated and, of course, individuals with disabilities. Whether you donate your gently used items, shop at our stores, volunteer your time, or give through our various fundraising activities and events, your generosity helps change a life.

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If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with their customers, and differentiate themselves from their competition, then let’s start a conversation.