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Working with an international brand – keeping the larger perspective to add value to your local market

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

As an autonomous part of Goodwill Industries, an international organization, each local group has a certain responsibility to protect the brand. Robin Tooms interviews Steve Lufburrow, President and CEO, Goodwill Houston.

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 again is Steve Luftburrow, President and CEO of Goodwill Houston. So Steve I’m so glad you’re back on Brandonomics.

Steve: Robin thanks for having me, I love this show.

Robin: Well thank you Steve. I’m not sure if everyone knows that Goodwill Houston is actually part of a national brand. So it’s not just what’s happening around Houston, but Goodwill Industries as a national brand does shape some of the things that you’re doing here on a brand and marketing side; so I’m curious, how is that structured and how do you incorporate that in some of your decisions?

Steve: That’s an easy question and it is one that nobody really understands; we’re really now international. So we have 165 Goodwills across the United States and about 40 affiliates throughout the world; all of them are autonomous. So that means it’s run by a local board of directors who hire a person like me to carry on the happenings of Goodwill and we pay dues – a very small amount – to part of Goodwill, to use the name, to have any support – and what I’ve found is as a larger Goodwill we don’t need as much support as someone would in a smaller city as they would from the national office. But the brand – I call it the national office but it’s an international office but we’ve been calling it that forever – and the brand is really great when it’s a national/international brand until something happens in Washington State and it gets on the social media or the web, you know, at another Goodwill.

So we all have to carry ourselves in a way that protects this brand and this reputation throughout all the Goodwills across our country and in our world.

Robin: Well that’s an excellent point and I think maybe and part of that I also read that you just recently joined the Goodwill Industry’s national board for a new 3 year term so you definitely have a national perspective that you’re bringing to Houston now. So what does that change for you?

Steve: It’s very exciting for me. I was elected and so when you get elected to anything it’s kind of like really? And so it’s – I have a lot of knowledge about Goodwill nationally and internationally but what it is doing is opening up my scope a little bit because now it’s concentrated on the issues that are going on in our Goodwill movement. I think as a result of it I can be a better CEO, I will know more opportunity ways to serve people, but I also can protect that brand in a bigger way because I’m understanding now more than ever the importance of the brand of Goodwill.

Robin: Well that’s excellent advice, I’m so glad you shared that with us Steve.

Steve: Thank you.

Robin: Thank you. Well 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.