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The ball’s in our court. And we’re using it to create a better world

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20 December 2016

Zaid Al-Qassab

Blogs by author:  Zaid Al-Qassab , Chief Brand & Marketing Officer, BT

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It’s no secret that belief in a brand is important for today’s consumer. In fact 91% of them expect companies to do more than make a profit. They expect brands to run their business responsibly and to help tackle social and environmental issues. 

Zaid Al-Qassab, Chief Brand & Marketing Officer, BT
Zaid Al-Qassab
Chief Brand & Marketing Officer, BT

For us, purpose isn’t just a set of initiatives divorced from our business operations – it runs through the heart of our brand. Our purpose – to use the power of communications to make a better world – defines how we go about our work and unites us with our customers.

And to truly engage our customers, we need to do so on their terms, in their language. We need powerful platforms of change. Like sport.

We know the powerful impact of sport isn’t limited to what we see on courts, tracks and pitches. So that’s why we’re bringing together our people and our customers through sport. To make positive changes to society and the environment — in a number of ways.

Supporting a cause.
By adding donations to their BT Sport subscriptions, our customers have raised over £6 million. They’ve done that using The Supporters Club, which we run in partnership with Comic Relief. The money has gone towards helping kids do better at school, tackling exploitation and abuse, and creating skills and job opportunities.

The Homeless Football Association is just one example of The Supporters Club’s work. It gives homeless people in England the opportunity to get on the pitch and play football. More than 300 people have taken part in training. And the best players had the chance to go to Amsterdam to compete in the Homeless World Cup.

Driving sustainable behaviour.
Last year we made a global call for sports fans to take action on sustainability. The 100% Sport campaign, launched with Sir Ben Ainslie, encourages fans to use renewable energy, change the way they travel to games, and spread the word among their friends, clubs and teams.

The results are still coming in, but the word is spreading fast. On Twitter alone, 100% Sport had more than 200 million impressions in the first five months. And as part of the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth last July we reached an audience of 437 million.

Raising money together.
Through MyDonate (our online fundraising platform) we offer UK fundraisers a way to make sure more of the money they raise goes to the people and causes that matter to them. We don’t take commission and there are no set-up fees.

Individuals can make the most of our easy-to-use technology. And charities get secure online payment processing, call centres and technical support for major telethons and online appeals.

We know people care. Last year through MyDonate we raised nearly £60m and more than 900 BT volunteers supported our biggest charity telethons.

Ready for the next round.
Each of these interactions with sport, are an interaction with our brand. But more than that, they’re a connection between our customers and why we turn up for work.

When it comes to driving responsible and sustainable business behaviour, our goalposts never stop moving. We’re delivering our purposeful business targets. And we’re constantly challenging and re-imagining what we can achieve together.