Imagine hiking to the top of a mountain that is named after a seasonal beer. At Highland Brewing Company, that is part of the job description. This experience is offered to the public five times a year. It’s led by a member of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, which educates hikers about the history and the wildlife of the area. These beers bear the names of the mountains the hikers have just climbed. All of this is part of Highland’s important work to preserve these areas for generations to come. It’s business. With a cause!
Realizing it is easier to protect a mountain from urbanization than to move it to a safer place, the team at Highland partnered with the conservancy to maintain the natural beauty of this region and to improve the quality of water in the many rivers in Asheville, NC.
Oscar Wong, the founder, has infused the company with a sense of adventure that attracts people who value the environment. Both employees and customers have grown to love Highland because of their cause and values. This partnership between company and cause is successful thanks to a company culture that focuses on community and personal growth.
I had the honor of interviewing Drew Stevenson who started volunteering at Highland Brewing Company over five years ago. He stuffed pamphlets from the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy into cases of Highland beer. He was then hired as a case stacker in the warehouse, until his passion for community work shifted his job description. Now, Drew is the Director of Community Outreach, and the mission to protect the mountains and wildlife in the area is one of the driving forces at Highland.
A similar pamphlet (i.e., cause) is still placed in twelve packs of Highland’s seasonal beers. It is very important to Drew that customers understand the cause Highland believes in.
Through their dedication to employee development and community service, Highland stays true to their values, despite rapid growth in their industry and city. It is easy to understand why employees like Drew are so eager to share their stories, and why so many people love their beer.
Highland’s conservancy work shows that aligning a company with a cause is most effective when both organizations benefit from shared resources. The Conservancy utilizes Highland’s distribution system to raise awareness and host events, and the brewery gains cleaner water, a clear sense of company priorities, and employees that value the work they do every day.
What does your company do to help the community you work in? How could your Cause Marketing help make work more meaningful for real people?
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