There was a time, not so long ago, when the term “brand” applied almost exclusively to consumer products, such as Tide, Folger’s or Chevrolet. The brand was basically a name that distinguished one item in a particular category from another. Over time, consumers developed brand preferences based on a product’s characteristics, how it performed, how it made them feel and the level of trust they had that it would live up to their expectations. Brand became synonymous with reputation. And suddenly, the concept transcended advertising and essentially became the way we think of, or relate to, a company, an organization or even an individual.
As you can imagine, the United Way brand has been thoughtfully cultivated through the years and is carefully curated today. As an organization dedicated to helping people in need through a wide range of health and human services, it’s vital that our name evokes a spirit of goodness, grace and, of course, honesty and integrity.
Inasmuch as social media has changed the way people get information and form opinions, brands are often perceived based on how they’re presented on various media channels, such as Facebook or Instagram. With that in mind, Birmingham’s Rachel Awtrey, a rising social media influencer and podcast host, was selected to serve as a Brand Ambassador for United Way Worldwide. As a Brand Ambassador, her charge is to inspire, connect and empower her audience to drive social impact in the local community.
“I’m where I am because of other people helping and serving me, so I want to use my efforts, time and resources to help other people,” she said.
As a certified social media star, Awtrey has built a community of more than 9,000 followers on Instagram and uses her platform – including her blog and podcast Behind the Bliss – to foster community through tips and tricks in hopes of making peoples’ lives a little easier and more fulfilled. In that sense, she’s actually helping others better define their intentions in life and build their own personal brands. One way of doing that and becoming more involved in the community is to find your passion and volunteer.
But people are often hesitant to take that first step, said Awtrey. “A lot of people are confused about how to get started with volunteerism,” she said. “United Way sets up those opportunities on a silver platter! They have so many different ways for you to get started, and the staff is so knowledgeable that they make it easy to find the perfect opportunity for your interests and schedule.”
To browse current volunteer opportunities, head over to INVOLVE, United Way of Central Alabama’s online volunteer platform. Find what moves you. Be a part of something so much bigger than yourself by serving others. You just might discover a BRAND. NEW. YOU.