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Serving the Greater Good: WBIR Partners with the Urban League on Shoes for School 

In partnering with the Urban League of Knoxville, TEGNA’s WBIR 10News helped to supply more than 3,000 children with back-to-school supplies and loads of confidence as they head back to class. WBIR’s Marketing Director, Sarah Webster, explains why this type of cause marketing is so valuable for the kids in the community and for brands looking to amplify their social responsibility efforts and make a difference. 

Meredith Cunningham Published: September 9, 2022

At TEGNA, our purpose of serving the greater good of our communities goes beyond keeping our audience informed and safe – our civic pride shines in our work to make our communities better places to live and work.  

For kids all across Knoxville, Shoes for School is an event that gives them the supplies – and the confidence they need as they head into the new school year. In a partnership with the Knoxville Area Urban League, TEGNA’s WBIR 10News was able to help supply more than 3,000 children with everything from a new pair of shoes, backpacks, haircuts, and even COVID vaccinations.  

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years because each year we understand more people are challenged economically, and you never want a child to start school not being prepared,” says Phyllis Nichols, CEO of Knoxville Area Urban League. “Our impact is when those kids and that family and all the other families start school on Monday, and they’re armed with confidence and the same tools as the other kids in the class.” 

 To help promote the event, 10News ran on-air promos encouraging viewers to donate, volunteer, and text for more information. Better yet, 25 station employees volunteered at the event and the entire week leading up to it, which included sorting and labeling shoes, packing backpacks, loading trucks, and, the best part – handing out the supplies to kids at the event.  

“Our station is known in the community as one that cares and is straight from the heart,” says Sarah Webster, Director of Marketing at WBIR 10News. “We know needs are changing as the community evolves, and it’s important to use our megaphone to help out where there’s the greatest need.”  

“It’s encouraging to see how many more people we helped this year. A pair of shoes is a basic need but also a confidence booster for many of these kids – they’re so thrilled when they get their new shoes,” says Webster.  

Held at Caswell Park in Knoxville on August 6, this year was the second WBIR sponsored the event and hopes to collect and donate even more supplies in 2023.   

“We love working with the Urban League,” says Webster. “We partner with them regularly to get the word out about what they do in the community, and we have a lot of fun. We’re already looking forward to doing it again next year.” 

What does this mean for your brand’s cause marketing efforts?  

For brand marketers and advertisers, leading with your brand’s purpose – or your brand’s why – can help deepen relationships and even grow revenue. The 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose research found 94% of global consumers feel it’s important to engage with brands with a strong purpose – like advocating for social justice, volunteering at an animal shelter, or donating to food banks.   

Meanwhile, Porter-Novelli found that 76% of consumers say that when a company leads with a purpose, they are more likely to trust and be loyal to that company. Additionally, more than two-thirds will purchase from a purpose-driven company over another when the cost and quality of two products or services are similar.   

But how do consumers discover a brand’s purpose? TEGNA’s megaphone and participation in community events is a good place to start. With a large and engaged audience interested in community events, TEGNA stations are uniquely positioned to amplify efforts and extend their news halo to community partners.  

“A brand spokesperson can stand in front of a camera and say they care about the community,” says Webster. “But it’s always going to be more impactful if you join in on events like Shoes for School and show boots in the ground and your social responsibility in action.” 

Now is the time for businesses to integrate social good into their marketing strategies – and TEGNA has hundreds of community initiatives your brand can align with.  

Sound Good? Contact TEGNA 

Our team of marketing experts is ready to help you amplify your brand’s approach to corporate social responsibility. Let’s get in touch.  

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