Company ProfilesFranchise PhilanthropyMay/June 2023Previous Issues

Giving Back: 360 Degrees of Philanthropy

Image360’s signs of community commitment go further than common social corporate responsibility

by Daniel McIntosh

For the average Image360 franchise partner, business and philanthropy go hand in hand. The brand’s signage usually marks the promotion of charity events, fundraisers, and hospital drives. Burke Cueny explains that Image360 franchisees live in the same communities in which they work, so helping these communities is second nature.

As the executive vice president of marketing for Alliance Franchise Brands, Image360’s parent company, Cueny directs the marketing functions related to the provision of custom graphic solutions for businesses and organizations, overseeing everything from vinyl window graphics to promotional displays and even community-oriented signage for hospitals and ADA-required institutions.

“Image360 sets a good example for its franchise members in the things we do at the brand level to encourage community support,” says Cueny.

Image360’s commitment to the communities it serves might show up in the form of a monetary donation, awarding of graphics services, or discounts on signage, but sometimes it appears as just another set of hands on deck. “Sometimes it’s just pure donation of labour for a particular charity of choice by the franchise, where they’ll donate staff time and the owner’s time as well for a particular franchise effort.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while medical services were stretched beyond capacity and support staff were stressed, Image360 built thank you signage around hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities. “We reached out to recognize the people that work hard, long hours during the pandemic,” says Cueny.

In other instances, promotional goals align with fellow organizations, leading to an added value for Image360 beyond services provided.

Such is the case with the brand’s partnership with Project Jade. The organization focuses on creating communication boards for high-interaction facilities, such as playgrounds, hospitals, schools, and parks, often designed to make communication easier for autistic children. In partnerships like these, Image360 supplies signage at favourable pricing.

A similar support campaign ran last year as a national sweepstakes called Image360 Gives. Charities, hospitals, and non-profit organizations submitted a description of their needs to Image360, which then conducted a random draw that awarded winners $500 toward their future signage. Among the recipients were a community theatre, a local healthcare clinic, and a pet adoption agency.

“We’re always looking for ways that we can give back and lend a helping hand to local non-profit organizations, and the Image360 Gives sweepstakes has done just that,” says Cueny. “Through these awards, we are confident that the selected organizations will benefit from Image360’s resources and will be able to further their charitable mission in their communities.”

Franchisee-led efforts from around Image360’s base of franchises across the U.S. and Canada gain national attention from the franchise head office, as well. “I’m fully supportive of our Image360 franchise members supporting their local communities with causes they feel match up well with their local marketing and community relations strategies,” says Cueny.

With an already wide base of charitable efforts, Image360 looks toward the future by continuing to support agencies focused on social responsibility. Cueny says the pandemic hindered non-profits and philanthropic communities “because they were not able to be as active in fundraising as they had.”

Image360 is looking to fill that gap by growing their efforts to become bigger and better. “Our visibility in the communities, from a charitable standpoint, will be increasing in the coming months and years.”

Although the brand’s main charitable offering is signage, person-to-person communication is still important. To get the word out about their activity, Image360 relies on the public relations know-how of All Points PR, while also using classic social media.

“We also help our franchise members deploy email campaigns to their customer lists,” adds Cueny. “Sometimes we work with them to craft custom messages about what they’re doing in the communities to let other customers know about it, potentially leading to those customers getting involved in what we’re doing.”

Cueny says that people, customers and clients especially, are more community focused than ever, and Image360 strives to be a standout community member. “That means forming relationships with individuals in the business, charity, and educational communities,” notes Cueny. “There’s an obligation to show respect and help the communities that we live in.”