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04 Sep. 2018 | Comments (0)

PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings and specialty materials. Its signature community program, Colorful Communities, is a ten-year commitment to bring the company’s paint and brushes, passion, and colorful commitment to the entire PPG footprint, “helping to create more colorful learning environments and brighter futures for the communities we call home.” In this Q&A, Bryan Iams, PPG vice president of corporate communications, marketing, and government and community affairs, discusses the company’s highly focused approach to corporate philanthropy.

How did the PPG Colorful Communities strategy come to fruition?

PPG has a long history of giving back to the community, but it was never part of an overall focused, globally branded initiative. Our giving was historically spread out across many areas and we believed there was an opportunity to get more focused. For example, we were giving in the same areas as banks, energy companies, healthcare organizations, etc., so we were not differentiating ourselves or leveraging what makes PPG unique and different versus other companies. That was an important realization for us.  We thought, let’s create a giving program that is unique to us and fully leverages what we do: We make communities brighter by using our paint and the energy and expertise of our people. That thinking led us to create “Colorful Communities.”

Why is it important to align your community strategy so closely with your business?

For community programs to be sustainable, we believe it is important that our products and businesses are involved. It drives employee pride and it helps to elevate our brand and our product brands. By integrating the use of our products in all of these programs, we are leaving a lasting legacy that is good for us and our relationships with the people and families in these communities.  

What are the goals of Colorful Communities and how will PPG achieve them?

The mission is to identify important community assets such as schools, community centers, playgrounds, etc., around the world that could use a brighter and more colorful environment. We know a fresh coat of colorful paint can instantly transform a space in a positive way. PPG operates in more than 70 countries and during the 10-year program, we hope to paint community assets in every country where we operate. Since we launched the program in mid-2015, we have completed more than 150 projects in 25 countries. We have also impacted more than 4 million people who attend these schools and use the community centers every day. He is an example of a recent project in Turkey.  

How does PPG measure the social and business benefits of Colorful Communities?

We measure the effectiveness of Colorful Communities in several ways. We keep a scorecard that tracks the number of projects, countries with completed projects, people impacted, employee volunteer hours, gallons of donated paint, amount of money donated for STEM educational programming, social media impressions and earned media reach and results.   

Does PPG have any unique strategies for communicating about Colorful Communities?

Our mantra is simple: Maximize the moment. We surround each Colorful Communities project with a wide range of internal and external communications. Each project includes a news release, social media posts through all of our channels, photography, a video for storytelling, an internal article for all employees (47,000), a community event that day, and a check presentation at the projects where we also provide an educational grant. We’ve also developed ads, done public service messages, held an unveiling event with public officials and shared content via customer social channels when they participate in projects.

  • About the Author:Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson is Principal of Parky Communications, a communications agency specializing in sustainability and CSR reporting and communications. He serves as the Co-Leader of The Conference Board Cor…

    Full Bio | More from Alex Parkinson

  • About the Author:Bryan Iams

    Bryan Iams

    Bryan N. Iams is vice president, corporate and government affairs, of PPG. He joined PPG in October 2012 as vice president, corporate communications and marketing, and he assumed the additional respo…

    Full Bio | More from Bryan Iams


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