I recently found myself in a situation I had not been in for many years, sitting in the back of an elementary school classroom. Thankfully, my visit has nothing to do with Common Core math. Rather, my fellow Cricket Wireless ambassadors, other members the Cricket team and I are here for a much more exciting reason. The students in the classroom where we now find ourselves squirm in their tiny desks in anticipation of a special visitor. They don’t know exactly who is coming, all they know is that a professional musician will be taking over their music class today and there’s a huge drum set sitting in front of them, a welcomed departure from the recorders they typically practice on. They gasp collectively every time the classroom door opens and sigh in disappointment every time it turns out to be just another one of their teachers.
Earlier in the day, my team and I were at Hispanicize, a conference where Latino influencers and newsmakers gather to network, collaborate and learn from each other. On this particular day, Cricket Wireless has sponsored Hispanicize’s Latinovator Lunch where Sheila E., one of the most accomplished Latinas in music, is to be honored. Sheila E. has done so much throughout her career, paving the way for other Latina musicians. Not only is Sheila E. a Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and producer, she is also one of the greatest percussionists I have ever had the pleasure of seeing perform.
As part of recognizing her for all of her accomplishments, Cricket Wireless surprised Sheila E. with a donation to her charity, the Evaluate Hope Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing abused and abandoned children an alternative method of therapy through music. Now we’ve all come to this little classroom at Southside Elementary School in Miami where Sheila E. is about to walk in the door and treat these students to the music lesson of a lifetime.
When Sheila E. makes her entrance, the children can hardly contain themselves. She asks the students if any of them can play an instrument. Many of them start waving their recorders in the air while others share that they are taking guitar or piano lessons after school. Sheila begins to select students to come up for one on one instruction on the drums. Of course, they’re all naturals! To close out the lesson, Sheila asks the kids to play a song on their recorders, with her accompanying them on the drums. Their excitement is so contagious, many of them even ask Sheila if they could please have a hug before she goes. Sitting in the back of that classroom, I can’t help but get misty eyed, I’m so humbled to be a part of this experience.
As a blogger, I occasionally work with companies to help them spread the message about their brand. They put their trust in me because YOU put your trust in me. I take that trust very seriously and am extremely picky about the brands that I work with, which is why you will never see me promoting anything that I don’t already use and/or think would bring value to your lives. Because well…
…I love you guys!
I also want to stress that my affiliation with brands often extends so much further than the products and services they provide. I’ve said for many years that every time we make a purchase, we are also making a statement. It’s easy to overlook the fact that by buying that latte or handbag, you’re not only showing your support for that brand’s goods, but for their other interests as well. What are that brand’s values? What causes do they care about? Upon making a purchase, your dollars will help to support these things, so it’s worth taking the time to know what your favorite brands stand for.
I enjoy an advantage that many other consumers do not and that is the benefit of getting to know the people behind the brands. During our time at Hispanicize, my fellow Cricket ambassadors and I gathered with the brand advocates of Aio, a wireless company that has merged with Cricket Wireless to form the new Cricket. I know and love my Cricket team very well, and was curious to see what the people from Aio would be like. I was pleasantly surprised to find that we all have so much in common.
Both Cricket and Aio believe in creating good by doing good in the community, bringing value to their customers, and encouraging creative, innovative people to live out their passions. You see…
…to the people behind the new Cricket, this is more than just a company, this is a passion project.
By now you know about Cricket’s “Ask The Experts” series, where you are given access to lifestyle pros from every walk of life to help answer all of your questions about personal finance, travel and everything in between. Aio put together a project of their own where they collaborated with some amazingly creative people to create branded products based on their work. It was called their “Insipiration Series” and the people they chose for this project truly are inspiring. People like Marco Torres, an awesome photographer out of Houston who I had the pleasure of meeting in person. Check out the video below:
I loved the concept behind Aio’s inspiration series. I would love to do a similar project here on the West Coast! There are so many creative individuals out here doing inspiring work.
I’m really excited to see what’s on the horizon for the new Cricket Wireless, so stay tuned!
But before you go, I want to know…
How do brands earn and keep your trust? Leave a comment below.
Xoxo – N