Cause Marketing Insights

Browse this collection of cause marketing advice, opinions and trends below.
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Win Win for the Greater Good

There’s a reason “marketing” is part of cause marketing
Sue Tobias, Mission Measurement

Timex Asks Runners: Who Needs A Cell Phone?

#GivingTuesday Partnership Toolkit

Unilever Promotes Handwashing Campaign Message Using Rotis
Leon Kaye
Mmm, roti. The king of South Asian unleavened flatbreads is a staple on the subcontinent, and of course, is ubiquitous in the best Indian neighborhoods from Artesia in Los Angeles to Singapore’s little India. And recently, these sublime carbohydrate bombs spread an important message about handwashing thanks to a Unilever campaign led by its timeless bar soap brand, Lifebuoy.

How Do You 'Like' That? Cause Marketing on Facebook CCV Overview
Edward B. Chansky, Esq.
The rise of social media has helped popularize cause marketing programs where a sponsor donates to a charity each time a consumer takes a totally free action --such as "liking" the sponsor's Facebook page-- without making any purchase.  Such programs pose interesting legal compliance questions. 
Is it a charitable sales promotion?   
A traditional charitable sales promotion offers goods or services based on a representation that their purchase will benefit a charitable organization or purpose.   In most states, the standard definition of a charitable sales promotion contemplates a sale as the trigger for regulating the offer.  While it is theoretically possible that some states could seek to stretch their charitable sales promotion laws to cover the "like" situation, that has not been the pattern of interpretation or enforcement to date.  Nor is there a strong policy reason for such interpretation or enforcement where consumers don't purchase anything, donate any money, or otherwise incur any cost whatsoever.  

Secret's Anti-Bullying Campaign Appears to Get Facebook Fans Engaged
Jack Neff
Racking up six- and seven-figure fan counts on Facebook is remarkably commonplace (with more than 100 brands now at a million or more fans and more than 500 with 100,000 so far). Getting fans to ever engage with a brand page again after falling in like with it is much less common.

But Procter & Gamble Co.'s Secret deodorant appears to be having unusual success generating engagement around a "Mean Stinks" program that combats bullying -- one that also appears to be helping brand sales.

Consumers are Drawn to Products with a Charitable Connection
Christie Garton
When 10-year-old Claire St. Peter of Kansas City, Mo., pointed out a pair of shoes she wanted to buy on a recent shopping trip, her mom was surprised. "It was this funny-looking pair of canvas shoes," says Anne St. Peter. "I said, 'Claire, they're strange looking. Why would you want them?'" But Claire thought it was clear why she needed the blue canvas Toms shoes. "I'd been seeing them on the streets," says Claire. "When my friend told me about their purpose — how buying a pair of shoes sends another pair to a kid in need — I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what a really cool purpose. I have to get involved in it!'"

The Next Wave of Good
Tamsin Smith
Forming creative collaborations that harness the resources of different sectors of society to address common concerns is a tall order. Girl Up and Product (RED) have each provided a commerce-driven model but more innovation must occur in this space.

Companies and Causes: Social Media Jumpstart a Marketing Revolution
Arianna Huffington
I was sitting in my hotel room the other night, savoring some Chivas whiskey. Not the actual whiskey, I'm more of an Earl Grey kinda gal. Instead, it was a commercialfor Chivas that was giving me a bit of a buzz. It begins with somber piano music, and then a voice-over comes on: "Millions of people, everyone out for themselves... can this really be the only way?" No, the commercial goes on, "here's to honor... and to gallantry." We then see images of various people doing the right thing, helping someone push-start a broken down car, tired firefighters after fighting a blaze. "Here's to doing the right thing," the voice says, and to the "true meaning of wealth."

It's a striking ad. And it's part of the most important trend in marketing: the recognition by businesses that there's much to be said for appealing to consumers' better instincts, and engaging them with something other than materialism, sex, money, and self-interest. And it's not a coincidence that this trend is escalating at the same time social media have risen to the forefront in the worlds of both marketing and activism. It's all part of the changing zeitgeist and it's only natural that forward-thinking companies would want to tap into it.

Right now, we're in the transition phase -- the marketing world still looks like a split-screen, with most companies going about things in the traditional way, but with many pioneering ones breaking new ground by building their brands while trying to help make the world a better place.

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Nicholas Kristof's Advice for Saving The World
Nicholas Kristof
What would happen if aid organizations and other philanthropists embraced the dark arts of marketing spin and psychological persuasion used on Madison Avenue? We'd save millions more lives.

Pepsi Bets on Local Grants, Not the Super Bowl
Jennifer Preston
What’s better than reaching more than 100 million viewers during last year’s Super Bowl? For Pepsi, it could be 6,000 football fans during a high school game on Friday night in central Texas. Or a group of parents who wanted a new playground in their Las Vegas neighborhood.

That is the bet that PepsiCo made when it walked away from spending $20 million on television spots for Pepsi during last year’s Super Bowl and plowed the money into a monthly online contest for people to submit their ideas and compete for votes to win grants.

Withdrawing from the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years and giving the money away for the Pepsi Refresh Project was considered a gamble by the beverage maker as it explored the potential of social media and cause-related marketing to make a difference in its business. But the company, despite accusations that some winners used questionable voting tactics, says it was a huge success and plans to expand it beyond the United States this year.

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How Brands Sell Customers Using Something That Isn't There
Simon Mainwaring
The New York Times featured an article this week on Barnes & Noble's use of a special iPhone app that allowed Brooklyn Decker, Esquire's sexist woman alive, to appear in the store aisles. Ms. Decker wasn't actually there but by using GPS technology developed byGoldRun customers could see her in various poses in over 700 stores.  As exciting as this was for Barnes & Noble customers, what it portends for marketers is potentially staggering.

In the near future the virtual and real world will blend to an unprecedented degree enabled by augmented reality applications on smart phones. Here are a few possibilities (including one for cause marketing):

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Timberland Finds Itself, With Earthkeepers
Karl Greenberg
Timberland's riches to rags to (maybe) riches story is about how the benighted outdoors brand let itself become defined by popular culture as a hip-hop shoe, then suffered when hip hop moved elsewhere. And the tale follows the brand out of the woods back to its original idea by engaging with people in new ways with traditional and social media.
The company's chief brand officer for Timberland, Mike Harrison, delineated the hike back from the desert at the Argyle CMO Leadership Conference in New York on Thursday. The company, with over $1 billion in annual sales of its shoes and clothing in 81 countries, needed to find a way to talk about its social responsibility efforts and use of recycled materials and renewable energy -- but without preaching. Harrison says the idea to produce an Earth-friendly sub-brand, Earthkeepers, came from a Timberland effort in China to reforest an overgrazed part of the Mongolian Steppes by planting one million trees.

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Cause Marketing: Five Tips for Mobilizing Employees
Nicole Robinson
For one week last fall, almost 23,000 Kraft Foods employees in 56 countries planted community gardens, built playgrounds, served nutritious meals and packed food for hungry families during the corporation's second annual Delicious Difference Week, Oct. 4 to 9.

As part of Kraft Food's ongoing commitment to fight hunger and encourage healthy lifestyles, we use the power of our people and our partners to make a difference in the communities where we live and work.

When we started this program in 2009, more than 12,000 employees in 33 countries stepped up to help. In 2010, we doubled turnout—thanks, in part, to these five strategies.

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Return on Engagement: Learnings from the TELUS Facebook Go Pink Campaign
Lesa Ukman
In early September, TELUS launched a promotion offering to donate $1 for each Facebook user who turned their profile picture pink to Canadian health organizations for the purchase of digital mammogram machines. The donation amount was capped at $50,000.
Planned as a six-week campaign, the idea spread like wildfire. Within 72 hours, 50,000 Facebook users had visited TELUS’s Facebook page, downloaded its “Go Pink, Pass It On” app, and turned their pictures pink.

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The Best & Worst Local Cause Marketing Programs of 2010
Joe Waters
Blogger and cause marketer Joe Waters combed through his Selfish Giving blog archives and came up with the best and worst local cause marketing programs of 2010.

"I took the unprecedented step of not including any of my own cause marketing programs. (I know, I’m as disappointed as you are.)

Here are the seven best local cause marketing programs for 2010."

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Ten Words for a Year in Cause Marketing
Cone, LLC
It was a banner year for cause marketing as companies, nonprofits, academics, media, celebrities, government and consumers all turned up the dial on cause. New players included Pepsi and Panera, who have redefined the cause model. It was considered dead and then resurrected. As 2010 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back to see what else the headlines revealed about cause marketing in 2010.

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Crowdsourced Philanthropy: If You Ain't Cheatin', You Ain't Tryin'
George Weiner
Al Davis, the owner of 1970s Raiders was willing to do anything and everything to win. He (allegedly) bugged the visiting team's locker room, watered the field to slow faster teams down, spied by helicopter, and used dirty pile tactics. The Raiders dirty reputation inspired Glenn Dickey to write Just Win, Baby, a book dedicated to Al Davis' approach to the game.

"If you ain't cheatin', then you ain't tryin' " still rings true in football today. Coaches still cover their mouths with their playbooks when talking for fear of lip readers on the other team and any player not on steroids is at a disadvantage. A little bendiness is apparently part of the unwritten rules of the game.

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An Interview with John Wolf about Cause Marketing
John Wolf

John Wolf, Senior Director of Public Relations at Marriott International discusses in an interview some of the strategic thinking behind the TownePlace Suites 'Make-a-Bed' Program.

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Busted Nonprofit Brand: Anatomy of a Corporate Sponsorship Meltdown
Nancy Schwartz

Many cause marketing bloggers criticized Buckets for the Cure, the 2010 program between Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Kentucky Fried Chicken.   Perhaps the most thoughtful and thorough posting was penned by Nancy Schwartz on her nonprofit marketing blog "Getting Attention."

The Ten Most Influential Cause Marketing Campaigns
Thousands of programs designed to do well by doing good have been launched by businesses and nonprofits over the last 30 years. Many have been short-term and pedestrian, while others have been inspiring and impactful.

Where is Cause Marketing Headed in 2010: Mike Swenson
Mike Swenson

Barkley CMO Mike Swenson explores where cause marketing is headed and suggests strategies and tactics for success.

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Defending Cause Marketing: Selfish Giving Responds to "The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing"
Joe Waters

CM expert Joe Waters and readers of his Selfish Giving blog respond to "The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing," an article in The Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing: Stanford Social Innovation Review
Professor Angela Eikenberry

In this 2009 Stanford Social Innovation Review, Professor Angela Eikenberry of the University of Nebraska at Omaha offers a critique of cause marketing.  Its "hidden costs" include "include individualizing solutions to collective problems; replacing virtuous action with mindless buying; and hiding how markets create many social problems in the first place."

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Turning Intangible Benefits into Tangible Cash

A key element in delivering value to a corporate sponsor rests in placing the sponsor's message before a significant number of people. Advertising agencies in particular will want to quantify the number of impressions the sponsor will receive through a sponsorship, just as they would measure the number of people who would see an advertisement placed in a magazine. For example, how many people in the stadium will be able to see the sponsor's billboard? If the event is telecast, how many additional people will get a glimpse of the billboard? The anticipated audience for a message can be calculated and this tangible, measurable benefit compared to the cost.

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The Science Behind Our Generosity
Peter Singer

For Goodness Sake: Legal Regulation and Best Practices in the Field of Cause Marketing
Edward B. Chansky, Esq.

Water Use It Wisely: Lessons on Corporate Social Marketing

Prof. Michal Strahilevitz on RED
Prof. Michal Strahilevitz

Cause-related marketing is not just about the short-term sales benefits and immediate fund raising. My research shows that CRM can also help marketers to gain long-term brand loyalty as well as improved employee morale. Similarly, the cause being promoted can gain more than the money raised—they also gain publicity that can lead to more donations unrelated to the campaign. Consumers can also gain by feeling better about their purchase choices.

No Charity, No Glory: Teams, Leagues Embrace New Social Consciousness
Kurt Aschermann, President, Charity Partners, LLC
Why would a team or league care whether the community at large considers it a good citizen? Try ticket sales, revenue and advertising, which are what drive these organizations.

A Look at Loyalty: Q&A with Whirlpool Corporation
Cori Cunningham

Corporate Social Responsibility
Philip Kotler & Nancy Lee

The cause marketing world is awash in jargon – some of it descriptive, some of it confusing, little of it universally accepted.

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Strategic Entertainment Alliances: Doing It Right
Scott Pansky

When developing a cause-related marketing campaign, one of the biggest challenges is involving major stakeholders i.e. customers or end consumers, your local community, and employees. Making a program stick can be very challenging because advertising dollars, point of purchase, direct mail and public relations can’t always influence the purchasing power of the public. These tools establish awareness for the campaign and or alliance, but the true key is creating elements that influence the end user to participate in the campaign.

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Consciousness-Raising, Hair-Cutting Experience
David Hessekiel

What we can learn from a little girl's donation of a ponytail to Locks of Love.

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Mixing Celebrities and Cause Marketing: Tips from a Pro
Rita Tateel

Celebrity expert Rita Tateel's top tips for working with celebrities.

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On Cause Branding
Carol Cone

Cone Inc. founder Carol Cone describes the benefits to companies that integrate social commitment into their business strategy and suggests best practices to develop sustainable and impactful initiatives.

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The Ten Commandments of Cause-Related Marketing
Kurt Aschermann

Cause-related marketing is a partnership between a for-profit and a nonprofit where each has something to offer the other, and both realize a benefit. When you select a potential partner that has a natural affinity with your nonprofit, the result can be added revenue, increased media exposure, public relations, or all three—for both partners.

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