Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

The 4 Challenges of Cause Marketing

Posted on: May 21st, 2012 by Geoff Livingston 22 Comments

Downtown Chicago

Want to be my guest at the Cause Marketing Forum this May 30-31 in Chicago? The best comment wins a free registration worth $1,045.00 for a business or $795 for a nonprofit, compliments of Razoo (also cross-posted on Inspiring Generosity). A decision will be made tomorrow morning based on comments on both blogs.

Customers want brands to invest in marketing, that much is clear. There’s enough data out there that shows that people love brands that invest in their community’s general well being (skip ahead if you want to see the stats). Yet brands struggle weaving cause marketing and corporate social responsibility programs into the fabric of their marketing communications.

Some of the cause marketing problems facing corporate brands include:

Free eGuide on Cause Marketing via Social Media

Posted on: October 5th, 2010 by Geoff Livingston


Zoetica teamed with Network for Good to co-author Cause Marketing through Social Media, a free eGuide (you can download it here). The twenty page guide covers five basic steps:

  • The Basics
  • Frame the Campaign
  • Get People to Act
  • Build on Momentum
  • CSR In Times of Disaster

There are many types of corporate-sponsored social good campaigns of all types. Companies deploy matching grant contests that ask participants to rally the most donations for their favorite causes. Some prefer crowdsourced voting contests that reward the most popular charities with corporate grants. And others offer campaigns that ask people to pledge volunteer time, acts of kindness or donation dollars to achieve a common goal.

As the CSR movement evolves, companies will continue to leverage cause marketing initiatives to meet new, triple bottom line demands and create a halo effect for brands. The potential for online social good campaigns to achieve real impact – both in terms of return on marketing spend and return on social good – remains high, if companies are thoughtful and strategic in how they structure their cause marketing programs.

Cause Marketing is at its best when all the pieces – relevant cause, strong marketing proposition, and compelling call to action – come together. It’s difficult to do, but really worth it.

We understand the challenges and rewards of online social good campaigns and offer this eGuide to ensure that your company’s foray into online cause marketing thoughtfully achieves both your marketing goals (a positive impact on the bottom line) and your social good goals (real help for the community). If you seek to avoid the controversies that arise from misguided campaign planning and execution that can severely undermine brands in the public eye, keep reading!

P.S. Special thanks to Kate Olsen for spearheading this effort!

Return Cause Marketing to the Heart of Your Strategy

Posted on: May 18th, 2010 by Geoff Livingston 8 Comments
haagen dazs.jpg

So many organizations feel like they need bring causes into their marketing, and similarly, need to add social media to the mix. It’s a bit of a checklist game, and thus the quick drive to add a contest with online voting or simply create a cause purchasing campaign with a popular charity like Komen or a safe one like autism.

What’s often missing is an understanding of how causes can positively impact a corporate strategy and culture. Whether it’s furthering technology issues, addressing some of the ills a product creates, or simply rewarding your employees or customers with an investment in a cause that they care about, a smart cause marketing effort can infuse a corporate brand with some well needed positive karma.

In that sense companies need to look at cause marketing — particularly if it involves engaging customers online — as a tool. It’s one that allows the company to demonstrate acts of corporate social responsibility, and enable its stakeholders to feel a part of the larger enterprise. Like any tool cause marketing needs to reflect corporate strategy, and thus help execute it.

So strategy helps justify cause marketing online, but also maximizes opportunities for success. At the same time, it needs those things that make any communication to a stakeholder work — authenticity, transparency into why the organization is doing it, and frankly, well thought out programs that don’t contradict the intent.

Many marketing and nonprofit people critiqued a recent Komen/KFC campaign from both sides of the fence (check out Bill Sledzik’s excellent discussion). The reality was the intent may have been outstanding on both parts: Fight the impact of fried chicken as applied to obesity via one of the most storied brands out there, combating a disease that weight gain provides a contributing factor, and do it with the largest donation ever to that brand ($8 million). But because the money was funded through fried chicken sales as opposed to grilled or other products, it seemed insincere.

Actions need to follow strategic intentions. When the tactical execution does, the results can be quite amazing.

Consider the fantastic success Haagen Dazs has experienced (case study by J.D. Lasica). Bees, in particular honey bees, are disappearing from our world. There are a few reasons scientists are debating, but the impact on our food supply cannot be underestimated.

Haagen-Dazs, which uses honey in its products, decided to combat the issue: “Honey bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of all the foods we eat, including many of the ingredients that define our all-natural ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurt and bars.” This is a natural tie to the corporate mission, while creating an obvious corporate social responsibility tie. Haagen-Dazs launched a microsite and a Twitcause campaign through the #HelpHoneyBees hashtag, raising $7,000 in two days last November (”Bee Buzz generated: 643,748 tweets”).

Not bad from a branding standpoint, and you never really saw any criticism of Haagen-Dazs for this. It was an obvious win–win-win, for the bees, for customers and for the company. This was an optimal cause marketing program for the 21st century.