The 4 Challenges of Cause Marketing

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:
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The Return of the Blog Roll

keep it rolling
Image by Rod Senna

Surely you have seen the many studies, articles and posts (see Gini’s take) — including a couple on this blog — over the past few months about corporate blogging’s decline. In thinking about the matter, I decided to reverse my personal decision to exclude a blog roll here.

The best way to support blogging is to highlight your favorite reads as often as possible. While I do this every hour during the business day on Twitter, these blogs seem to get shared the most on my feed. Of course, there are many great blogs out there, so feel free to add them in the comments. And you can always visit my blog roll on the first column to the right.

Here are the blogs:

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Lost Your Social Edge? Try JugnooMe


I made the above video at the suggestion of JugnooMe

Normally I am skeptical of web-based solutions like Klout and PostRank that claim to make better social media voices. When my friend and colleague Danny Brown announced JugnooMe, a web based solution that “levels the playing field for the benefit of all,” I opened my mind. JugnooMe promises that small business and nonprofits can use the solution to optimize and further their social presence.

When I started using the application, I was impressed. The list of JugnooMe tasks were strong suggestions that based on my experiences would strengthen a brand’s presence with real community.

It was also a bit disconcerting. See, it made me realize how sloppy and indifferent I have become about my social presence. The tasks were a bit of cold water in the face, and I could see that I had been coasting for a long time. So I started responding more frequently on social networks, and in blogs.
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Listen to the Fifth Estate for Free

Geoff Livingston & The Fifth Estate

In the past three days, Chapters 6 and 7 of Welcome to the Fifth Estate have been podcasted, completing the reading of the book. Welcome to the Fifth Estate is now available for listeners in its entirety for free. Below please find a list of podcast episodes.

In addition to making the book available for free, the next few weeks include three live virtual appearances:

If you’d like to discuss the book and any of its topics, please join one of these conversations. The first two promise to be wonky and fun (see video on Danny’s blog), and the latter webinar should help folks get down to brass tacks. Hopefully, these podcasts and the information contained in the book are useful to you.

Thank you for being such a great community of readers!

Nine Guest Posts on Social Media

Geoff Livingston & The Fifth Estate

Due to the late release of Welcome to the Fifth Estate, the opportunity to coincide the book with last Spring’s speaking engagements was lost. In lieu of a book tour, it seemed appropriate to go on a blog tour.

The following nine blog posts are Fifth Estate themed social media pieces about different subject threads in the book. Thank you Adam, Jason, Jesse, Danny, Allyson, Gini, Frank, Team Mashable and Brian for the opportunities.

This ends the guest blog tour, though there is more great Fifth Estate stuff coming!

Advisory: Google+ Begins Booting Brands

google plus
Image by Sean MacEntee

by Danny Brown and Geoff Livingston

Much has been said about marketing on Google+. Both of us have been intentionally conservative about marketing on the new network due to a statement from Google+ specifically asking businesses and brands to wait until it formalized its business offering. This offering is rumored to include an open API for applications and data usage. Yesterday, a confirmed report from KCET-TV in LA surfaced that Google+ community managers are enforcing the brand “no fly zone.”

To date, ABC News Radio, LAUNCH and Boing Boing have all been removed, or have voluntarily taken down their Google+ profiles. In the face of complaints about brands being unceremoniously dispatched, community managers have indicated that Google+ will focus on optimizing interaction between people first.

Dewitt clinton google plus
Image from KCET-TV

Both Bonsai Interactive and Zoetica represent real brands, corporate and nonprofit. We are posting this advisory to provide clear guidance for our clients and network on how to approach Google+ during this interim phase:

1) Do not invest in formal brand marketing on Google+. As we have seen, Google+ is now policing its network and you risk losing your entire time investment. Further, until the business offering is created by Google, no one really knows how corporations and nonprofits can successfully navigate this new social network. In essence, until Google+ for business is released efforts are likely to be all for naught.

2) Do experiment on Google+ and learn how the network works using your personal profile. It’s too soon to formally say that Google+ will be a significant consumer network, but with reports of 18 million followers and growing, momentum indicates the network is succeeding. Further, as demonstrated by its policing of the network, Google is clearly focused on community first. Becoming knowledgable through participation on Google+ is prudent at this point.

3) Be wary of marketing services firms and individuals who are seeking paid fees for Google+ marketing insights. Again, per the first point, no one really knows how to market on Google+. Investing financially in Google+ is not a good use of resources until finite offerings are available. Ethically speaking we would not charge our clients for advice and strategies in the face of such uncertainty.

Google+ is starting field trials with brands in the immediate future. As Google works through the kinks and formalizes its offering, it is a great time to become comfortable with the social network.

Many of our fellow bloggers are openly sharing their insights and learning together in a fashion we have not seen in years. Enjoy this time, friends. This kind of new social network launch is unprecedented.

Editor’s Note: Just before publishing this post, NBC voluntarily pulled down its Google+ profile.