“2017 will be remembered as the year that redefined corporate social responsibility. Although CSR will always be grounded in business operations…the stakes have gotten a lot higher. Companies must now share not only what they are doing, but what they believe in.”
~ 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study
Cone Communications recently released the results of its annual CSR study, and as usual, it was packed with great insights for cause marketers. While a full breakdown of the study results can be found on Cone Communications’ website, I want to focus on three points in particular.
With sore backs and soaring spirits a group of dedicated staff and volunteers from Illuminate Coloradoplanted pinwheel number 2,009, completing their attempt to break a world record for most pinwheels in a line (the current record is 1,000). Illuminate Colorado, a network of four established organizations partnering to build brighter childhoods and prevent child abuse for kids in Colorado, successfully raised awareness for their cause with their world record attempt, securing local media coverage and reaching thousands of people in-person and across TV and digital channels.
Recently, GFM had the opportunity to work closely with a client interested in raising awareness for their brand and cause, but in a month crowded by other organizations looking to do the same, the real challenge was how to stand out. Together, we decided to attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records (Guinness) record with the goal of earning media coverage and gathering content to leverage on social media.
Like digging a trench in your yard, breaking a world record can seem straightforward, but once you start moving earth you might run into unexpected gas or sewer lines. It’s best to take time to consider what you’re getting into before you dig in. Here are our lessons learned. Read more after the jump…
Let’s be honest, chasing corporate sponsorships or charitable donations is a challenging job for both the nonprofit partner and the corporate partner. Wouldn’t it be nice to secure long-term partnerships that allow for building relationships, additional time for strategic planning, the ability to execute events and/or programs AND generate measurable results? YES!
I love this quote by Stephen Kinzer, “Alliances and partnerships produce stability when they reflect realities and interests.” Getting the stars to align is no small task. However, here are a few tips for moving things in the right direction for corporate giving teams and nonprofit partners:
This year, Patagonia announced that it would donate all Black Friday proceeds to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect natural resources like water, oil and soil. The company expected to rake in about $2 million across its 80 global stores and Patagonia.com. In reality, Patagonia recorded $10 million in revenue – five times what the company expected – and is still promising to donate 100 percent of that revenue to the environmental groups.
Millennials – they seem to be all the marketing world is buzzing about these days.
And for good reason. According to Dan Schawbel’s January 2015 Forbes article, “10 New Findings About The Millennial Consumer,” there are 80 million Millennials with $200 billion in annual purchasing power in the U.S. alone. No wonder companies are clamoring to find ways to engage them.
I recently read an Advertising Age article about Target’s new cause marketing campaign (launched July 13) in which, for every Up & Up brand school supply purchased between July 13 and Aug. 2, the retailer will donate one Up & Up brand school supply product to a child in need via the Kids In Need Foundation. While this tactic may not necessarily be new – in fact, here is a list of ten “Buy One, Give One” Companies – I’m intrigued by Target’s use of this approach to build awareness and share for a specific category within a specific brand. (This is an approach we are seeing more frequently as the “Buy One, Give One” model continues to grow in popularity. As indicated in this Winter 2014 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, companies such as Kiehl’s, Sephora, Whole Foods and Aveda have also introduced buy one, give one items.)
This week, more than 100 employees from Certified B Corporations around the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas volunteered in their communities, tangibly showing how they are using business as a force for good by “B-ing the Change” in Colorado. Similar efforts are taking place around the county, and the world as part of this global effort.
Colorado has an especially strong B Corp community with more than 40 local companies certified including New Belgium Brewing, Rally Software, Moye White, GoLite, Namasté Solar, Door to Door Organics, and the Gary Community Investment Company. Nearly all of the 40 companies in Colorado participated in this program throughout the week – a remarkable showing of how invested our businesses are in the communities in which we live, work and play. Read more after the jump…
Cause marketing is here to stay. That is the conclusion reached by Cone Communications in its recently released 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, which takes a comprehensive look at 20 years of cause marketing-related data. A few notable statistics right off the bat:
54 percent of U.S. consumers bought a product associated with a cause over the last 12 months, increasing 170 percent since 1993.
89 percent of Americans are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality, jumping nearly 35 percent since 1993.
91 percent want even more of the products and services they use to support a cause.
I had the opportunity to attend the third annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco conference in Austin last week – an offshoot of the SXSW brand focused on “innovative solutions taking us beyond sustainability.” Attendees ranged from business owners providing sustainable products and solutions to corporate sustainability managers from Fortune 500 brands. And while the rooftop gardens, sustainable product labeling and corporate social responsibility programs that were highlighted are more than impressive, there were several themes in each of the sessions I attended – and most of them are very similar to what marketing professionals face on a daily basis.
I recently came across an article on Forbes.com titled “Cause Marketing Coopetition on the Rise” by cause marketing guru David Hessekiel that I wanted to share here – because, to me, it really speaks to the true spirit of cause marketing (or at least what that spirit should be).