Don't feel like you can afford IBM?
You're probably right.
So if you're in need of cutting-edge marketing from someone ask.com called "a veteran of the cause-marketing wars," contact me Paul Jones, at aldenkeene[at]gmail[dot]com. And ask for the 'Big Blue Special'.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New IBM Consulting Offerings Help Clients Be Greener, More Ethical:
Improving Corporate Social Responsibility Can Grow Revenue, Market Share
SOMERS, NY -- 30 June 2008: New IBM (NYSE:IBM) consulting offerings can help clients understand and improve their societal impact – from carbon management to labor practices – increasing their competitive position and appeal to consumers and other interested parties.
“Operating a business ethically and environmentally is not only a requirement today, but also an opportunity – companies that demonstrate they adhere to the highest societal expectations of conduct have a significant advantage in attracting consumers, investors and talent,” said George Pohle, IBM vice president and global leader for business strategy consulting. “But in order to do that, companies must be able to accurately assess how well they meet those expectations now, and where and how to make improvements.”
The ability to meet these expectations has become critical, as people are watching company behavior more closely than ever on a whole range of issues – the environment, fair wages and workplace safety, international trade, product safety and reliability, philanthropy, and more. Empowered by the Internet, they are equipped or organize and act quickly to reward or punish brands depending on what they observe – deciding what to buy, who to work for, where to invest, and how business should be regulated.
IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Benchmarking Utility helps clients assess:
-- Whether they’re currently treating CSR as an expense or an investment;
-- The effectiveness of their environmental policies, labor practices, regulatory compliance, corporate values, and other CSR-related activities, and where they may have gaps;
-- How well they engage customers and other stakeholders to understand their concerns and to communicate CSR performance.
The benchmarking utility is based on data from a survey by IBM of c-level executives at more than 250 companies worldwide. The study, titled “Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Social Responsibility,” shows that 68 percent of the executives surveyed see CSR as an opportunity to grow revenue and 54 percent believe it gives them a competitive advantage.
But the report also shows some significant gaps in how companies are approaching CSR – more than three quarters of the executives surveyed admitted they don’t understand their customers’ concerns about CSR, and only 17 percent are even asking them. This indicates that many companies need to analyze and improve their CSR practices to ensure they line up with what customers and other key stakeholders expect.
In another survey conducted by IBM of more than 1,100 CEOs worldwide, the majority of respondents said they plan to increase their investments in CSR activities by 25 percent over the next three years. The key for them is to ensure they are investing in the right programs, policies and practices to meet the expectations of their stakeholders, and that is what these new consulting offerings from IBM are designed to help them do.
Based on what the benchmarking utility reveals about a client, IBM can use its CSR Strategy Assessment and Roadmap offering to help it improve its business processes and operations, address any shortcomings, and integrate CSR into its overall strategies and objectives.
IBM can then assist clients in a range of CSR areas, including:
-- Carbon footprint analysis and management;
-- Environmental procurement;
-- CSR policy development and monitoring for suppliers;
-- “Green” data center;
-- Information sharing and engagement with customers, shareholders, regulators
and advocacy groups;
-- Linking philanthropy to corporate strategy;
-- Diversity and labor practices;
-- Engagement with employees on CSR.
This is an example of IBM's focus on higher value services and innovative solutions to address client needs.
For more information about IBM’s global survey on CSR, go to: www.ibm.com/gbs/csrstudy
To learn more about IBM’s strategy and change offerings, visit: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/html/bcs_strategyplanning.html?re=gbs_fe_leftnav
IBM Media Relations
Of course I did my level best to dissuade them because who needs the competition, right?
But beyond that everyone that called thought that producing a telethon was a matter of setting up a telephone bank and hiring a camera crew.
They didn’t know about the $2 million budget, the crew of hundreds, the satellite uplinks and downlinks, the celebrity contract riders, the script of 40,000 words, and a million (no exaggeration) other details.
I'll never forget leading a CNN producer around backstage at the Children's Miracle Network telethon at Disney World and the look of awe on her face. It really was a big, complicated show.
All these years later, telethons are breathing their last, the victim of 500-channel universe and other modern challenges I’ve highlighted before.
Except that as I write this there is a multi-hour telethon called “From the Frontlines” from Moveamericaforward.org streaming on the Internet with the stated intent to send the ‘world’s largest care package’ to the US Troops in Iraq. Their fundraising goal is $500,000.
And they’re doing it on the cheap. It airs exclusively on the Internet on ustream.tv. The format is basically televised talk radio broken up by some interstitials. It looks like they have three cameras. Certain guests also have their own webcams. There’s no studio, just an office with a couple of cheap ENG lighting kits. The ustream.tv site frames the video with a live comment feed, making it more interactive than the time Elvis shot his TV when Robert Goulet appeared on the Mike Douglas Show.
It’s a product of Melanie Morgan and Michelle Malkin and a large group of the right of center talking heads and pundits in the United States. The telethon was promoted heavily on conservative talk radio.
This is a first year effort and I can’t find any evidence of sponsors, the bete noire of the few remaining few televised telethons. And, truth be told, because they’re doing this on the cheap, they don’t need sponsors the same way Jerry Lewis’s MDA Telethon does, to cite just one.
The sound is bad. The video is worse. And it's bogging down my Internet connection. Plus, the giving mechanism (which requires you to go to a different website) is awkward to say the least. But by damn I think I’ve just seen the future of telethons!
More on the easy-to-use technique that has fired the imaginations of geniuses and everyday blokes alike since before the Renaissance on my blog on Informal Learning called the Learner’s Guild.
At Staples right now is this inventive paper icon campaign for City of Hope, a research and treatment hospital in Southern California with a specialty in cancer.
It goes for the typical $1. When you scratch off the overprint, you get a bounce-back discount coupon for savings from $5 to $50 on subsequent purchases of specific items at Staples.
While there have long been coupon icons, they typically are much larger. This approach is simpler and smaller.
It’s also more versatile. It would be very easy to add a sweepstakes component. For instance, if City of hope has some kind of annual rallying point…a race, an event, a gala… the sweepstakes could bring some lucky winner(s) to the event. Although to be sure, laws in the United States would require a no-cost form of entry.
I don’t know what it costs to print these icons, but on first blush I expect that with 4 colors it’s more than with the standard issue paper icons. City of Hope’s website says the campaign began in January and that they’ve raised more than $385,000. I doubt that’s current.
I found the icons placed on the cashier counter with only a small table tent promoting them. There were no posters to be seen and the icon itself ‘wastes’ some space on the back with legalese. At the very least, City of Hope needs a sentence of description about itself and how the money will be used. The cashier didn’t ask me to buy one, I volunteered, suggesting that they don’t have sales incentives in place for cashiers.
Finally, in very busy retail environments this approach may be less than ideal, because a lot of customers, when they finish the transaction, will want to do what I did and scratch off the icon then and there.
I adore Cartier’s Love Charity bracelet cause-related marketing promotion.
When you buy one of their Love Charity bracelets they will support one of 24 charities with a donation of either $100 or $200 depending on which bracelet you buy.
There’s a lot of moving parts here but in the main the promotion consists of the following:
- The promotion supports the invented ‘Love Day’ 2008, which is today, June 19.
- Overall Cartier supports the charitable efforts of Action Against Hunger, a children's hunger charity. Cartier's support will go to AAH's effirts to feeding children in the cyclone-raved Burmese state of North Rakhine. Cartier’s commitment to Action Against Hunger runs for the next three years.
- In the United States, 24 celebrities (25 if you count country music husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill separately) from the world’s of music and film…along with Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel thrown in for good measure… have a bracelet themed to their chosen charity.
- The bracelets come in three versions: a single Cartier Love ring in pink or white 18K gold joined by a colored silk cord for $475, or two intertwined Cartier 18K gold love rings joined by a colored silk cord for $995. The color of the silk cord you choose determines which cause the donation goes to. The purple one shown above supports Academy Award-winning actress Julianne Moore’s chosen cause, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
- The website has more than a dozen sexy short films from French film director Olivier Dahan on a theme of love (and dubbed into English and other languages). Each short features Cartier jewelry in some way.
- Depending on which country you choose when you go to Cartier’s website, there is downloadable music playing from local artists. On Cartier’s U.S. website you can download tracks from Usher, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Hilary Duff, Eve, Ashanti and others. All those artists are among the 24 with themed Love bracelets.
- Naturally the website also prominently features Cartier’s larger Love collection of bracelets, rings, necklaces, and watches. (BTW, I just learned that Cartier invented the first wristwatch. Who knew?)
- In the U.S. there are two exclusive parties to support Love Day, last night in California and tonight in New York City. My invitation apparently got lost in the mail, but if you’re on the invitee list take some pictures and I’ll post them.
And what Cartier has done here is as spectacular as their jewelry.
I’m a marketing and communications consultant so will knowing this make my spreadsheets more fulsome. Will my analysis be more keen, my writing more incisive now that I know how to do the same?
For that matter is there any value in knowing stuff that isn’t directly related to one’s vocation?
The short answer is: yes.
I address how that's so in my blog on informal learning named The Learner’s Guild in a post called Knowledge as a Goal of Informal Learning.
I just became aware of a reporter that's looking for sources on gifts that give back along the vein of Ten Thousand Villages. If you can help her out, by all means contact her at the email below, but take note of her June 24 deadline.
All the best,
Paul Jones, President
Alden Keene & Associates
Summary: Gifts that "Give Back"
Name: Lauren Parker
Media Outlet/Publication: Accessories magazine
Specific Geographic Region? No
Deadline: 11:00 AM EASTERN - June 24
"I'm writing a holiday gift guide article on 'gifts that give back' in the accessories industry. Not just items that donate $$ to a cause after the fact, but rather companies that help set up womenaround the world to develop sustainable businesses (i.e.GlobalGirlfriend.com or TenThousandVillages.com), then sell the handmade items online or wholesale. If you represent any such organizations, please let me know!Thx! Lauren Parker"
While there are notable exceptions…General Mills comes to mind… companies generally employ the techniques of cause-related marketing tactically. But the methods of cause related marketing can also be woven into corporate strategy, as in the case of luxury goods maker Monique Pean.
Named for the eponymous designer and former investment banker, Monique Pean sells stunningly expensive jewelry in places like Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. The little bangle shown is made from 25,000 year old fossilized woolly mammoth ivory and recycled gold and goes for cool $14,000.
Here’s a partial list of the cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility elements built into Monique Pean’s business model:
- The ivory used is gathered by native Alaskans above the Artic Circle, much of which is newly visible courtesy of the retreating ice sheet. And since it's summer... the longest days of the year... the native Alaskans near the pole have plenty of daylight to collect ivory.
- Pean uses recycled gold, conflict-free diamonds from Australia, and other precious materials that are “devastation free” and “sustainable.”
- 10 percent of the profits from the Bering Collection goes to the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, which trains and educates indigenous people.
- 50 percent of the proceeds from the Charity Water signature collection goes to Charity:Water, a New York City nonprofit with a mission to bring clean water to impoverished people.
- The website contains multiple pages of pictures and text about both the water crisis and the ecological challenges faced by native Alaskans.
As you read this I'll be hiking and enjoying the red rocks of Bryce Canyon and Zion's National Parks in Southern Utah with my family.
But don't despair I'll be back next week in time to post on my normal schedule.
All the best,
I can see it now. In the wake of a string of natural disasters and skyrocketing food prices in the Developing World, management at UN World Food Programme (WFP) decide to commence some serious marketing. So they start taking meetings with fancy ad agencies.
Here’s how the successful meeting went:
The senior manager at the agency turned on the charm and created a “reality distortion field” before turning the time over to the creative director, who immediately started to weave a persuasive narrative. “We’ll put actresses like Rachel Weisz and Drew Barrymore in PSAs, in print ads and on Oprah. Imagine stark, beautifully-shot images of Drew feeding darling doe-eyed kids in Kenya in haunting black and white. The images will underscore that issue of hunger in the Developing World is black and white…”
At that point the UN World Food Programme managers should have kicked that agency to the curb.
Unless your cause is the Ansel Adams Black and White Photo Preservation Trust (I just made that up, by the way) your fundraising and cause-related marketing images better be in color. In every test of preferences (outside of the canyons of Manhattan), people say they want to see color images.
The only people that don’t prefer color are me and artsy-fartsy creative directors who can’t set aside their own creative biases long enough to think about what the intended audiences favor.
That isn’t the only problem with this ad from the May 19, 2008 issue of Time magazine.
The agency tried to make up for the lack of color in the photo by adding the red cup. But the red cup is a marketing conceit. The cups the WFP feeds people with aren’t red. Neither is the food the WFP distributes. The WFP doesn’t pass around a red cup when it’s fundraising. Donors don’t get a red cup as a premium when they make some kind of donation.
The red cup is, in the main, a way to introduce color into a campaign that should have had it from the start.
Late in May three star players from the Atlanta Braves baseball team debuted their latest charitable endeavors, table wines from Chile and Spain with the bottles featuring their images and with proceeds from the sales benefiting the charities of their choice.
The players… Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Tom Glavine… unveiled Chipper Chardonnay, McCann Merlot, and (wait for it) Cabernet Glavignon. They sell for around for $14 at retail outlets like Kroger and Wal-Mart and proceeds benefit the Miracle League, the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research and CURE Childhood Cancer respectively.
The Atlanta trio join professional baseball players from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds and several legends of the game with their own labels. There are two former NFL players...Dan Marino and Bobby Herbert... with labels, and two players from the National Hockey League. Two special labels for red and white wines benefit the AIDS Research Alliance.
The brands are: Edendale Cellars, Longball Cellars, 500 Home Run Club, Hat Trick Cellars, Gridiron Cellars, and Marino Estates.
The approach is the brainstorm of Event Wines of Winchendon, Mass., which “donates 100% of the celebrity’s proceeds to their chosen charity. The celebrity does not make one penny.”
That’s some tricky language which I take to mean that the celebrity gets a piece of the sale as a kind of personal licensing arrangement, which he agrees to donate in full to his charity of choice. Borrowing on the athlete’s notoriety, Event Wines thereby gets their product into sales channels they probably couldn’t normally be able to penetrate. It’s a kind of end run around normal distribution channels.
The athlete gets some money for his case and another chance to promote his status locally as a good citizen, this time in the wine aisle at the grocery store. And depending on how the deal is structured, it’s potentially tax deductible for the celebrity. And these days, a celebrity without a charity affiliation is either unsociable, unstable, or has an incompetent agent.
A related company will put your personalized label on bottles of a sparkling wine, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and merlot for your wedding, corporate event or charitable endeavor.
It’s a clever campaign that would be a whole lot better if there was some transparency about the donation amount.
I genuinely admire the creativity of the campaign. And someone at Event Wines is a terrific salesperson. Because to make this happen, agents had to be sold, along with players, and retail outlets. And if anyone could do this campaign, someone already would have.
(Tip of the hat to Kate, a member of the Cause-Related Marketing Googlegroup, for sharing this).
Researchers say that it takes right about 10 years to acquire expertise in anything.
And the Tiger Woods video above notwithstanding, it isn’t innate talent that makes you an expert, but those 10 years of study and practice. That explains why Tiger Wood is better golfer than Paul Jones.
But what explains why Tiger is better than all his rivals, who have, after all, been playing just as long as he has and sometimes longer?
For answers to that question and the role that informal learning plays, visit The Learner’s Guild, my blog on informal learning, for the post called ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Informal Learners.’
Anatomy of a Multi-Phase Cause-Related Marketing Sponsorship
Last weekend, May 31 and June 1, the Children’s Miracle Network aired their 25th annual telethon, called ‘Celebration'. Now more than ever Celebration is a sponsorship vehicle and as it happens, I caught their recognition of Carmike Cinemas, a cause-related marketing sponsorship that even today is unusually well-rounded, if I say so myself.
Here were the elements back when I sold the sponsorship in 1998:
- During the month of May in the lead up to the telethon, Carmike would broadcast on their more than 2,500 screens a movie trailer featuring then San Francisco 49er Quarterback (and now a member of the NFL Hall of Fame) Steve Young. Steve narrated the story of a kid who was desperately sick but had gotten better at on of CMN’s affiliated hospitals. The trailer was about 70 seconds long.
- Carmike would post movie-style and sized posters in their frames featuring the promotion the child and Steve Young.
- Carmike would sell Miracle Balloons, CMN's paper icons, in the lobby for $1.
How did the sponsorship come about?
To be frank, it was partly luck and good timing.
Back then Carmike was the largest movie theater chain in terms of screens. They had something north of 500 locations and 2500 screens in more than 35 States. While Carmike has had some financial reversals in the intervening years their current count is 283 theaters with 2,427 screens in 37 States. Then as now their market niche was small and mid-sized communities with population of 100,000 people or less.
My boss came back from a meeting with executives at Columbus Regional Medical Center, CMN’s affiliated hospital in Columbus, Georgia. During the meeting one of the executives mentioned that he lived next door to an executive at Carmike in Columbus, where Carmike is headquartered. I worked in CMN's communications department at the time not marketing and it probably would have stopped there had I not recently read a favorable piece on Carmike in a business magazine. I called the hospital executive and asked if he could get me a meeting, which he did.
I worked up a proposal for Carmike that included all the elements above. We also asked for Carmike to pay for the movie trailer, too. But they ultimately declined. The meeting went well. The Carmike executive was very busy. But he was also the exact right guy to talk to because he drove the decision.
Several weeks later I want to Nashville to speak to a group of Carmike’s district managers to get their buy-off since they would be implementing the campaign. They were mostly enthusiastic. One of them said, “it’s about time we did something like this.”
With the approvals on Carmike’s side, I still needed to find some way to pay for the movie trailer. It was about a $70,000 commitment. CMN had only 45 employees or so back then, so I took it directly to the co-founder and CEO, Mick Shannon. We talked with him and Scott Burt, the CFO, for about 15 minutes and they agreed to pay for it. They were enthusiastic, too.
The trailer was produced by Bonneville Advertising, a local agency that specialized in warm and fuzzy nonprofit ad campaigns for a number of prominent national accounts. Bonneville Advertising no longer exists as such.
The format of the trailer was what’s called a ‘donut.’ In the first version, Steve offered some introductory narration in a stadium setting. In the donut hole was the story of the kid. Then to show that the kid had gotten better, it closed with Steve and the kid in the locker room together as though after a game. The call to action was to watch the telethon and support CMN with a donation.
I was there when they shot it of course and one of the things I remember best was all the smoke. Bonneville, whose alumni included people like James Gartner, who directed the 2006 movie Glory Road, specialized in atmospherics. Bonneville’s ads always had smoke.
The actual trailer changed several times and the final cut was very good. As the executive producer, I won a fairly prestigious award for it.
We also edited the trailer to be aired on television in 30 and 60 second versions. Both had space on them for local CMN hospitals to put their name and logo on them. We distributed both versions to CMN's 170 hospitals for local distribution and they saw plenty of airtime.
There were surprises of course. When Mick Shannon gave the OK, we knew that we were going to have to reproduce 2,500 actual 70-second film trailers. But we didn’t know all that that entailed. CMN has produced many thousands of hours of television programming over the years, so we knew all about that. But film is slightly different beast in important ways. For instance, Technicolor, which reproduced and distributed the trailers, charged by the foot of film.
The next year the trailer… which featured Olympic skater Michelle Kwan… was sponsored. Having learned our lessons, we also began the process of taking over the production of the trailer. The trailer above called, “The Greatest Comeback,” is from 2006 and CMN produced it basically entirely in-house.
How did the campaign do?
That first Carmike campaign generated $600,000 and viewership of the telethon was up just a tick over the year prior.