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The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Stock Index Dramatically Outperforms Other Indices

There are stock indexes galore; the Dow, S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, the Wilshire 5000, the FTSE, and hundreds more. But how would an index of the stocks of companies that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing perform compared to those well-known indexes? Pretty well, as it turns out.

I first floated the idea of a stock index that would track companies that do cause marketing back in 2009. I tried to figure out Yahoo Pipes so that I could put the feed right into this blog. But alas sometimes the geek gene does fall pretty far from the tree.

So I talked to programmers to see if I could find someone who could do the same, but it was always more than I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I hired a MBA student to do it all in a spreadsheet, and what do you know but that over the last 15 years a basket of 25 cause marketing stocks dramatically outperforms the Dow, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Wilshire 5000.

The index, which I call the Alden Keene Cause Market…
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KFC Concept Restaurant Gives a Nod to Cause Marketing for Local Causes

KFC, a unit of Yum Brands, is testing a new quick-serve restaurant version of the fried chicken outlet and among the changes is that its cause marketing efforts will be much more local, according to Anne Fuller, senior director of development for KFC eleven.

The KFC eleven test store is in Louisville, Kentucky, KFC’s headquarters. When it opens August 5, 2013, it will feature rice bowls, flatbreads, salads, KFC original recipe chicken among other items, plus sides. A second test location is set to open in Louisville before year’s end. The 11 in KFC eleven is a salute to the 11 herbs and spices in their original recipe chicken.

The trade-dress for the test store includes lamp lighting, digital signage with community news, and artwork from local artists.

Why step into the quick serve space? Fuller answered a reporter from QSRweb.com this way: “People love KFC but it's not a frequent choice for many guests for some reason. We wanted to create a broad and balanced menu that could mayb…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…

July 24, A Day to Celebrate Pioneers Everywhere

Today my adopted state of Utah celebrates Pioneer Day. It’s a founder’s day celebration that commemorates the day when a hardy band of 151 settlers from the distant east first landed in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, not even a year behind the star-crossed Donner Party, which had traversed basically the same route.

Pioneer Day is a state holiday that we celebrate like a second ‘Fourth of July’ with pancake breakfasts, parades, BBQs, and fireworks after dark.

From July 24, 1847, when the vanguard party arrived, until the time when the rails were linked by the transcontinental railroad at Promotory Point Utah in 1869, about 70,000 people made the trek to Intermountain West. They rode in wagons, pushed handcarts and walked, driven largely by religious faith and fervor.

And while the the settlement of the American West was accomplished by tens of thousands who made their way along the Oregon or Sante Fe Trails, only the Utah Pioneers built fords and ferries and roads, and planted grai…

Kaizen and Cause Marketing

When translated into English, the Japanese word Kaizen is typically rendered as “continuous improvement.” That is, to keep working on your processes… implementing small and oftentimes cheap improvements… to make them better and better. Few companies or nonprofits… in Japan or anywhere else… are likely to survive if they don’t practice some version of kaizen. And it’s precisely the word to describe what Toyota’s marketing department practiced with its cause marketing effort called “Meals Per Hour,” which is a video about the people of Rockaways, New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

Rockaways is a thin peninsula in Queens, New York that faces the Atlantic, sorta like a barrier island. As the crow flies, it’s only five or six miles from the center of Brooklyn. But unless you’re a crow it’s a little remote for New York City. And so when Sandy hit, the Rockaways were devastated, what with all that ocean frontage. And getting food relief to them was a challenge.

It was…

A Punch List for Charity Cause Marketers Looking for Sponsors

New research released this week finds that women are more price sensitive than men on almost every product and service category. Since cause marketing has been shown to help companies preserve pricing power, and since women are more responsive to cause marketing than men, the research is a virtual punch list for charities looking for sponsors who need help.

The research… called Women, Power and Money… comes from FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines and was conducted by Ipsos.

Among other questions, Women, Power and Money asked women and men to rate how important getting low prices is to them in 12 broad categories of goods and services: automobiles, household supplies, food/groceries, household appliances, personal care items/toiletries, vacations, fashion apparel and accessories, technology, watches or jewelry, household furnishings and d├ęcor, financial services/investments, beauty/personal grooming items.

You can plainly see the influence of Hearst Magazines on this list of quest…

Panera Takes its Meal of Responsibility Back to the Drawing Board

Back in April 2013 I wrote about Panera Bread Company’s groundbreaking Meal of Responsibility, a nutritious bowl of turkey chili with 850 calories that invited people to pay for it what they could afford. Last week the company reported that they’ve pulled the menu item and are retooling it.

At the time I wrote
“Here’s my problem: helping out can be very intoxicating, especially when you’re good at it, as Panera is. But as I often say in this space, generous people are no good to causes if they give until they’re broke. Cause marketers need sponsors that are cash cows. That is, companies that have a sustainable business model that can be ‘milked’ regularly.

Before Panera, everybody’s poster-child for progressive corporate social responsibility was Timberland, the shoe and apparel company.

But after riding high through much of the 1980s and 1990s, Timberland’s product line grew a little stale in the double-aughts. Growth stalled. Facing rising material costs and lower profit margins, …