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Strategic Cause-Related Marketing

Luxury Goods from Monique Pean

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.
I have a few nits to pick about how the website features the causes. And I have my usual reservations about the “portion of the proceeds” language. But Monique Pean has baked cause-related marketing into her business strategy to an impressive degree.

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