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Want a Reputation as a Good Corporate Citizen? Do Some Cause Marketing

The Reputation Institute and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship recently released their list of the top 50 companies in the United States in terms of corporate social responsibility.

In the survey of public opinion, the top ten were:


Campbell Soup

Johnson & Johnson

Walt Disney

Kraft Foods

General Mills

Levi Strauss


Berkshire Hathaway


I took the list and ranked the 50 according to the amount of cause marketing that I’m aware of from each company.
  • 0 meant that I had never seen any cause marketing from them.
  • 1 meant I’m aware of cause marketing promotions about once a year.
  • 2 meant I’m aware of perhaps two cause marketing promotions a year.
  • 3 meant I’m aware of perhaps monthly cause marketing promotions in a year.
  • 4 meant I’m aware of the company’s cause marketing as often as once a week
  • 5 meant I'm aware of cause marketing from the company on a daily basis.
Of the 50 companies, the only one I was unaware of was Express Scripts, a pharmacy services provider. I gave them a 0.

In my ranking a clear majority… 31 out of the 50… did at least some cause marketing. I ranked three companies as a number five; Campbell’s, General Mills, and by virtue of their IM promotion, Microsoft. No company got a four, but 12 companies got a 3, six companies got a 2 and 10 companies got a one.

Among the top 10, I ranked only two companies as a zero. I don’t recall ever seeing cause marketing from Levi Strauss or UPS. Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate, got a ranking of 2 based in its ownership of Dairy Queen. Most of the other nonconsumer companies like Deere, Sun Microsystems, Boeing and others got a zero.

Plainly my rankings are imperfect. It could well be that Levi Strauss, UPS and the 17 companies I gave a ranking of 0 to in fact do cause marketing that I’m just unaware of. Although I think it's more likely that I'm more aware of cause marketing than the average member of the public.

Certainly I could have inflated the amount of cause marketing I attribute to some of the companies on the list.

But for me the take-home is clear: three out of five US companies with the best corporate reputations in the public eye do some cause marketing as do eight out of the top 10. Three out of the top 10, do cause marketing continously.

If you would like a copy of my ranking or would like to rank them yourself, email me at aldenkeene @ gmail . com and I'll send you the excel spreadsheet.


Allison said…
Is it possible that people confuse Levi Strauss with Lee Jeans, or think Lee is a subsidiary of Levi Strauss & Co.? Lee sponsors the very popular National Denim Day for breast cancer research.

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