Cause Marketing Summarized in Six Words

Author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki famously has his 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint. It goes like this: When you’re making a pitch, your Powerpoint should have no more than 10 slides, take less than 20 minutes to present, and no font should be smaller than 30 points.

In homage to Kawasaki, I’m going to suggest that you be able to sum up your cause marketing campaign in just six words.

Why six words? It’s enough to do the job, but not enough to obfuscate.

Here’s proof.

Last year this time Rachel Ferschleiser and Larry Smith released their book Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. They lead with a tale about Ernest Hemingway who was once challenged to write a book in six words. He responded: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

There’s an awful lot of pathos in those six words. But then we’re talking about Papa Hemingway (seen above), a literary legend who specialized in compact fiction.

Ferschleiser and Smith published many more of these evocative and diminutive tales following a contest on Twitter.

Here’s a select few:

“Danced in fields of infinite possibilities.”

Deepak Chopra


“Brought it to a boil, often.”

Mario Batali


And, two personal favorites…


“Found true love after nine months.”

Jody Smith


“Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that.”

Andie Grace

Here’s my challenge to you cause marketers: develop a description of your campaign that comprises six words [or less!]. You’ll find the discipline imposed by just six words will bring not only brevity, but clarity. 

I’m not talking about writing a headline here. Headlines are meant to tease you into the text that follows. Six-word stories tell complete truth.

Here’s my version for Yoplait’s lid campaign for Susan G. Komen for the Cure:

“Lick Yoplait lid. Send in. Gloat.”

Or for (RED).

“Help stop HIV. Buy like Bono.”

What about you? Do you have a six-word story that describes your cause marketing efforts?

Comment below or email me at aldenkeene @ gmail . com.

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