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Showing posts from February, 2011

Displaying Multiple Cause Marketing Allegiances

We’ve all seen how causes recognize multiple sponsors for, say, races and events. If you got a t-shirt from participating in a Team in Training race for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to pick on just one, you know what I'm talking about; it’s logo-soup spilled all over the back of your t-shirt.

But suppose your company supports multiple causes. How do you display that without doing the same thing to your ads? That’s the question I had when I pulled this ad for Cabot Cheese from the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

Cabot Cheese, a co-op in Vermont, supports a handful of causes in different ways and in pretty different spaces; the arts, schools, women and children’s causes, environmental causes, even the Girl Scouts.

How does Cabot pull it off? Quite admirably, I’d say.

Each of the causes is assigned its own icon, even the Girl Scouts. One of problems of the logo-soup approach is that logos come in all sizes, colors, and orientations. If you regularize their size or go with jus…

Some Questions to Answer When Cause Marketing With Franchises

In the United States there’s one place where you’re all but guaranteed to run into some kind of cause marketing and I'm not talk about a nail salon.

No the kind of place you're most likely to see cause marketing is at a retail franchise outlet.

The ten largest franchise systems, ranked according to worldwide sales volume as ranked by Franchise Times follow. Where known I’ve added the cause with which each franchise system is most publicly affiliated.
McDonald’s… Ronald McDonald House Charities7-Eleven… Muscular Dystrophy Association
KFC … KFC Colonel’s ScholarsBurger King… ?Subway Restaurants… American Heart AssociationAce Hardware… Children’s Miracle NetworkCircle K Stores… United Cerebral Palsy
Pizza Hut…Book It reading incentive program
Wendy’s… Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites… Children’s Miracle Network.
It’s not surprising that consumer-oriented franchises would tend to have a cause marketing focus. Academic research consistently finds th…

A Cool New Platform for Cause Marketers to Launch Virtual Paper Icons From is an interactive grid wall that displays pictures and links to your website that you could use for fundraising for you nonprofit or crowd funding your business idea.

Presently in beta, the individual grids sell for $100, $20 and $10. The donations from the beta wall go to SupporterWall. But when it comes out of beta the app will be released in three rounds, first to $100 donors, then $20 donors, then $10 donors.

In effect, SupporterWall is crowd funding its own startup with the sale of an app that helps you crowd fund. It’s sorta like looking at your reflection in an infinity mirror.

The money deposits into your PayPal account. SupporterWall is customizable and can be installed on your website. There’s no deadlines or timelines. Leave it up as long as you see fit.

SupporterWall also has teeny-tiny little grids that it gives away for free. If you look really closely, you can see my photo on the top row of the freebies section in the 45th square from the left. That’s also…

Book Review: “The Facebook Marketing Book”

I joined LinkedIn way back in 2005. I started this blog in October 2006. I was on Twitter early enough that the handle ‘paulrjones’ was still available. In fact, it was so soon after it went live that the early adopters… tip of the hat to Jason Alba … who turned me onto it were using Twitter to enable lunchtime meetups.

My LinkedIn account was half-finished for years before I could imagine any value in completing it. The blog paid off right away, but the value of Twitter puzzled me for months after I started using it.

I’ve known about Facebook since the time when it was still limited to college-aged students. I joined Facebook pretty early, too. But I doubt if there’s anyone with the reach of these words that uses Facebook less than me. Simply put, Facebook leaves me cold.

And that’s a problem for a marketer, because Facebook is close to being a marketer’s… and a cause marketer’s… dream.

That’s why I was so glad when the friendly folks at O’Reilly, the tech publishers (et al), sent me a r…

Cause Marketing Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Pizza Hut would like to do some cause marketing with your charity. I know this because a flyer pasted on top of the box of the Big Dipper pizza we ordered the other day said as much.

What Pizza Hut has in mind is discount card promotion. You can find plenty of similar efforts from other food retailers. If Pizza Hut’s is compelling to your audience, consider calling the number listed.

But instead of this rather standard issue campaign, what if instead Pizza Hut offered a donation to your charity of choice… say $0.25… plus the opportunity to donate a much larger amount when you respond to customer satisfaction survey?

The idea was waiting for me when I turned over the self-same flyer. When you complete the customer satisfaction survey on the phone or online, you are entered into a drawing for a free iPod along with 10 chances to win a daily prize of $1,000.

These kinds of offers are commonly printed on the back of receipts (see below).

If you read the fine print, it appears that Pizza Hut ha…

Effective Reporting Back in Cause Marketing

Alden Keene & Associates got its annual renewable energy report the other day from our electric utility, Rocky Mountain Power.

In December 2008 we signed up with ‘Blue Sky,’ a wind-energy offsets program, so as to help lessen the environmental impact of

At left is the statement for the last 12 months. The back of the statement is below.

Last time around the statement included a bulleted list of the positive effects of the program, customized to Alden Keene. This year Rocky Mountain Power gave the list a little extra graphical punch and with it more relevance in my view.

I think there’s a lesson here for cause marketers. Even if such customization isn’t usually possible for most cause marketing campaigns, cause marketers need to report back campaign results. Such reporting builds transparency and as I posted earlier this month…
“Transparency is vital to cause marketing. And part of transparency is to report back on how it all went. Such reporting reassures supporters…

How to Pay Your Nonprofit Cause Marketers

Can’t We Just End the Hypocrisy?

If you’re a charity that does or wants to do cause-related marketing or sponsorship, how do you pay your cause marketers?

For those of you on the corporate side or in agencies, this probably sounds like an easy question. You pay them a base salary plus a percentage-based commission based on how much they raise. No different than paying your top salesperson. It rewards performance and punishes mediocrity. Great cause-marketers should make more money, right?

In fact, for nonprofits it’s fraught with worries, concerns, and ethical dilemmas.

Notice I didn’t say commission-based pay is illegal. So far as I know paying nonprofit fundraisers a commission is not illegal. But you can’t be a member of the prestigious Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) if you accept commission-based compensation. And good luck finding a grantwriter who will work on a commission basis.

Here’s why commission-based compensation is frowned upon. In the United States, some dono…

Breast Cancer Awareness Cause Marketing? It’s Still Needed.

I saw this ad in one of the local daily newspapers and groaned audibly. Breast cancer awareness! Really? By now isn’t every person in the developed world who can fog a mirror aware of breast cancer?

Apparently not. And the irony may be that it is the very fittest who are most immune to the message.

No woman sees breast cancer coming. But it’s probably even more true when you’re young, strong, and healthy.

Listen to the breast cancer story of Annabeth Eberle. The elite athlete was a seven-year member of the US National Gymnastics team, a featured performer in the 2006 Touchstone gymnastics movie Stick It and an eight-time All American at the University of Utah. She was diagnosed at age 27.

Eberle was the veritable poster girl for fitness when she noticed one of her breasts was getting smaller. A visit to her doctor brought the bad news.

“When you are young you think no way will this happen to me,” she told the Deseret News. “It really does happen. It helped me to tell her my story and to ge…

Cause Marketing Won’t Save a Bad Business

Borders appears headed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection back in September 2010. Circuit City is gone. Ultimate Electronics is about to fade into the dust heap of failed electronics retailers.

And I’m having a hard time finding any current signs of life of the hot jeans brand PRVCY Premium, whose distinctive back-pocket stitching adorned the patooshkas of starlets like Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton, Christina Applegate, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, and Jessica Alba. PRVCY was founded by Carolyn Jones in 2002.

Blockbuster did some great cause marketing back in the day with Children’s Miracle Network. Borders still touts its community giving programs, with a special emphasis on literacy causes. I posted in this space on one of Circuit City's cause marketing efforts. I'll bet Ultimate Electronics had active community outreach programs as well.

Here’s what PRVCY Premium’s website says about its purpose.
“The company was founded with a noble goal in…

Peggy Lee Cause Marketing

The water business used to be a pretty sweet deal. You package water, which might have come from a municipal source, for a fraction of a penny per gallon and you sell it in individual plastic bottles for dollars per quart. Best of all, people need to drink gallons of water a week just to survive. All you needed was a cool bottle and a fancy brand and the distribution to match and you were in business.

And then the world began to wake up to the silliness and waste of bottled water. There’s no need to recount the ridiculousness of it all or even cite sources. We all know about that ginormous plastic island floating in the Pacific Ocean. We all know about the crazy amounts of landfill space going just to water bottles that won’t ever degrade. We all sense the folly of water being shipped from Fuji (or even New York) to your store in Texas or California or Minnesota.

It would be easy to defend if water was bad in all those places. Only it’s not. In most of North America, Europe, Australia, …

What’s Wrong With This Cause Marketing Paper Icon? Let Me Count the Ways

A friend recently found the paper icon at the left at a bowling alley in metropolitan Salt Lake City, Utah, where I live and asked my opinion.

Where to start?
There was, my friend said, no indication in the bowling alley of who the benefiting charity is, aside from the pink ribbon, which denotes the fight against breast cancer.Susan G. Komen for the Cure would almost certainly consider the phrase “Bowl for The Cure” a copyright and/or a trademark violation. If this were a Komen campaign it would carry their trademarked version of the pink ribbon. The icon would also be a darn-sight more sophisticated.
There’s no identifying marks on the paper icon except the pink ribbon.There’s no explanation on the back of the paper icon; just acres of unused white space.Speaking of size it’s nearly 10-inches high and 4-inches wide at its widest point. It could easily be two-thirds its present size and be just as effective.The paper stock is pretty heavy, I’d say at least 80-pound. It doesn’t need to be…

Effective Cause Marketing Sans the Transparency

I have ranted often about the hazards of cause marketing without transparency.

But the fact is, there are plenty of campaigns that manage to be successful without much transparency. Plenty still cling to the obsolete language, “a portion of the proceeds,’ and do just fine. Get Away Today, a family vacation travel agency uses just that language when describing its donations to Children’s Miracle Network

How does that work? Am I wrong about the necessity of transparency? Maybe it’s more of a nicety than a requirement, like Skull Candy earbuds with your new iPhone or stopping by in Maui after staying in Kaua’i.

Case in point is the back page of a small brochure that came stuffed in my credit union statement earlier this month from Get Away Today (GAT). GAT is a privately-owned travel agency with billings of about $50 million a year which built its business booking Disneyland vacation packages for families, although it now books to all kinds of non-Disney destinations as well. Only Disney’s …

Maximizing Your Messaging in Cause Marketing Campaigns

In a post about a paper icon campaign dated 12/23/2010 I suggested that the sponsor use the back of the icon to help explain the campaign, both for the benefit of the consumer and for the cashiers who sell them.

But what might you put on the back of a paper icon or similar effort?

The Go Red for Women campaign from the American Heart Association featuring the Red Dress pin, comes with a little card that the pin is mounted to.

The Red Dress pin is a kind of icon campaign. I bought this one at Macy’s.

The back of the card, which is 3.5 inches by 2 inches (about the size of a standard business card in the United States), has these few lines of text.
"Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America. Wearing the red dress, which is the symbol of women and heart disease, is a way to speak up against this largely preventable disease. Our Hearts. Our Choice. Join us and Speak Up to Save Lives."That’s 47 words in five sentences. Which is about right.

I’m not sure I follow the ‘Our He…

Trends in Cause Marketing: Second Half of Interview with Laura Marriott

If 2-D barcodes represent a kind of bridge between the digital and world of print, what does that bridge actually look like? In this is the second half of my interview with NeoMedia Technologies acting CEO Laura Marriott, gets down to the nitty-gritty of how causes are using 2-D barcodes, and what they ought to consider doing in the future. (Read the first half of the interview here).

Describe how causes or their sponsors are currently using 2-D barcodes in marketing, promotions, PR, or fundraising?
Two examples for how causes are using mobile barcodes is outlined below:

Ed Randall’s Bat for the Cure, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about prostate cancer and supported by a partnership of mobile companies, launched the One Too Many: One Million Voices Against Prostate Cancer mobile campaign in June 2010, using both an SMS shortcode and 2D barcode to enable men and their families everywhere to quickly and easily sign up to a petition in favor of policy changes bein…

Cause Marketing Trends: An Interview With Laura Marriott

In January I posted on my idea of putting QR codes on paper icons as a way to bridge the digital and print worlds. So far as I know no one has yet done so. But do call me if you want to try. I’ll help you put the campaign together for a bargain rate!

But companies and causes are using 2-D barcodes in their marketing. (A QR code is a kind of 2-D barcode). And one of the leaders in the software that makes this bridging possible using mobile phones is NeoMedia Technologies, led by acting CEO Laura Marriott. Ms. Marriott, at left, kindly consented to an interview on what’s trending now with mobile barcode technologies, how causes and sponsors are using it, and what’s next.

Today in the first half of our interview, she gives a quick overview 2-D barcodes and explains how causes are using the technology right now.

For rookies like me, what's the difference between 1-D and 2-D barcodes?
1D, linear barcodes such as the Universal Product Code (UPC) and European Article Numbering (EAN) codes, h…

Faux Cause Marketing Ad From Groupon Bombs on Super Bowl

Holy crap, what was Groupon thinking?!

The upstart online marketer airs an ad that starts out looking like an homage to the people and culture of Tibet and it turns out to be actor Timothy Hutton looking smarmy and paying half price at a Chicago Tibetan restaurant thanks to Groupon.

(Groupon produced a second ad with a save the whales theme and featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. It was no better.)

Groupon’s Tibet ad somehow managed to be tasteless, inane, and insulting at the same time. The airtime alone costs $3 million in the high-stakes world of Super Bowl advertising. But that’s the smallest cost to Groupon. Instead the private company just erased millions of dollars in brand equity in one 30-second ad.

This was faux cause marketing at its most reckless.

When Groupon turned down Google’s reported $5 billion buyout offer, many scratched their heads. When the company, which is making money hand over fist, decided to run a Super Bowl ad some analysts chalked it up to tech-company sock-puppet hubr…

A Challenge to Cause Marketers on the Eve of the Super Bowl

The September 27, 2007 Forbes magazine listed the value of the world’s top sponsored sports events, by the amount of money they generate per day. They are:
Super Bowl… $336 millionSummer Olympics…$176 millionFifa World Cup…$103 millionNCAA Men’s Final Four…$90 millionWinter Olympics…$82 millionRose Bowl…$72 millionMLB World Series…$61 millionKentucky Derby…$59 million9. NBA Finals…$58 million
I notice that your nonprofit isn’t on the list. Indeed, no nonprofit is. There’s two reasons for that. Forbes compiled a list of the top sports event sponsorships. I’ll get to the second reason in a second.

But cause marketing is… in the main… just a form of sponsorship. Why isn’t your cause making a $336 million per day like the Super Bowl?

Think of all the advantages your cause enjoys.
It has tremendous heart. It has a list of supporters who literally open their wallets for you several times a year. Some of your supporters are as passionate about your cause as any face-painting fan of the World Cup …

Reporting Back and Giving Thanks is Vital in Cause Marketing

Before Christmas I posted on the efforts of a local grocery chain benefiting local food banks and utilizing their proprietary paper icon.

Yesterday, February 1, 2011, the chain, called Fresh Markets, reported their results in their weekly circular. In a small rectangle about mid-way down on the right side of the circular, Fresh Markets says it was able to donate $98,000 to local food banks. Whether this included any cash, matching, or in-kind donations from Fresh Markets isn’t clear from this page.

The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database has thousands of examples of cause marketing ‘activations,’ but the folder labeled ‘Thank You Ads’ is notably thin. I just don’t see many examples of sponsors or causes thanking supporters for their help.

This is a major mistake for both causes and sponsors.

Transparency is vital to cause marketing. And part of transparency is to report back how it all went. Such reporting reassures supporters that whatever effort they took helped in some way.

(Fresh Mark…

Cause Marketing When You’re the Avis of Your Niche

The rental car agency Avis, for years the perennial second banana to Hertz, used to promote itself with the tagline, “when you’re number two, you try harder.” Avis long since changed the slogan to “At Avis, We Try Harder.” The old tagline was advertising as a syllogism. It made an argument rather than just a declaration.

The nonprofit featured in the ad to the left, After School All Stars is in Avis’s position and maybe even further back than that. The big dogs of after school programs are Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a federation of more than 4,000 clubs serving about 4 million boys and girls, and 4-H, with 90,000 clubs and 6.5 million members.

After School All Stars is an after-school and summer program in 450 schools in 13 cities across the United States, with an especially strong showing in Chicago. It was founded by Arnold Schwarznegger in 1992 as the Inner-City Games Foundation and subsequently broadened its focus to include arts and academics in addition to health and fitness…

Faux Cause Marketing With a Sense of Humor

In the past year I’ve profiled what I call ‘faux cause marketing.’ It’s marketing that looks or sounds like cause marketing, but in fact no cause benefits from it.

At left is a small ad that ran in the back of Golf Digest magazine in October 2009, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There’s the familiar pink ribbon, emblematic of breast cancer causes. But look closely and you’ll see that the company makes no claims about any charity benefiting from the sale of pink ribbon golf club covers.

Although I found the same clubheads on the company’s website, I couldn’t find any evidence of support for breast cancer causes. If indeed the company sells the pink ribbon clubhead covers without any remuneration to breast cancer charities then the ad is unethical in my book and I pronounce a pox on their business.

A kind of faux cause marketing with a sense of humor can be seen from AirTran, the discount airline. Both the two-color ads on the left, which ran in the same issue of Sports Illustrated magazine…