Skip to main content

Weaving Cause Marketing into Your Business Model

There’s probably five or so businesses that cubicle drones (and others) tend to dream of starting: a winery; a restaurant; a specialty retail store; a food business based on an old family recipe; or a toy business.

But look at something like the Inc 5000 and you’ll see tons of companies that perform some B2B function and relatively few that face the consumer, all those dreams notwithstanding.

But two brothers Chris and Will Haughey actually started a consumer-facing toy company whose success is due, in part, to the way they strategically wove cause marketing into their business model.

The company is Tegu, an eponym for Tegucigalpa, the capital city of of the Central American country Honduras where the toys are manufactured. Tegu makes wooden blocks of sustainably harvested hardwood that are stuffed with magnets. The result is a toy that’s more interesting to kids than just blocks, and the very opposite of something mind-dumbing, like Angry Birds.

Here’s the cause marketing part. When you buy a set of blocks, Tegu allows you to choose between two causes to support. You can choose:
  • To have 12 trees planted in Honduras (and elsewhere).
  • Or, help educate a caste of Honduran kids that would otherwise do scavenging work in the Tegucigalpa city dump.
The counter at Tegu.com says 18,011 trees have been planted and 1,798 days of school have been donated.

Tegu sets aren’t cheap. But they’re made of mahogany and other hardwoods. My guess is they’d last for 50 years even if they were used in a day care setting, so you're buying a legacy toy that can span the generations.

No less lasting, I think, is the way the Haughey brothers have built their cause marketing approach.

About once a month some new study or report comes out to say that cause marketing is dead. I’ll soon be reviewing in this space a recent study from the big ad agency J. Walter Thompson that says almost exactly that.

But that’s just the headline. Inevitably what the reports typically say is that the kind of brain-dead bolt-on cause marketing that we see so often is dead. Really well-thought-out and well-executed cause marketing… like this effort from Tegu… remains the wave of the future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Profile of Cause Marketing Veteran Joe Lake

Blogger's Note: What follows is a profile and interview I wrote of Children's Miracle Network co-founder Joe Lake, who was recently installed as the CEO of the Starfish Television Network. This originally appeared in the Salt Lake Enterprise on Monday, May 11.

Lining the walls of the office of Joe Lake, the new CEO of the Starfish Television Network, a 501(c) (3) public charity and television network founded in 2006 and headquartered in Midvale, are pictures of the many celebrities he has worked with.

There are pictures of Joe with Goldie Hawn, Sidney Poitier, Jeff Bridges, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rob Lowe and Walter Cronkite, and affectionately-autographed publicity stills from Bob Hope and Rich Little.

It’s something you’d expect in the office of a Hollywood agent, or at a celebrity hangout in Manhattan, or Chicago or Vegas. But the Starfish Television Network, whose mission is to tell the stories of nation’s nonprofits in a way that educates, entertains and inspires its audi…

50 Cent, Cause Marketer

Curtis Jackson, aka rapper 50 Cent visited the horn of Africa in September 2011 hosted by the United Nations and committed to provide 1 billion meals to the World Food Programme over the next five years, funded in part by several cause marketing efforts.

The Horn of Africa has a lot of problems right now, nonetheleast of which is that starvation there is rampant, long-term drought is endemic, and working institutions are few.

Since the UN's World Food Programme can manage to deliver a meal for about $0.10, Jackson has basically committed to donating $100 million (or 200 million 50 cent pieces). That's a very big number.

He gave his commitment a kick start with a donation of $350,000. Like him on Facebook, and when he reaches 1 million new likes, he’ll donate another $1 million.

50 Cent is also tying the sales of his Street King energy drink to the World Food Progamme (WFP). For every bottle sold, 50 Cent will donate one meal.

Street King competes with 5-Hour Energy Drink, a ca…