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Long-Term, Committed Monogamy in Cause Marketing

Some sponsors do so much volume and have such great visibility and recognition that they almost have the pick of charities to partner with. So, like actor George Clooney, some sponsors have been seen with a lot of different pretty faces over the years.

Toys R Us has had cause marketing relationships with at least 4 charities in the last 20 years and is currently with Toys for Tots.

In the last year Purina, the pet foods brand, has done cause marketing campaigns with Adopt-A-Pet.com, as seen at the left, and with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

But there is value to strict monogamy in cause marketing relationships. After all, which is cuter, George Clooney canoodling with girlfriend #32 or a couple that’s been married 65 years that still holds hands and snuggles?

With that in mind, here’s my short list of the positives of long-term monogamous cause marketing relationships.

Customers begin to think of you and your charity partner as an inseparable pair. And that’s good for both your brands. To illustrate, here’s a pop quiz…who’s the partner for these organizations/brands? (answers below).
  • Subway
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Yoplait
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The relationships between your staffs deepens. Like an old couple you understand each other’s rhythms, moods, and annual calendars. And you accommodate yourself to your partner’s needs and disposition.

You understand each other’s business models. There’s a Steely Dan song called “Hey 19” that explains it all. The song is about the disappointment an older man feels with a younger lover at having to explain all the things meaningful to him. The pertinent line is: “Hey 19, that’s ‘Retha Franklin. She don’t remember the queen of soul…” There’s value in not having to perpetually explain everything to your partner.

Your communication has grown past the puppy love stage. You can speak frankly without upsetting each other. And you can raise really out-there ideas without worrying about losing face.

You become each other’s memory. I don’t remember where I read it, but someone once said that part of the pain of divorce is that when couples split they lose part of the memory that their partner had for the couple’s friends, events, feelings, facts and the like. Similarly, even with changing staffs chances are someone in the relationship remembers why one approach in the past did or did not work.

That’s my short list. Feel free to add to it in the comments below.

(Quiz answer key: Subway+American Heart Association; Ronald McDonald House Charities+McDonalds; Yoplait+ Susan G. Komen for the Cure; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital+Target).

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