Skip to main content

True Partnerships in Cause Marketing

In Zen Buddhism there is the notion of a 'koan,' which is a riddle, statement, question or dialogue that can’t be understood through strictly rational thought. A koan is intended to help train the mind to better access intuition, especially through meditation The most famous koan might be ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?’

Here’s one for cause marketers; ‘when is cause marketing not a partnership?’

The rational mind says that cause marketing is always a partnership. The riddle makes no sense. Except in cases where the sponsor is the cause there’s always at least two parties. Like Tim Burton and Johnny Depp or Scoreese and De Niro. Boom. There’s two parties and when they come together that’s a partnership.

But meditate on it a little longer and you can see when cause marketing might not be a partnership. When one party benefits in gross disproportion to the other. Or when one party doesn’t work to make sure that the putative partner benefits to his or her satisfaction.

Cause marketing partners, like Hollywood actors and directors, are free agents. George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh have done six films together. If one of them doesn’t feel like they’ve benefited from their frequent pairings then they’re unlikely to do a seventh.

There’s no partnership in cause marketing unless all parties to the agreement feel fully benefited.

How do you achieve that?

Well Depp and Burton basically finish each others' sentences. But not every successful partnership requires that level of intimacy.

In cause marketing it starts during the courtship between the parties. While there will be plenty of formal written language as the parties determine the scope of the agreement, it’s vital that the process also include less formal conversations; people from both parties need to speak directly with each other.

For a true partnership to emerge a key portion of that dialogue must include the good faith expectation that both sides will and should benefit to their satisfaction. Everybody has to have their say. Neither side should endeavor to take advantage of the other. And, if it feels like the other party is trying to do so, you must register your dissatisfaction.

If, after going through the process, it feels like your would-be partner isn’t negotiating in good faith, you must be prepared to walk away from the partnership. This can be especially difficult for needy nonprofits. But it’s absolutely essential.

Finally, you must also try and put yourself in the shoes of the other party. Ask, “if roles were reversed, what would I want from this deal?’ The ability to understand what the other party wants and needs is a vital part of long and rewarding partnership.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

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…

KFC Concept Restaurant Gives a Nod to Cause Marketing for Local Causes

KFC, a unit of Yum Brands, is testing a new quick-serve restaurant version of the fried chicken outlet and among the changes is that its cause marketing efforts will be much more local, according to Anne Fuller, senior director of development for KFC eleven.

The KFC eleven test store is in Louisville, Kentucky, KFC’s headquarters. When it opens August 5, 2013, it will feature rice bowls, flatbreads, salads, KFC original recipe chicken among other items, plus sides. A second test location is set to open in Louisville before year’s end. The 11 in KFC eleven is a salute to the 11 herbs and spices in their original recipe chicken.

The trade-dress for the test store includes lamp lighting, digital signage with community news, and artwork from local artists.

Why step into the quick serve space? Fuller answered a reporter from QSRweb.com this way: “People love KFC but it's not a frequent choice for many guests for some reason. We wanted to create a broad and balanced menu that could mayb…