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Showing posts from September, 2012

The Presumption of Altruism

Out now is the thirtieth anniversary issue of the Forbes 400, a listing of the wealthiest 400 Americans. While the 29 previous editions have regaled us with stories of vast wealth, how it was earned (or inherited) and how it was spent (or lost), the 2012 issue is mainly about how it is given away to charity.

But even before I got my copy, over the last few years it’s become apparent to me that the zeitgeist of day is that billionaires must now give away a substantial portion of their wealth to causes.

It hasn’t always been thus.

The last time that America’s wealthiest cared so much about giving away their money was the last time that Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were in the same room together. Carnegie almost single-handedly put a library in ever community of any size across North America and the English Commonwealth. Rockefeller gave America Colonial Williamsburg, the Grand Tetons National Park, the University of Chicago, and cures for yellow fever and hookworm.


BOGO Toothbrushes

If you sell consumables… food, drink, shoes, jeans, etc… to the public you’d be wise to think about cause marketing.

Here’s why; most of us will only buy a handful of washing machines or refrigerators… what economists call 'durables'… in our lives. By contrast, we’re constantly replacing the non-durables or ‘soft goods.’

But all that consumption, necessary as much of it is, can feel like it’s too much. But cause marketing can take away some of the sting out of consuming non-durables. And one increasingly duplicated cause marketing approach is BOGO, or Buy One, Give One.

Smile Squared, which sells bamboo handle toothbrushes, offers the latest BOGO I’ve seen.

Smile Squared, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, was prompted when husband and wife Eric and Geri Cope were working in a dental clinic in Guatemala in 2010. The Cope’s, who have three adopted children including Benny who hails from Guatemala, were struck by how few children there had toothbrushes. Those that did, might s…

The Ancillary Opportunities Section of Your Cause Marketing Proposal

At the end of your cause-marketing proposal to prospective sponsors there should be a section called something like “Ancillary Opportunities.”

It’s the place where you add the other stuff that came out of brainstorming sessions which you can execute and which complements the principal part of the promotion.

Ancillary means ‘subordinate’ or ‘of secondary importance.’ But don’t think that just because ancillary opportunities are subordinate or secondary that you can leave this section out of the proposal.

For one thing, you may have spent a lot of time researching the target sponsor and still missed their hot button. Your proposal is meant to start the conversation, not finish it. So it’s possible, even common, for things to come out during your pitch that will open up new avenues of thought for you and prospect alike.

Remember, Hotmail was the second idea that Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith presented to Silicon Valley venture capitalists Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

The ‘Ancillary Opportunity’ …

Cause Marketing Thongs to Benefit Microfinance

The title of this post is a clause I never expected to put together. An enterprising entrepreneur named Renata M. Black is selling women’s thongs to benefit microenterprises in the United States, Brazil and India.

Empowered By You panties are seamless thong-style panties available at a handful of online and bricks and mortar outlets. Sales of the panties benefit the Seven Bar Foundation, whose mission is to support female microenterprise. 

The ad… from the October 2012 issue of More magazine… is kind of a hot mess. Although it’s so sexy, you might not ever notice.

Plainly the model is breaking through the glass ceiling to where the men are. But how is it that she’s “Empowered” by said ceiling, I can’t get guess.

A paragraph at explains the visual like this:
“In the spirit of liberating the superhero in all of us, it is only a natural fit that every Empowered By You panty empowers women with their first break to make it. Instead of a ‘cape’ she is given a ‘b…

New Deal of the Day Company Distinguishes Itself With Cause Marketing

Do what I did after learning about Cause Rocket. Take the palm of your right hand and put it 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) above and to the northeast of your right eyebrow. Then with a gentle push, pop yourself right there on the head.

At the same time utter the word. “d’oh!”

That’s what I did and said when I saw Cause Rocket, a Silicon Valley startup that has a deal-of-the-day business model like Groupon or Living Social or Google Offers, only without the margin-killing discounting or the brand-destroying offers of its better-established competitors.

But, importantly, with the addition of cause marketing.

We all know the stories and business models of these deal-of-the-day websites. Groupon was founded as The Point, a kind of social initiatives website which pivoted to become the Alpha deal-of-the-day website.

Groupon has a huge sales force which fans out across the country (and now the globe), approaching mainly smaller merchants and service providers in local markets to offer t…

7 Steps To Improve Your Cause Marketing Career in the Next 30 minutes

With just a few more than 90 days before the end of the year, here are seven easy steps you could take in the next 30 minutes to improve your cause marketing career before year end.
Make an Appointment before Thanksgiving with Your Opposite Number at Your Partner Charity or Sponsor. Finish reading this list then call your partner at the cause or sponsor you work with and plan a casual meeting. The explicit purpose of the meeting, whether you admit to or not, is to help improve your personal relationship with this person, even if the relationship is already good. Remember what Covey said about trust: when trust is high, everything goes faster, costs less, and more pleasant. You almost can’t work too much on maintaining and building trust. Remember: how well you work with your colleague helps determines your success, their success and the success of your campaign. If you two don’t work well together your career could suffer and you’ll be less likely to achieve key goals. Create a Swipe F…

Do Corporate Social Responsibility Practices Raise Employee Productivity?

A professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a researcher at the University of Paris-Dauphine have found that companies which follow international environmental standards have employee productivity that is 16 percent higher than companies which don’t.

The study, called, 'Environmental Standards and Labor Productivity'  tested three hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: The adoption of environmental standards is associated with greater labor productivity.

Hypothesis 2: Training mediates the relationship between the adoption of environmental standards and greater labor productivity.

Hypothesis 3: Interpersonal contacts mediate the relationship between the adoption of environmental standards and greater labor productivity.

The authors, Magali A. Delmas of UCLA and Sanja Pekovic of the University Paris-Dauphine, looked at a 2006 employee-employer survey of 5200 private French firms with 20 or more employees, and compared the answers against a database of companies that had received ISO…

Bounceback Cause Marketing

Cause marketing sponsors might have several reasons for engaging in cause marketing  including boosting sales, building brand, and bolstering PR, among others. One of those goals might also be to give customers a good reason to come back after supporting a cause. Informally, it’s called a bounceback and you’ll see it commonly in retail settings for food and other consumables.

At the left is a current cause marketing campaign from Arby’s on behalf of a fundraiser called Happy Not Hungry that benefits childhood hunger fighting efforts from the Arby’s Foundation.

Make a donation to Happy Not Hungry during the month of September and you’ll get a coupon for a free item from Arby’s value menu, when you also purchase something else.

Although the flyer doesn’t mention it, the money passes through the Arby’s Foundation to No Kid Hungry campaign from the anti-hunger cause Share Our Strength.

There’s two elements to get right in a bounceback offer.

The first is that it has to both move people to d…

Using Cause Marketing to Help Expand a Regional Brand

Cheerwine, an extra-bubbly cherry-flavored soft drink bottled in Salisbury, North Carolina, is distributed to a relatively small portion of the United States, but is working towards national distribution in time for its 100th anniversary in 2017.

So how to prepare markets outside of the Southeast for a national roll-out in five years?

Part of Cheerwine’s answer is a cause marketing campaign called Avett Brother’s Cheerwine Legendary Giveback Concert, which takes place on Oct. 19, 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a benefit concert for Operation Homefront, a charity for the families of military families, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital in Charlottesville.

The Avett Brothers is an indie rock band with a cool bluegrass-country-pop-punk-honky-tonk sound.

The amount of money a benefit concert can raise is necessarily limited by the size of the venue, how much can be charged for tickets, sponsorships, and merchandising, and what the pr…

Picking Your Cause Marketing Partner

So how should a corporate sponsor go about sniffing out a cause marketing partner?

There are several… oftentimes opposing… schools of thought on the subject.

One is that you should pick causes that have some sort of link to your business. For instance, a food business should pick a food charity.

Why? So that your customers prospects don’t have to spend too much cognitive energy figuring out what the link is between the two organizations. Because customers just won’t do it. If it doesn’t make sense, they’re not going to pull out their phones to Google the question ‘Why does Acme Axel Manufacturing Company sponsor bone cancer research?’ Instead, it will seem like 'cause-nitive dissonance' and they’ll just ignore it.

The opposing view holds that customers see such links as cynical. In this view, a Consumer Packaged Goods that makes canned spaghetti sauce and links up with a network food bank network during the Christmas season is plainly just playing on their customer's emoti…

3 Ways Research and Cause Marketing Can Work Together

Bloggers's note: Today's post comes from guest blogger Erin Palmer, a writer and editor for University Alliance. She writes about nonprofit and public sector topics, Master of Public Administration online degree programs, analytics, metrics and other tools.

In its 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that organizations and institutions across both public and private sectors “will … increasingly use market research to ensure that program resources are being used effectively.” And for good reason: without good data, there is no good marketing. Cause marketing, in particular, relies on sound information, strategy, and data analytics. Here are three ways effective research can help you create better cause marketing campaigns.
1. Research provides vital data about your efforts and impact. Specifically, market data about political and other external influences, macro- and socioeconomic trends, and industry or cause-related contingencie…

Cause Marketing Bail Bond Services?

In its very earliest days, Apple Computer donated a lot of computer equipment and software to American schools. I can’t remember Steve Jobs or anyone else from Apple talking about why they did it. But I’ve long suspected that Apple wanted to be not only the computer of choice for schools, but schoolchildren. Because schoolchildren grow up to have mortgages and disposable income, and they want to buy electronics and computers from a familiar name.

In the case of one of my nephews, now an engineer, that’s exactly how it played out. He’s the family geek and an Apple aficionado and loyalist. As a result of his advocacy, so too is the rest of his family.

And so I wonder about this in-kind cause marketing effort from Bail Hotline Bail Bonds.

Tomorrow, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, employees from the company will stand outside elementary schools in San Bernardino and three other California cities and give away 1,000 backpacks to students as they get out of school.

This will be the third year …

Quick Testing Your Cause Marketing Campaign Ideas

In April 2012, Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock. The company had been shipping its product for less than 18 months when they accepted the offer. Even if, like me, you think that Instagram’s price was frothier than a berry smoothie at McDonald’s, you have to admit that the tech sector is building companies differently than everyone else, and this may hold some lessons for cause marketers.

So, what’s different? Well, one of the tech sector’s most notable playbooks “The Startup Owner’s Manual,” suggests one approach that more cause marketers could adopt; super-fast prototyping and, short, simple and objective pass/fail tests of cause marketing concepts and ideas.

When the authors, Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, say super-fast prototyping them mean it. They advocate throwing up a website as quickly as possible. Whether you intend to sell an ephemeral service like Instagram or a physical product, Bank and Dorf recommend you prototype a version they call the Mini…

Cause Marketing and Co-Branding

Remember when your geometry teacher told you that 'all squares were rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares'? Well, get ready for a similar mind-bender from cause marketing; all cause marketing is co-branding, but not all co-branding is cause marketing. defines co-branding as a "marketing effort or partnership between companies to join forces and use the best technology or content of each and lending both of their brands to the final product."

That sounds a little highfalutin. So let's just say that co-branding describes when brands combine efforts in ways such that they create mutual benefit.

There are several kinds of co-branding, including cause marketing itself.
Promotional/Sponsorship. This is the category cause marketing falls under. Another example is Fedex’s league-wide sponsorship of the National Football League.Ingredient. A recipe in a free-standing insert that includes Hershey chocolate bar and Kraft Marshmallows or Nabisco’s Ho…

Cause Marketing During Ramadan

In 2012 in the United Arab Emirates, Unilever and the UAE chapter of the Red Crescent Society teamed up for a cause marketing effort that took place during Ramadan, a month-long fast that observant Muslims across the globe annually observe in the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar.

In 2012 Ramadan began on July 20 on the Gregorian calendar. During the 29 to 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims fast…that is, refrain from eating or drinking… each day from dawn to dusk. When the day’s fast ends at dusk, Muslims then partake of food and drink, oftentimes as a communal feast as in the picture above. Needless to say, Ramadan is easier when it takes place in the winter rather than the summer months.

In this campaign, Unilever’s Comfort Creations brand of fabric softeners set up a series of drop-off points for used clothing, which the Red Crescent Society then provided to the needy. The drop-off points were located in three malls in Dubai. In 2012, the campaign was extended to a mall in Kuwait. It’s…

The Growing Asian American Market, a Likely Target for Cause Marketing

It’s peach season where I live and so with peach juice running down my face my mind naturally turns to China and Asia and the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. What do peaches and Asians have to do with each other? The prunus persica is Asian, a native to China that has long been a welcome addition to the American cornucopia.

Likewise, Asian Americans are emerging as a ripe target for cause marketing.

Asian Americans are among the best educated and the highest earners. At more than $500 billion, their annual buying power represents about 1/32nd of the entire U.S. economy. There are some 18.2 million Asian Americans in the United States, about 5.8 percent of the population. By 2050, they’re projected to grow to 40.6 million or 9 percent of the population.

Eighty percent of Asian Americans live in households with Internet access, the highest among race and ethnic groups. Chinese is the second most common language spoke in America after Spanish. The medium income of Asia…

Regal Entertainment Reports the Results of its Cause Marketing Campaign Called 'Straw Vote'

Yesterday Regal Entertainment announced the final tally of its August Straw Vote; Boys and Girls Clubs of America garnered $97,721 and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitals collected $65,692. Regal also split another $320,000 between the two causes.

In the promotion, which I highlighted on August 1, Regal donated $0.50 for each medium or large frozen fruit drink sold during the month. The purchase of cherry drinks supported St. Jude. The purchase of all other flavors supported Boys and Girls Club.

At the outset Regal capped the total donation to both causes at $600,000. But when all was said and done, Regal had donated $483,413 to the two causes. That suggests that Regal thought the promotion had more legs than it actually did.

Because 2013 is not an election year in the United States, it’s unlikely that Regal will repeat it next year, at least in this format. But that would be a pity, in my view.

Some things just take a while to catch on.

Actor Alan Rickman didn’t get his firs…

The Cause Marketing Post in Which I Invoke Both God and Andrew Carnegie

There’s a famous longitudinal study which found that children from homes where one or both parents were college educated would, by age four, have heard 32 million more words than would their peers from families who were on welfare. The quality and tone of the words in the homes with professional parents was also higher and more positive in nature.

A more recent study in the United Kingdom turned up very similar results.

Another influential paper called ‘Matthew Effects in Reading,’ found that early success in reading built on itself, while children that didn’t learn to read early were more likely to have trouble acquiring new skills later in life.  

The author, Keith Stanovich, called it the ‘Matthew Effect,’ after Matthew 25:29 in the New Testament: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

Reading and literacy track closely with long-term success in life. That is, the Matthew…

Cause Marketers: Protect Your Intellectual Property!

One of the things that Children’s Miracle Network learned early on in its production of its eponymous Telethon was that it had to tell specific stories of the individuals who benefited from its efforts: sick children. CMN, which was a path-breaking cause marketer, specifically decided that the narrative arc of those stories had to be about children who were sick but got better thanks to the specialized care available only at children’s hospitals in North America.

And so there would be no stories about children who died and none suggesting that if only people had been more generous with their donations that a child might still be alive. CMN decided that such approaches were exploitive of children.

By the time I joined the organization less than 10 years after its founding, the tone of these stories was well laid down. As was the name by which we referred to them; 'Miracle Stories.'

The term ‘Miracle Story’ described not only the videos that would appear on the Telethon, but it…

Do You Have Too Many Facebook Friends to Be Generous to Causes?

You, you’ve got thousands of followers on Twitter, hundreds of Facebook friends and an enviable Klout score as a result. And, according to some early research from Professor Kimberley Scharf at the University of Warwick in the UK, you’re probably a selfish SOB when it comes to donating to charities!

Scharf’s thinking is highlighted in her theoretical research paper, “Private Provision of Public Goods and Information Diffusion in Social Groups.” Scharf is an economist at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy.

“Information transmission about giving opportunities is undermined by free-riding incentives,” Scharf said in a press account. “I count on other neighbours to convey information and so save on the effort of doing it myself,” she said. “As well as relying on others to pass on information, it may also be true that people are even relying on others to donate.”

In economics a free-rider is someone who receives benefits from an activity, but…