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Cause Marketing Your Why

For about a year in 2009-2010 it seemed that at 60 percent of the business meetings I went to some mention was made of ‘finding your why,’ a reference to the book called Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

I found myself thinking of the adverb form of the word ‘why’ when I saw this free standing insert (FSI) from the German skincare company Beiersdorf, owner of the brands Nivea and Eucerin.

Mind you, few cause marketers are as unsentimental as I am. Across the nearly 1,000 posts in the Cause Marketing Blog, I’m almost always the one that supports cause marketing for the causes. More than once I’ve said, in effect, 'who cares if you have a sponsor’s heart and soul, you got their check and any attendant publicity.' (I defended Komen during the KFC debacle, for crying out loud!). So long as the deal is done legally, ethically, and transparently, not much about cause marketing gives me heartburn.

But nowadays companies have an astonishing choice of causes to partner with. And in cases like this where the sponsor’s line of business has little to do with the cause, it would help to know why Beiersdorf choose Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

It doesn’t need to be much. We don’t need to hear that the CEO was once a Little Brother or Sister who later got a scholarship to Yale in part due to their ‘Big.’ Or that worldwide Beiersdorf has supported youth mentorship since 1978. All we need to hear is that people in the company admire the mission Big Brothers and Big Sisters and have been touched by the vital work they do.

All I’m saying to Beiersdorf is tell us why you care so that we know why to care about your offer.

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