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Showing posts from June, 2013

Millennials and Cause Marketing

Telefonica, the big Madrid-based telecom, released an opinion survey this week of Millennials in 27 countries and six regions, asking them, among other questions, “do you think you can make a difference?”

What constitutes a Millennial is open for discussion, but Telefonica picked people 18-30. Gen-Y, as they are also called, is a huge generation important to both marketers and nonprofits. In the U.S. alone there may be 80 million of these Echo-Boomers (another name for them), depending on when you set the start and finish dates for the generation. That’s bigger than the Baby Boomer generation was in the United States. As the Millennials progress in their education and careers, get married, buy houses, have children, one theory holds that they could boost the world’s economy just by dint of their size, just like the Boomers did.

Some versions of the question were political, as in, “One person’s participation does make a difference in your current political system.” Globally, 45 perce…

Can You Cause Market to Men?

In the Summer of 2011 results starting coming out from the Dynamics of Cause Engagement study and among the headlines was women are generally more responsive to cause marketing than men, providing further confirmation of what many have long suspected.

But men aren’t absent from the cause marketing equation. I asked the Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) at Georgetown University, which authored the study, to parse out responses from men on key issues and they kindly obliged.

Cause marketing targeted to men is a topic of some interest to cause marketers. Cause marketing is a form of sponsorship. Its biggest rival for sponsorship dollars comes from sports, which as a whole is about seven times larger than cause marketing. Men constitute the usual target market for sports. In short, men participate in sponsorship in a big way. But cause marketers are still learning how to target men.

The topic of men and cause marketing also came up at a recent Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago. Mi…

Making Your Cause Marketing Promotion Clear and Understandable

In the fall of 2012 the New York Attorney General’s office released Five Best Practices for Transparent Cause Marketing. The first one was “clearly describe the promotion.” We might assume that the AG was speaking only to marketers with malintent (to use the neologism). But being clear and understandable can also be a problem for marketers with good intent too.

Case in point: This coming weekend June 28-29 Dave Matthews Band is doing a two-day concert at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. The promoter of the concert is Reverb, which is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to make concerts more sustainable. Reverb frequently partners with other nonprofits in the tours it promotes. For the Dave Matthews Band concert in Camden the nonprofit partner is the Food Bank of South Jersey. Reverb asks that fans bring non-perishable food with them to donate to the food bank.

That’s a promotion we’ve all seen and can understand, right?

But, amazingly, the press release issued by Reverb and …

Using Cause Marketing To Bring Technology and Wood Back Together

Back when the Beaver and Jack Benny show were on television, the TV sets on which Americans watched those shows was wrapped in glorious wood. The stereo in the age of the Mad Men was a piece of wood furniture as organic as the asparagus at the Farmer’s Market in Portland. But nowadays, as Fast Company recently pointed out, electronics can be metal or plastic or some combination thereby, but wood is as old fashioned as, well, an Old Fashioned.

Now a Massachusetts audio company called Vers is using cause marketing to help make people comfortable again about the combination of wood and technology. Vers makes compact speakers, earphones, and iPhone cases with wood. Vers systems have a reputation for sounding better than plastic, and wood is perhaps the most sustainable material on the planet. Vers uses farmed eucalyptus and pine, plus common sustainable hardwoods for its veneers.

The cause marketing piece is this: for every tree that Vers uses, it plants 400 trees via its partner, the Nati…

Another Benefit to Cause Marketing: Better Supplier Pricing

Two professors at the Ohio State University have a new take on the benefits of cause marketing; it helps keep supplier pricing in check.

Their paper, called “A Supply-Side Explanation for the Use of Cause Marketing” by Anil Arya and Brian Mittendorf, starts with the proposition that,
“firm profits under simple(non-strategic) corporate philanthropy wherein the firm pledges a donation amount to charity. The paper then demonstrates that the firm can achieve the same donation level while also cutting supplier costs by tying donations to sales. Such a cause marketing tie-in intrinsically undermines the per-unit profitability of each product by adding a new marginal cost of sales. As such, the cause marketing pledge makes the firm's input demand much more sensitive to supplier pricing. This increased sensitivity to pricing persuades the supplier to charge a lower price so as to boost demand for its input. In effect, by engaging in cause marketing, the firm is able to make the supplier a…

White Papers from the Cause Academy Senior Retreat Now Available

In March 2013, Jennifer Maher of the Cause Academy in Phoenix lowered her standards and invited me to be part of the Academy’s senior retreat. It was a veritable who’s who of cause marketing superstars. I was frankly in awe of the other attendees. But they were all so affable and fun my awe quickly turned to respect and warmth.

Two things distinguished the senior retreat from other cause marketing conventions. For one, there were no prepared presentations, just wide-ranging discussions on topical themes. The second thing that stood out was that wasn’t all just talk. Jennifer and her able director of operations, Nicole Buratovich, distilled all our ponderings (and a few vigorous debates!) into two useful and pertinent white papers: “Future Trending of Corporate Relations,” and “Words of Wisdom.”

The second white paper was premised on the questions “if I knew then as a noob what I know now as a grizzly veteran what would I do differently and what would I pass on to those new to cause ma…

Tubbs Reports the Results of its Romp to Stomp Cause Marketing Event

Tubbs, which makes snowshoes, recently announced the result of its 11th annual cause marketing event called Romp to Stomp, which benefits breast cancer charities in the United States and Canada.

This post is part of an occasional series when I announce the results of cause marketing efforts that I have posted on in the past. You can read that post here.

For the 2012-13, Romp to Stomp generated $369, 203 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Since 2003, Romp to Stomp has raised more than $2.5 million. This year 6,000 people took part in nine Romp to Stomp events in the United States and Canada, including 355 breast cancer survivors.

Romp to Stomp is basically a series of races, including Lil Romper Dash for kids 12 and under. The press coverage I saw said that 1/4 of participants tried snowshoeing for the first time at the event. It also said that the dollar amount raised was higher than the goal. Introducing new people is almost certainly another of …

Faux Cause Marketing From the CamelBak All Clear Bottle

In the May 2013 and June 2013 issues of Outside magazine CamelBak ran an ad for its new All Clear water-purifying bottle that looks for all the world like cause marketing. But it isn’t.

It depicts a photojournalist-style picture of Garrett Means, wearing scrubs and identified in the body copy as a humanitarian aid worker. To his left is a black woman holding an All Clear bottle.

The body copy continues; “the Tanzanian village that Garrett visited didn’t have any potable water. He used the CamelBak All Clear for all his personal water and taught the locals how to use it before he left.”

CamelBak All Clear bottles use UV light to treat .75 liters of water. You fill the $100 bottle with clear water, press the button for two seconds which activates the UV lamp and then shake it for 60 seconds so that the UV light gets to all the water in the bottle. The bottle has a lithium-ion battery in it that’s good for about 80 cycles before it has to be recharged. You can recharge it using a USB c…

Cause Marketing Gamification Targeted to Casual Online Game-Players

In another case of cause marketing mashed up with games, GoodGames offers a fraction of a cent to charity every time you play a game like Mahjongg Dimensions or Pyramid Solitaire on their website. Play three games and the cause of your choice…from a list of nearly 110,000 registered charities…gets one penny.


These aren't hard-core games, just versions of familiar favorites for casual online game-players.

The games come from Arkadium and the donation comes from advertising revenue on the site. Each game played generates about a penny in advertising revenue, which is split between your charity, Arkadium and GoodGames.

In the past we’ve talked about gamified cause marketing, which can take several approaches.

GoodGames is from the same company that brought us GoodSearch, GoodShop, and GoodDining, which together have generated a little bit less than $10 million for affiliated causes. The GoodSearch search engine generates a penny for your cause when use it. GoodSearch’s search resul…

Can Cause Marketing Start a Cultural Meme?

The King Salmon or Chinook is the largest species in the Pacific salmon family and in some parts of Alaska the population is weak, leading to restrictions on sport and commercial fishing in some areas of the Kenai River fishery, for instance.

A fishing lodge on the Kenai Peninsula called Alaska Hooksetters thinks that might be partly a marketing problem, and so it just started promoting a catch and release approach to King Salmon called “Spawn On” that features its own logo and Facebook page.

Catch and release is common among sport fisherman going after trout in the U.S. Catch and release means that when the fish is landed the fisherman removes the hook… usually a barbless hook… and allows the fish to swim free. Most, but not all, fish survive the ordeal.

I’ve got a brother-in-law who spends maybe a quarter of his weekends every year fly-fishing the blue-ribbon trout rivers of the Western United States. I mention this because he and his fly-fishing buddies are strict catch and release …

Cause Marketing for the Disrespected

One of the old reliables in service journalism is the “How to Avoid a Timeshare Scam” story. I typed that phrase in Google and got 444,000 results. The words “timeshare ripoff” generates another 78,000 results in Google. ‘Timeshare hard-sell” turns up 78,700 results. “Timeshare nightmare”? 229,000 results.

I’m sure there are legitimate and above-board timeshare operators, but they seem to be a pretty well-kept secret. And so I’m not surprised that an online timeshare sales service is trying cause marketing to dress up its reputation. Because if you were a good operator in disrespected sector, one way to get past public cynicism would be to align with a cause that prospective customers could care about.

Public cynicism about market sectors that have been broadly tarred isn’t just a problem for companies. A friend of mine used to be an executive director for a nonprofit that specialized in wilderness therapy for teens. Their results were very good and they never had any deaths or any near…

Getting Ahead at Your Nonprofit or Mission-Driven Company

A new study finds that “true believers” are more likely than non-believers to increase in status and influence, especially at organizations that are ideologically-oriented. So stow away that cynicism.

The research comes from the paper called “Status and the true believer: The impact of psychological contracts on social status attributions of friendship and influence,” published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of Organization Science.

“Those who were true believers in this company’s cause were considered idea leaders and influenced how other employees viewed their work,” said John Bingham, the lead author of the study and a professor of organizational leadership and strategy at BYU Marriott School of Management, but like yours truly, a alumnus of the University of Utah. “If the mission is a legitimate part of an organization’s identity, that tends to be the case,” he says.

Bingham and his coauthors, James B. Oldroyd, Jeffery A. Thompson, Jeffrey S. Bednar, and J. Stuart Bunderso…