Skip to main content

Kaizen and Cause Marketing

When translated into English, the Japanese word Kaizen is typically rendered as “continuous improvement.” That is, to keep working on your processes… implementing small and oftentimes cheap improvements… to make them better and better. Few companies or nonprofits… in Japan or anywhere else… are likely to survive if they don’t practice some version of kaizen. And it’s precisely the word to describe what Toyota’s marketing department practiced with its cause marketing effort called “Meals Per Hour,” which is a video about the people of Rockaways, New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

Rockaways is a thin peninsula in Queens, New York that faces the Atlantic, sorta like a barrier island. As the crow flies, it’s only five or six miles from the center of Brooklyn. But unless you’re a crow it’s a little remote for New York City. And so when Sandy hit, the Rockaways were devastated, what with all that ocean frontage. And getting food relief to them was a challenge.

It was made all the more challenging because the food bank delivering food to the Rockaways wasn’t as efficient as it needed to be. People in the Rockaways waited in line for food for hours. Putting each box together took volunteers three minutes. Sometimes the food bank would run out of food before helping every family, even though their delivery truck had been full.

Meals Per Hour describes how Toyota dispatched a couple of efficiency experts to teach the Toyota Production System, the company’s own version of kaizen to the Metro branch of the New York Food Bank serving the Rockaways.

The video explains how they suggested simple ways to improvement the system, so that the Metro branch was able to get more boxes on the truck, and pack them in just 11 seconds! The end result was the needy residents of the Rockaways were served better and faster.

But this post isn’t about the kaizen of the Metro Food Bank it’s about the kaizen of Toyota’s marketing department after they had released the video.

Toyota set up the video such that every view generated a meal for the New York Food Bank, ending today. Toyota's goal was 1 million views and 1 million meals. When I watched it last night the viewcount on YouTube was 1,000,001, I kid you not.

Toyota activated it with paid media. Paid search, for instance. But the ‘Watch One, Give One’ approach quickly paid off and Toyota’s marketers decided to reroute the budget for campaign activation to the Food Bank.

“Once the documentary launched and we saw the amount of organic pick-up, we re-allocated our paid media dollars to fund additional donations to [meals nonprofit] Food Bank,” Marjorie Schussel, Toyota's Corporate Marketing Director, told Adweek. “Today, there is only a small amount of paid search on targeted terms allocated to support Meals Per Hour.”


In other words, not only was the video about kaizen the cause marketing promotion became about kaizen, too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …