Cause Marketing

Choosing a for-profit partner for your nonprofit has tremendous potential to help your organization and drive your mission forward, if you do it right. And today, when traditional funding sources are smaller than ever, corporate partnership is a strategy you can’t afford to ignore. And there are many great examples where such partnerships are a genuine win-win.

Cause marketing, the most popular type of nonprofit/for-profit partnership, was a strategy used initially by national high-profile organizations like American Express and  The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. But today’s options for effective cause marketing are much broader than that, reaching to the local level. But the key question remains: How do you assess whether cause marketing is the right strategy to pursue and, if so, how to start? READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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Joe-WatersYou know that cause marketing is a partnership between a for-profit and a nonprofit. Each partner has something to offer the other.

Cause marketing is certainly a potentially significant strategy in your overall nonprofit marketing plan. And some of you have a cause marketing program in place already. But for those of you who don’t (and that’s most nonprofits), how do you know when cause marketing is right for your nonprofit? Can it ever work for small or medium nonprofits, or is it just for the big guys? And if you decide to go forward, how do you bring the program to life?

Here’s expert guidance on these core cause marketing issues by cause marketer Joe Waters, Director, Cause & Event Marketing at Boston Medical Center.  Please add your suggestions and questions to the discussion.

P.S. Vote now to build your messaging skills and learn how to strengthen your own organization’s taglines by selecting the best in class in the 2010 Taggies — the third annual Nonprofit Tagline Award Competition. It’s a fun project that will help nonprofits in all fields discover what works, and why. Voting closes in a week so do it now!

Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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A Cause Marketing Coup

If you’re a Target shopper and/or a Ben & Jerry’s (B&J) fan you probably know about Volunteer Match‘s (VM) cause marketing coup.

Back in June,  B&J launched its Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder flavors at Target (a long-time VM supporter), aiming to encourage local volunteering via VM’s Scoop it Forward program.    After registering for a volunteer activity and forwarding the opportunity to five friends, all six people received a coupon for a free pint of one of the new flavors, redeemable at Target.

Reinvigorated to Reach New Audiences

That’s a five-start cause marketing partnership but focus on even the most engaging promotion flags after a while.  VolunteerMatch was determined to use this opportunity to engage additional audiences to build awareness of volunteering.

They devised a brilliant, funny strategy to do so — challenging Stephen Colbert (who has his own B&J flavor, Americone) to an ice cream taste off.

And what better (potentially viral) way to launch the challenge than this video: “I challenge Stephen Colbert – man to man and spoon to spoon – to see who has the ice cream flavor that people prefer,” joked Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch. “Anywhere. Anytime. Any tongue.”

After trying each flavor, Baldwin invites tasters to vote for the flavor they prefer, which is a great way to further engage those who hear about the taste off.

But the creative team at VM didn’t stop there. They generated major attention by storming the line of folks waiting to see the Colbert Report taping last week.  VM distributed sample sizes of Berry Voluntary, proffered a written challenge to Colbert and the show’s producers, and launched the video big-time!

With Great Immediate Results

The long-term results will be how increased awareness from the taste-off generates more VolunteerMatch volunteers. But that won’t be clear for awhile.

What’s immediately apparent is that the spectacularly original and marvelously engaging approach has gotten big time attention. The story launched on Monday and was immediately covered by Fast Company and the Huffington Post, among other channels. That means that VM has already reached new audiences.

Next step, getting Baldwin on the Colbert Report! I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Powerful Inspiration — Use It to Spice Up Your Campaigns

There’s lots of inspiration here. My challenge to you is this: How can you take a great existing marketing or fundraising campaign, spice it up and roll it out to engage new audiences (or re-engage those who might have seen it the first time round)?

P.S. Vote now to build your messaging skills by selecting the best in class in the 2010 Taggies — the third annual Nonprofit Tagline Award Competition. It’s a fun project that will help nonprofits in all fields discover what works, and why.

Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing, Unique Approaches | 0 comments
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nonprofit-branding-strategiesThanks for your intense interest in the Komen-KFC busted brand case study.

You jumped into the conversation on a critical issue in nonprofit marketing–what Komen should do next and ongoing standards for choosing partners, with an unprecedented level of participation. The 100 plus comments and emails submitted by Getting Attention e-update and blog  readers indicate the strong feelings about this deal.

What’s so compelling here is the range of issues the story raises for nonprofits of all foci, size and budget, including:

  1. The impact a bad decision makes on your organization, now and in the future—Komen and KFC forever?
  2. The importance of being poised for effective crisis communications—Komen has kept very quiet about the KFC partnership, letting others fill the space with their perspectives on the deal, and the issue.
  3. The necessity to define standards for partner selection—Standards are key baselines for decision making on partnerships of all kinds, although in general corporate partnerships require even more scrutiny.

Read the full article to learn how to handle these challenges to strengthen your nonprofit marketing now and in the long-term.

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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kfc-komen-nonprofit-brandYour feedback by May 7 please!

Choosing a corporate sponsor for your nonprofit has tremendous potential to either help or harm your organization and its mission. And there are many great examples where such sponsorship has proven to be a genuine win-win.

But it can be a slippery slope once you step out. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching, sometimes mouth agape, an ill-conceived and poorly handled corporate partnership.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m talking about Buckets for the Cure, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s® cause partnership with with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), launched via a huge TV advertising campaign. The campaign came on the heels of KFC introducing its mammoth-scale, heart-stopping Double Down sandwich.  I first blogged the Komen-KFC news here.

As I see it, Komen has undermined its own brand by partnering with KFC to market one of the unhealthiest foods there is — fried chicken in a pink bucket. And this to a nation struggling with a wide-spread obesity problem, a key precursor to breast cancer. The Colonel going pink? That’s absurd.

Read the complete Komen-KFC case study to learn how to stay out of this kind of mess when selecting corporate partners and how not to fail crisis communications 101.

Your feedback please: What’s your take on the Komen-KFC deal? What should be the standards for partnerships, particularly with corporate partners? And what should Komen do now to pull itself out of this hole?

Please share your thoughts by May 7. Just comment below or email me, and I’ll share your perspectives out with the Getting Attention community next week.

Some compelling recommendations have come in already, on both issues, and I’d like to add yours.  You can get an idea of the range of perspectives from reviewing these comments on the initial blog post. Thanks.

P.S. To follow the story as it develops, subscribe to the Getting Attention e-update.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Cause Marketing | 11 comments
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I just heard the news that Anita Roddick, The Body Shop founder and human rights and environmental activist, passed away on Monday, September 10th.

Anita was the first to bring civic concerns to business practice and succeeded wildly, eventually selling the company for more than a billion dollars and introducing civic participation to millions of beauty consumers. She was the mother of today’s cause marketing; a creative and business genius with a huge heart and soul and a true inspiration.

Here are just a few of her innovations:

  • Cruelty-free testing for Body Shop product development, and environmentally-solid packaging (including a refund when customers bring in empties to refill)
  • Requiring franchisees to support an environmental or community cause
  • Spreading the word via Body Shop trucks with short, funny but meaningful slogans including Roddick’s favorite (according to the Washington Post), "If you think you’re too small to have an impact, go to bed with a mosquito."

Here’s to Anita Roddick.

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Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Marketing News | 1 comment

I find myself increasingly intrigued by cause marketing. It’s marketing, right? And getting bigger all the time. A recent IEG study finds that cause marketing spending totaled $1.34 billion in 2006 — an increase of 7.5% — and is expected to reach $1.44 billion this year.

Cause marketing seems to be a strategy used by the known few — like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation/Avon and Red/Gap partnerships. But how does your nonprofit get a piece of it?

For answers, I turned to Joe Waters, one of the best cause marketers (and bloggers) I know, and Director of Cause & Event Marketing at Boston Medical Center. Read on for Joe’s guidance on capturing cause marketing dollars for your organization.

Take a look for more of Joe’s insights in his two blogs — Selfish Giving and The Savvy Giver.

And don’t check out these recent GA posts on the topic:

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Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Communications | 5 comments

                           Great news. Learn How to Use Social Marketing to Generate Health and Social Change -- Nedra Weinreich offers D.C. TrainingSocial marketing expert Nedra Weinreich is bringing her social marketing intensive to Washington, D.C.

Join her for a 2-1/2 day training to learn how to use social marketing to bring about health and social change.
Includes the Next Generation Social Marketing Seminar on March 30! More information and registration here.


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Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development | 0 comments

Using social-cause marketing techniques — as opposed to sports/entertainment affinity marketing — increases consumers’ perception of brands’ trustworthiness, according to a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article. That said, the research indicates that, when it comes to attributes related to functionality or performance, the type of affinity marketing partner does not sway consumer perception.

The authors use a market-research technique called “conjoint analysis” to help corporate marketers gauge the relative benefits of various types of affinity marketing programs, including sponsorship of social causes, sports or entertainment events. Conjoint analysis involves creating a variety of hypothetical brand profiles that contain combinations of brand attributes; by asking consumers to rank the profiles, researchers can gain insights into how different brand attributes affect consumers’ preferences.

In several experiments, the authors used conjoint analysis to examine how consumers’ responses to a brand of beer, milk or juice would be affected if the brand had a marketing affiliation with a social cause or with a sport or entertainment event. For some of the products studied, affiliations with social causes had more positive effects on consumer rankings than affiliations with sports or entertainment events. However, this was not always true; for example, it was not the case for the milk brands studied, suggesting that the effect of social-cause marketing initiatives may vary by industry.

This research, outlined in detail in the full article, is strong ammunition when you’re trying to close a deal with with corporate marketing folks. Assuming you’re not dealing with the Milk Council, that is. Put it to use and let me know how it works.

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Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources | 0 comments

You know that it’s October when the leaves start turning and the world turns a glorious pink. Yes pink, the herald color of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is showing up everywhere.

Advertising Age reported yesterday on Campbell Soup’s cause marketing success story — turning its iconic soup can on its ear by replacing the traditional red-and-white with pink-and-white, and adding a pink ribbon for breast cancer awarenessCampbell's Soup Parlays Pink Ribbon to Double Soup Sales
month at Krogers, a major national supermarket chain.

This is an incredibly smart strategy, and one that makes a far greater impact  since it’s on a product package so broadly recognized (and  one that does generate some emotional feelings of comfort, warmth and Mom). Few product packages  match the power of the Campbell’s soup can.

Campbell’s took its cause marketing to the max by “pinkifying” its best-selling soups. The result? Campbell’s sales for these varieties to the 2,500 participating Kroger stores doubled for the month of October, and motivated Kroger managers to display the soups outside the soup aisle.

It’ll be interesting to see sales figures at the end of the month. Assuming the campaign is successful, and since women are the main family shoppers, I bet it will be, Campbell’s plans to expand the campaign roll out for October 2007.

Win-win for Campbell’s and for breast cancer awareness as Campbell will donate $250,000, or roughly 3.5 cents per pink can, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in exchange for its doubled order. And a win for Kroger too.

Worry not, Campbell’s shareholders. The potential benefit for the soup scion is huge. 91% of consumers reported, via a recent Cone Communications survey,  that they have a more positive image of a company or product when it supports a cause, and a full 90% will consider switching to another company if it’s aligned with a cause.

What this shouts to nonprofit marketers is that there’s lots of opportunity out there for cause marketing development. Arm yourself with the right data (Cone’s research findings are a great start), and get going.

Keep your eye out for future posts outlining when cause marketing is right for your nonprofit, and how to take the first step.

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Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 1 comment

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