Monday, November 30, 2009
Several years ago, “cause marketing” was introduced as a new tactic to help companies sell their products by introducing a charity tie-in. Especially during holiday seasons, shoppers will notice products stating that a portion of proceed sales will benefit a charity. This is cause marketing – introducing a nonprofit tie-in to move products from shelves.
Over time, savvy charities have begun investing in a more long-term approach, known as “cause branding,” which moves the corporate-charity relationship to a whole new, more intense level. Cause branding is a community relations program designed to build brand equity and shape corporate character through a longer-term strategic alliance with a charity cause.
In 1999, Cone Inc., a leading authority on cause related marketing and the organization that coined the term cause branding, introduced the Cause Related Trends Report, which built a strong case for philanthropic giving as a useful corporate tool in fostering a favorable public image. According to the report:
Americans will take action to reward good corporate citizens.
For corporate executives, perhaps the most convincing evidence of the need for strategic philanthropy programs is the impact that they can have on the company coffers. The Cone/Roper report revealed that, with product price and quality being equal – as is perceived to be the case with many companies in any industry – nearly two-thirds of American consumers would likely change their brand or retail preferences based on whether or not an association exists with a community cause.
Corporate citizenship builds employee morale.
Corporations struggle to keep good employees. According to the Cone report, cause-related programs can help with employee retention. Of the workers at companies coordinating cause-related programs, 90 percent indicated a strong sense of pride in their employer as opposed to 56 percent of those whose companies do not engage in such community efforts.
September 11 intensified both.
Cone performed a similar survey shortly after September 11, 2001 to determine if and how consumer and employee expectations changed in the wake of the national tragedy. The results showed a significant spike of between 20 and 50 percent in both categories, leading to the conclusion that an active corporate community relations program is more important to a company's success than ever. While the Cone report focused on the retail sector, several of the themes also apply to other markets.
Since that first report, consumer expectations of companies have risen. And the charities that look for opportunities to make their corporate partners heroes – not just for opportunities for the charity to get a quick donation – stand to prosper over the longer term.
Criteria for successful cause branding programs
Charities should be able to offer their corporate partners cause branding strategies for integrating your mission and stories into every aspect of their business. Start by helping your partners define what would constitute a successful outcome and then work your way backward to develop a program that meets those criteria. Successful cause marketing:
Is designed as a long-term program.
Branding campaigns, corporate or charity, are not six-month or one-year endeavors. They take several years. Deliberate planning and active commitment are key.
Addresses a highly critical, timely, and visible social cause.
Find companies that are not tied to a particular cause and who could benefit from an association with your brand. There are lots of companies who would love to be perceived as a champion for a cause if they only knew how. Show them how they can help people. How they can engage the media. How they can connect with important decision makers and politicians. And how their employees can rally for your cause. The contributions will follow.
Integrates into the corporate values and business model.
A focused cause program must become a part of the sponsor’s corporate culture. Everyone in the company must understand and buy into the effort. It must be included in strategic business planning discussions and become a company program, not a marketing function.
Some companies encourage pro bono activities or service in non-profit organizations. But few companies actively offer their employees specific and ongoing volunteer opportunities. Cause-related partnerships offer employees the chance to share a common commitment, instilling a sense of pride in their role in the company and the community.
Is supported with money, time, volunteers, promotion.
Many companies are looking to do more than just give money. Show them how they can get involved with the cause from many angles. Charities need to provide account management support to help design and implement multi-faceted campaigns.
Can make a measurable impact.
Your goal is to demonstrate to sponsors exactly how they are making a difference in the lives of people living in their communities. Make sure they can see how and when they are moving the needle.
Cause branding programs are not easy. And not every corporation will be the right fit for a partnership. But when done right, cause branding relationships provide a much bigger benefit to both the for-profit, and non-profit partners than just a one-off donation.
Petri Darby, APR, is a partner with BrightBox, a Houston brand marketing, design, and strategic communications firm. He served in the Make-A-Wish Foundation national office as the first brand manager in the charity arena, and has managed cause/corporate partnerships from the corporate side. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (281) 252-0979
Friday, November 20, 2009
December 9, 2009 from 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
"The 3 R's of Volunteerism". A vital and crucial resource for most non-profits is their volunteers. How you get them (Recruit), use them effectively (Retain), and then show your sincere appreciation for them (Recognition) is of paramount importance. Come to this interactive discussion at ESCH to learn the tools and techniques to be successful in this critical area and to share and learn from each other what works best for your nonprofit.
Where: Montgomery County United Way located on
731 West Davis
Conroe, TX 77301 - map
When: Wednesday, December 9 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
How: Call Yeiry at 713-780-2208 to register. Payment can be taken over the phone as well.
Note: Please feel free to bring your lunch. Brown bags are welcomed!
Presenter Dave Teall has vast
experience from his
32 year career with Shell.
He has helped over 20 organizations
with his expertise through ESCH.
Please Note - Cost: $15 per person unless otherwise stated; Seminar fees must be received at least 72 hours prior to the event. You may call with credit card information or mail a check to ESCH. Seating is limited to 20. To reserve a place, please call Yeiry (713-780-2208) and pay by credit card (all major cards except American Express) or send registration fee to:
ESCH, 2630 Fountain View, Suite 428; Houston, TX 77057.
For a refund, a cancellation must be received 72 hours before the event. In case we need to cancel the seminar, it is important that we know that you intend to come. If a seminar is cancelled, a full refund will be given.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Domenico Luciano in Dominic Walsh's Amadeus for Anita.
Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Photography InSight
DWDT’s previous strategic plans had lacked necessary components and a driving force behind them. ESCH’s approach, however, produced a comprehensive and detailed plan, with clear objectives and expectations. Ivan also began attending executive committee meetings to push the plan as a discussion topic at these meetings, to keep the board focused on the plan’s goals and strategies. DWDT is now moving toward a goal of more efficient operations to reach a larger audience. As the plan is implemented, more people will enjoy the performances that DWDT brings to our community.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
- What was your career background before joining ESCH as a consultant?
I am the VP of Marketing for WellPoint Systems. We provide software and related services to the energy industry.
- When did you get involved with ESCH?
I became involved in ESCH in early 2009
- What inspired you to become an ESCH consultant?
I was looking for a way to use my business skills in a volunteer environment. As I am still working full time, the project approach of ESCH works well for me.
- What has your experience been like so far?
I have been assigned to one project thus far and am very impressed – both with the ESCH volunteer, John Wagner and the project – developing a marketing plan for Westview School. The team at the school are such an amazing group of dedicated people that have been an inspiration to me. Working under John’s leadership has taught me a lot about non-profits and how ESCH helps them be the best that they can be.
- What do you see as the biggest common issues or trends facing nonprofits right now?
I don’t have a lot of insights on this, but I do believe that in this economy, funding would be a challenge.
- What has surprised you most in your experience with ESCH?
I’ve been surprised and impressed by the impact that ESCH can have on these nonprofits. Even though our project at Westview is not complete, I feel that John and I have made a positive impact of the staff there. With each meeting, they become more aware of how marketing can help them – and how well they are at marketing. Little tidbits of knowledge go a long way.
- What do you do with your time when you are not working on ESCH client projects?
Ha!! Good question. I work at my day-job!
- What else would you like to tell us about you?
I have a husband who retires from Marathon Oil Company January 1, 2010. He serves on the Board of Susan G. Komen as their Treasurer. We have a 26-year-old who works as an energy trader for Citi, and second son who is a Freshman at St. Thomas High School – and plays in the high school band. We spend Friday nights watching STHS football! Our family fosters golden retrievers for Golden Beginnings and I am involved in my church – Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral.
I look forward to the day (4 years from now) that I can retire and provide more service to ESCH