Cause Branding Digest, November 17, 2015

Why Emerging Multinationals Are Embracing Social Responsibility
(Knowledge@Wharton, 12.11.15)

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that New York-based natural foods company KIND Snacks, in its first ten years, has grown from zero to over 450 million units sold. Its now-familiar rainbow-wrapped bars can now be found in over 150,000 retail stores. According to the article, founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky’s focus is to “make profit and make a difference … achieve mass distribution and make his products healthy.”

Date Aid: Are Charities Sending the Wrong Message?
(The Guardian, 10.11.15)

A new campaign by Bond is challenging charities that use pity to drive engagement in their anti-poverty campaigns.

5 Companies Engaging Their Employees Around Sustainability
(TriplePundit, 21.10.15)

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword that companies can simply talk about in order to improve their image. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are standard policies that every successful company must embrace to remain successful and profitable in the 21st century. Successful sustainability programs result in increased savings and profits through tax incentives and the inevitable consumer demand for greener products and services.

How Thoughtful Leaders Earn Employee Loyalty
(Convince & Convert, 09.09.14)

It’s axiomatic that customer satisfaction is every business owner’s first and highest priority. When customers are satisfied they will return and bring others. More customers means rising sales and profits. Right? Close, but wrong.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” —Simon Sinek

Cause Branding Digest, November 10, 2015

Businesses Serve Up Veterans Day ‘Thank Yous’ to Those Who Served
(, 10.11.15)

These corporate gestures of goodwill are growing in number, experts say, as brands realize they have much to gain by promoting a cause whose appeal crosses geographic and political lines, and as social media makes it easier for people to learn about and share promotions.

Condoms, Mustaches Find Mutual Cause in Movember
(CNBC, 09.11.15)

This Movember, SKYN by LifeStyles wants you to grow a mustache and remember to use protection. The Ansell Healthcare condom manufacturer is teaming up with The Movember Foundation to raise awareness for men’s health issues.

Deep Focus Creates ‘Impact’ for Cause-Related Efforts
(MediaPost, 06.11.15)

Creative shop Deep Focus is launching a dedicated cause-marketing unit to help clients connect with advocacy groups and organizations.

7 Ways to Build Trust with Your Clients
(TriplePundit, 20.10.15)

Great companies succeed because they understand the people they serve. When you begin working with a new client, you don’t sit across the table from balance sheets and industry numbers; you meet with people — all of whom have unique personalities, ambitions and challenges. Getting to know those people can be the difference between a lasting partnership and a failed sales pitch.

“If it is not in the interest of the public, it is not in interest of business.” —Joseph H. Defrees

Cause Branding Digest, October 27, 2015

Millennials More Attuned to Corporate Social Responsibility
(MediaPost, 01.10.15)

Millennials and people with children are more likely to invest in a company well-known for its corporate social responsibility programs compared to non-Millennials and people without children.

Volkswagen and the Failure of Corporate Social Responsibility
(Forbes, 27.09.15)

The Volkswagen case represents above all an absolute failure in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The company deliberately set out to design a means to circumvent emissions control—a stratagem known at the highest levels—with the aim of giving the company an unfair advantage over its competitors that made it the world’s number one car maker, in large part on the basis of its supposedly environmentally friendly cars; meanwhile it was poisoning the planet.

Role Businesses Should Play in Social Change
(Triple Pundit, 09.10.15)

As we move further into the 21st century, the global community faces an array of difficult challenges. Over one billion people are struggling with water scarcity, a problem particularly salient in California due to the ongoing drought. Alternatively, in places like Africa, the fight against dangerous diseases such as Ebola has captured the world’s attention. In order to overcome the challenges that face us all, we all must accept the responsibility to act. We each have a role to play — every individual, every city, every country and every business.

How Thoughtful Leaders Earn Employee Loyalty
(Convince & Convert, 09.09.14)

It’s axiomatic that customer satisfaction is every business owner’s first and highest priority. When customers are satisfied they will return and bring others. More customers means rising sales and profits. Right? Close, but wrong.

“Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision.” —Niall FitzGerald

Cause Branding Digest, October 20, 2015

3 Ways Empathy Can Help You Build a Killer Strategy
(Adweek, 07.10.15)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the company is creating a dislike button, or something similar. Sure, I’m curious to know what it’s going to look like, whether people will use it and how. But the thing that caught my attention—and has sparked the most conversation among my fellow strategists—is how Zuckerberg described the intent of the new button and what it might mean for users.

Ethical Mantra ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Becomes ‘Do the Right Thing’ for New Google Parent
(Marketing Land, 05.10.15)

The Wall Street Journal points out that Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, has a new code of conduct and a new ethical slogan: “Do the right thing.” The code states in its preface, “Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (‘Alphabet’) should do the right thing—follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.”

Unilever’s Keith Weed: It Is a Brand’s Role to Help Consumers Be Responsible Citizens
(Marketing Week, 01.10.15)

What do Ban Ki Moon, Bill Clinton and Beyoncé have in common? No, it’s not the start of a bad joke, but rather a snapshot of the people who were in New York City last week, all with the same aim – galvanising people to take action for the good of our planet.

How Memes Can Help Save the World
(Triple Pundit, 09.10.15)

What do Twitter sensation @MarnieTheDog, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and President Barack Obama have in common? If you thought climate change, you’re right. A viral social media campaign, #ClimateChangeIsReal, launched on Earth Day this year and discussed at a SXSW Eco workshop this week, taps into people’s fascination with celebrity culture and memes to raise awareness about climate change and make climate action mainstream.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” —Steve Martin

Cause Branding Digest, October 13, 2015

GoodCorps Survey Evaluates How Consumers Understand Goodness
(Triple Pundit, 07.10.15)

Ask anyone who’s launched a sustainable brand, and they might tell you that what consumers say they’ll do to support social and environmental causes and what’s reflected at the cash register are sometimes two different stories. According to social impact consultancy GoodCorps, the disconnect between sustainable words and actions might be better understood by asking consumers a fairly simple question: What makes a brand good?

How the United Nations Is Using Virtual Reality to Boost Global Diplomacy
(Adweek, 06.10.15)

During the United Nations’ 70th General Assembly last week, the U.N. attempted to bridge the gap between world leaders and Syrian refugees with a mix of virtual reality, documentary-style videos and good, old-fashioned conversation. It’s an example of modern storytelling on one of the world’s biggest stages that tech-minded marketers could learn from.

20 Companies Marketing Eco-Friendly Pink Products for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(Forbes, 01.10.15)

Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off today, and much like pumpkin-flavored treats this time of year, it is time to brace yourself for #pinktober everywhere. While it is great that so many organizations use this opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause, consumers need to be on the lookout for companies that are “Pinkwashing”—creating pink products that do not really support the cause but are sold in the name of raising awareness. Even worse, many of these products are cosmetics that contain known carcinogens—so they are actually contributing to the disease they are profiting from.

How Many Marketing Campaigns Have Eliminated a Disease? Pampers Has One
(Ad Age, 28.09.15)

The world is rife with cause-marketing campaigns, but few, if any, can claim to have eliminate a disease in any country, much less 17 of them. Pampers has one that can.

“A brand’s strength is built upon its determination to promote its own distinctive values and mission.” —Jean-Noel Kapferer

Cause Branding Digest, October 6, 2015

Does Doing Good Do Good for Your Brand?
(Forbes, 04.10.15)

In November 2005, New Orleans was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. Homes were uninhabitable, electricity was unreliable, and most people still lacked a permanent address, let alone the appliances necessary to clean the clothes on their backs. That’s when Tide showed up with a fleet of Whirlpool washers and dryers, offering free laundry service for families in need.

Millennials Enjoy Tying Vacation to Philanthropy
(MediaPost, 02.10.15)

Millennials are more generous with their time, money, and donations than any other generation, according to a recent study on travel and philanthropy. New data shows that 81% volunteered, 78% donated cash and 83% gave in-kind during their most meaningful trip from the last two years.

Prepare for Holiday Retail Success by Starting Your Charitable Plan Now
(Small Business Trends, 29.09.15)

Do you know what holiday charitable events and causes your small retail store will be participating in this season? Your big competitors do.

The High Cost of Marketing Follow-up Failure
(New York Business Journal, 02.09.15)

One of the passions we share is helping nonprofit organizations, and the reason we were meeting was to brainstorm on how we could combine our efforts to make more of a difference when working with nonprofits. We both feel like we could do more.

“I start by getting a sense of what I want them to feel when they’re done hearing from me—what I want them to feel, not hear me say.” —Charlie Shimanski

Cause Branding Digest, September 29, 2015

Older Millennials More Cynical About Cause Marketing
(Marketing Daily, 28.09.15)

While Gen Y continues to expect companies to become more committed to social and environmental causes—and to share about them through social media—there has been a shift, according to new research from Cone Communications. Older Millennials 25 to 34 are increasingly questioning their ability to make a real impact, and are more skeptical about corporate-cause efforts. Only 25% of them, for example, believes that making a purchase can create a significant impact, compared with 36% of those between the ages of 18 and 24..

Volkswagen and the Dark Side of Corporate Sustainability
(GreenBiz, 24.09.15)

Two weeks ago, the $50 billion German auto giant Volkswagen AG was named best in class—yet again—for automotive industry sustainability by the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

A Brand Is Just a Brand—Unless It Has a Purpose
(Forbes, 22.09.15)

Over the past several years, I have seen companies put more effort – meaning, more time and money – into their brand, and it’s starting to pay off. According to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2015 report, the brands in its Top 100 list are now worth $3.3 trillion, which represents a 14% increase over last year. The report, which is published by MillwardBrown, also notes that building and sustaining a valuable brand is essential to business success because of market disruption and the changing consumer mindset.

8 Branding Tips: Be Your Customers’ Best Friend
(Triple Pundit, 14.09.15)

Thirty-seven percent of employees say they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why, according to Stephen Covey’s “The 8th Habit.” If employees don’t know what their organization is trying to achieve, then customers sure as heck won’t know. What we have here is a branding problem.

“You can have everything you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” —Zig Ziglar

Cause Branding Digest, September 1, 2015

Here’s How Ethical Business Can Be Good Business, Too
(Quartz, 29.08.15)

From sponsoring the local Little League to developing environmentally-responsible technologies, US companies have long invested in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. Today, they spend an estimated $2 billion in cause marketing and another $14 billion in corporate philanthropy (IEG, Giving USA). And for many leading companies, from Wal-Mart to JPMorgan Chase, that means investing literally hundreds of millions of dollars in sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Why Meaning Beats Marketing
(Triple Pundit, 10.07.15)

These days you’ll hear lots about growth-hacking, social media savvy, PR pushes, and ways to spend your advertising and marketing dollars. I think it’s important to add one more option to that list — one that changes the dynamics of all the rest. Beyond (and sometimes instead of) focusing on the above, you can work on one simple aspect: making your product more meaningful.

6 Challenges for Cause Marketing Outside the US
(The NonProfit Times, 30.06.15)

The overall success of cause marketing campaigns in the United States has caught the attention of nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, making such ventures in an international setting look tempting.

Bringing Cause Marketing Forward
(MediaPost, 10.11.14)

Marketing can be a fierce competition around the holidays, but for some companies the holiday season brings out their more humanitarian sides as well. As consumers start planning get-togethers with family and friends over long weekends, marketers tap into their customers’ sentimental feelings and bring their chosen causes to the forefront of their campaigns (those marketers who have causes, anyway).

“Over the last 15 years we’ve developed our brand into a global brand, and we wanted our giving to follow suit.” —Tommy Hilfiger

Cause Branding Digest, July 7, 2015

Bigger and Bolder: The Architecture of Cause Marketing Campaigns in 2015
(The NonProfit Times, 01.05.15)

Cause marketing campaigns are in their heyday. Grander in scale and more sophisticated than ever, these campaigns are producing significant return on investment (ROI) for businesses and charities willing to invest the time, money, and effort.

7 Steps to Up Your Corporate Social Responsibility Game
(Entrepreneur, 22.04.15)

In an age when tweets about an earthquake move faster than the human experience of the tremors themselves, good global citizenship is nearly impossible to fake. I could prove this by producing charts and graphs showing how your company culture impacts your profits, employee turnover, job satisfaction and media coverage.

CSR Programs Are Not the Answer
(Forbes, 10.03.15)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are becoming increasingly popular in corporate America. There is no doubt that most make positive contributions to society and in some cases, make the sponsoring corporations more profitable. These programs may help organizations attract and retain employees and, in some cases, encourage consumers to buy their products. But are they the thing organizations can and should do in order to make our world better? I think the answer here is “no.”

4 Trailblazing Green Companies
(Triple Pundit, 19.02.15)

Going green is a hot trend in the corporate world. This may be a result of consumer preference, the drive to be a good corporate citizen or simply as a means to improve profit by reducing costs. Whether or not the public continues to see value in green as a trend, the necessity of reducing costs by going green will continue to be an important business driver.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” —Shannon L. Alder

Cause Branding Digest, June 30, 2015

How Corporate Social Responsibility Is Moving from Optional to Mandatory
(Forbes, 07.05.15)

“Sustainability for a business today is not a nice-to-do thing,” said Arif Naqvi, founder and group chief executive of the Abraaj Group. “It’s a have-to-do thing.”

Does Cause Marketing Actually Work? Measuring the Success of a ‘Drink More Water’ Campaign
(Fast Company, 06.05.15)

Did the talking water fountains and humorous ads of Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” campaign keep people more hydrated? New consumer tracking techniques can help answer the question.

A Next Generation of Cause Marketing Featuring … Integrity! (We Hope)
(Nonprofit Quarterly, 30.04.15)

Can we build work-lives around people–instead of the other way around?

To Create an Underlying Social Mission, Focus on the 3S’s
(Entrepreneur, 09.04.15)

Everybody has a story. Throughout my 20s, I was a workaholic. I was never present, and my dream was to sell my business. It wasn’t until I achieved my goal and made lots of money that I realized that this kind of success didn’t make me happy. In fact, it made me miserable.

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” —Betty Bender

Cause Branding Digest, May 26, 2015

Earned Media Can Yield Big Rewards for Philanthropy
(Huffington Post, 12.05.15)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate citizenship, philanthropy, engagement, shared value—regardless of the name you use, this aspect of doing business is here to stay. And like all core business attributes, communicating about it effectively is critical.

Marketing for Good
(Marketing, 27.04.15)

The rise of ultra-transparency has placed CSR in the midst of a revolution, with huge implications for marketing.

The Brands on a Mission to Do Well by Doing Good
(Marketing Week, 08.04.15)

Trying to change the behaviour of consumers is no easy task but brands are taking it upon themselves to educate the public about sustainability, with Birds Eye aiming to stop unnecessary food waste and Jigsaw aiming to stop clothing going to landfill.

The Key to Marketing Sustainability: Make It Sexy
(Triple Pundit, 29.01.15)

Sexy sustainability. You always put those two words together, right? Stop laughing. Sustainability is a lot of things, but for most of us, sexy isn’t one of them. That needs to change.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” —Simon Sinek

Cause Branding Digest, April 28, 2015

3 Ways Brands Can Use Corporate Social Responsibility Principles to Create Better Advertising
(Fast Company, 07.04.15)

A genuine attempt to build trust with an audience—and give a brand a sense of purpose—can be far more effective than traditional ads.

Building a Socially Responsible Company: From the CEO to the Front Desk
(Triple Pundit, 01.04.15)

What do a union advocate, a freelancer and an ex-convict have in common? There’s no punch line here—they’re all successful leaders and social entrepreneurs.

Decoding Green Twitter: Secrets for Online Sustainability Success
(GreenBiz, 12.02.15)

Cross-sector, cross-industry and cross-cultural connecting and collaborating have to speed the path for business sustainability, because business may be our only hope to get the job done. And it could be your individual prerogative as a sustainability leader—even more than your corporate affiliation — that helps you best mobilize support and join the march.

Erase the Line Between Cause and Marketing
(Entrepreneur, 03.12.14)

Something is new on the cause-marketing front, and big companies and entrepreneurs alike would be wise to notice—and employ. There’s experimentation in doing the sort of thing that might have once been part of cause marketing as overt marketing. The result may be good for businesses and communities alike.

“It is a truly powerful phenomenon when a brand makes a stand for what it believes in.” —Simon Mainwaring

Cause Branding Digest, April 14, 2015

7 Reasons Walmart Has Given Me Hope About Green Marketing
(GreenBiz, 23.03.15)

Twenty-five years ago this month, my book The Green Consumer hit U.S. bookstores. It promised that “Every time you open your wallet, you cast a vote, for or against the environment.”

5 Companies Doing Corporate Philanthropy Right
(Triple Pundit, 09.03.15)

Some companies just get it. They understand that nonprofits are out there fighting to make the world a better place, so they institute corporate giving programs that provide more funds, in more ways, to more organizations.

What’s the Best Way to Market Your Charitable Giving?
(Entrepreneur, 16.10.14)

From the red Dell laptops for AIDS awareness to pink Nike high-tops for breast cancer research, more companies are embracing social causes as ways of helping themselves and others. Such cause-related marketing generally produces win-win outcomes: The for-profit companies generate goodwill and earnings, while the nonprofit causes share in income they may not otherwise have seen.

‘Green and Growth Can Go Hand in Hand Together’
(Forbes, 23.09.14)

What a difference a decade makes. Corporate leadership is now very keen to be seen to be embracing the values of sustainability. But individual leadership has also made all the difference. Once UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon threw his weight behind the Climate Summit in New York, it moved onto a different platform.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” —George Bernard Shaw

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 12, 2015

Brand Activation 2015: Complex, Uncertain and Filled with Opportunity
(, 08.01.15)

On the whole, the predictions of top B2B marketers and agency leaders (from the BMA International board of directors) are positive and optimistic. Yet underlying the sense of opportunity is uncertainty. I’d go so far as to call it anxiety. You can read the full set of predictions here, but these extracted passages make my point.

I’m with Stupid: The Management Mistakes that Attract Activist Investors
(Forbes, 06.01.15)

Activist investors have always had a fair bit of notoriety. And over the last year, their reps have evolved as they have become “increasingly involved in the financial, operational and management sides of the businesses in which they invest,” according to the latest Shareholder Activism Insight Report from the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. (Technically an activist investor gets this status through regulatory filings called 13Ds; these are submitted when they have a 5% stake in a company—although even with smaller stakes, some investors can use moral suasion and social media to be “activist.”).

How to Lead a Purposeful Company Toward Social Change
(Fast Company, 05.01.15)

While a cause can often find its voice through social media or grassroots movements, Purpose cofounder and CEO Jeremy Heimans believes using resources towards advocacy and movement building is the key.

Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders
(Harvard Business Review, 15.12.14)

Many organizations would like their leaders to create more innovative teams. But how exactly should they do this? If you ask highly innovative leaders what makes them effective you are apt to hear, “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” Or they will make something up that sounds compelling. But the fact of the matter is that people who excel at something aren’t usually very good at pinpointing exactly what accounts for their skill.

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” —Kristin Armstrong