Cause/CSR Branding Digest, Aug. 9, 2016


Social Responsibility Buoys Business Health
(Business in Vancouver, 02.08.16)

A business that is concerned only about profits is kind of like a person who is obsessed with his or her own body mass index (BMI). While a BMI can tell you vital information, it doesn’t give you a full picture of your health. Similarly, a focus solely on profit that ignores social responsibility does not give an accurate description of the health of a business.


Subway, Coca-Cola Launch Clean Water Cause Marketing Campaign
(MediaPost, 26.07.16)

Subway and the Coca-Cola Company are partnering on a clean-water cause marketing campaign.


Record $373.25 Billion Given to U.S. Charities
(The NonProfit Times, 14.06.16)

Donors dug deep during 2015 and reached record highs in charitable giving for a second consecutive year hitting $373.25 billion, up 4.1 percent from 2014, according to preliminary estimates released today. It’s the first time in a decade that giving reached double-digit growth during a two-year period at 10.1 percent.


4 Ways to Share Your Brand’s Philanthropic Story
(TriplePundit, 17.05.16)

According to a 2015 study by Cone Communications, 64 percent of millennials use social media to address or engage with companies around social and environmental issues.


“[The] glorious power of free will to choose envisages beneficent social responsibility as manifest and welcome.” —Louis Sullivan


Cause/CSR Branding Digest, Aug. 2, 2016


Why CFOs Need to Consider Sustainability
(CFO, 25.07.16)

With sustainability capturing the attention of consumers, regulators, activists and the media, organizations can no longer afford to put it on the back burner. Sustainable initiatives are now integral to a company’s overall business strategy and as such, the responsibility for driving these programs falls on all departments across the organization — from procurement and compliance to marketing, finance, and sales. While procurement plays a vital role in making sure products and services are being sourced from vetted, sustainable suppliers, financing sustainable initiatives is just as important.


Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing Emerging Market Multinationals
(Sustainable Brands, 11.07.16)

This report evaluates the disclosure practices of 100 major emerging market multinationals headquartered in 15 countries and active in 185 countries. Part of a series on corporate reporting published by Transparency International since 2008, the series was expanded to include a first report on emerging market multinationals in 2013.


Philanthropic Gamification Becoming a Virtual Reality
(The NonProfit Times, 24.05.16)

Bioluminescent life is on the decline at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It is up to museum visitors to travel to the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life to identify bioluminescent squid, photobacterium and pollutants. As participants remove the presence of pollutants, the squid are able to glow bright again.


Why Are the Elderly Forgotten When It Comes to Corporate Responsibility?
(TriplePundit, 20.04.16)

Every so often, we see a government report or television exposé about the tragedy of elder care and the plight of many senior citizens in the U.S. Such news will come with brief tut-tutting, then will be quickly forgotten thanks to our 24/7 news and social media cycle. But we continue to ignore the stubborn facts about our nation’s evolving demographics.


“The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has long been used as an effective lens through which to examine the actions business can take toward ensuring mutual long-term well-being and sustainability.” —Klaus Schwab


Cause Branding Digest, July 19, 2016


What Makes Cause Marketing Different?
(Search Engine Journal, 14.07.16)

Cause marketing is what happens when a for-profit business works together with a nonprofit in a way they both can benefit. In fact, it’s more common for companies to work toward a social cause than not.


Cause Marketing: How Your Company Can Focus on Purpose as Well as Profit
(Business2Community, 23.06.16)

Now more than ever before, cause marketing initiatives hold importance in the workplace. Companies who exhibit social responsibility have a competitive advantage as their values illustrate that they care about more than just increasing their bottom line. For consumers, this plays a critical role during the decision-making process and can be the difference between brand loyalty or disengagement.


The Psychology Behind Successful Cause Marketing
(Content Standard, 18.05.16)

Every morning with a cup of wake-up fuel in hand, I turn on the TV to watch the news, and I’m bombarded by ads I can’t stand. When I try to remember the last time I got annoyed with a brand I needn’t think back more than 15 minutes. But when was the last time I was inspired by a brand, or moved by its story?


As Corporations Fade, a Search for What’s Next
(TriplePundit, 27.04.16)

Apple’s market cap ($607 billion) is more than the GDP of Argentina or Sweden. But the dinosaurs got big, too. And many publicly traded corporations are like dinosaurs, says author Gerald Davis. They cannot keep up with changes in hiring, sourcing and technology. He attests that they are becoming obsolete, and it’s time to think about what’s next.


“The voluntary approach to corporate social responsibility has failed in many cases.” —David Suzuki


Cause Branding Digest, June 7, 2016


3 Surprising Lessons a Major Nonprofit Learned when It Analyzed Its Advertising
(Adweek, 01.06.16)

Nonprofits rarely have the luxury of big advertising budgets, and it’s not often they get a chance to analyze whether their ads are working. But a new study may help shed some light on the kinds of ads that actually help drive donations.


Transparency and the Key to Consumer Trust
(TriplePundit, 03.05.16)

No issue better highlights the importance of business transparency than the recent battles about the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. The agreement by the world’s largest cereal, soup and candy makers to label products earlier this year may have sprung from Vermont’s new GMO labeling law, but it underscored consumers’ demand that they have a right to know what they are buying—right down to the molecule.


How Social Good Fuels Recruiting
(Talent Management, 19.04.16)

For companies that want to recruit the best young talent, aligning corporate social responsibility, or CSR, investments with employees’ interests—and communicating those efforts in recruiting campaigns—has become a critical step in the war for talent.


Corporate Social Responsibility Is Good for the Bottom Line, but Doesn’t Wash Away a Firm’s Sins
(Phys.org, 04.03.16)

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR—a name for the actions companies take to advance social good, above and beyond that which is required by law—continues to draw interest from practitioners and academics alike. One question that practitioners have is whether CSR impacts their firm’s performance.


“If you can shift your thinking away from merely selling and into building trust instead, even if it costs you a few bucks in profit, you’ll begin to see opportunities you never imagined.” —Chris Zane


Cause Branding Digest, May 31, 2016


Conscious Capitalism: Evolving the Narrative of Business
(TriplePundit, 26.04.16)

Conscious capitalism exists to utilize business to elevate humanity. Raj Sisodia is a distinguished professor of global business at Babson College and co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.” As a keynote speaker at the conference, he said: “It hasn’t been government, religion or nonprofits that has lifted people out of poverty. It has been business.” Have you ever thought about what has lifted people out of poverty?


‘People’s BS Detectors Are High’: Brands Have Given Consumers Cause Fatigue
(Digiday, 14.04.16)

In the run-up to Earth Day last year, Megan Marshall and her team at Olson Chicago sat facing executives from one of the biggest consumer brands and held an intervention: The brand wanted to tie an Earth Day event into its veteran’s charity. Marshall balked. Customers had reached peak cause fatigue.


A Model of Authentic Brand Contribution—John Varvatos and Stuart House
(Forbes, 11.04.16)

As brands around the world recognize the benefits, and increasing necessity, of being a force for good in the world, the most critical consideration is to ensure that your actions, commitment and messaging come from a place of authenticity. The enduring partnership between John Varvatos and Stuart House is a model for meaningful impact achieved through an empathetic commitment to contribution.


Tough Social Issues Provide a Challenge for Companies and Researchers
(Phys.org, 22.02.16)

Multinational companies are facing tough issues like climate change, poverty and human rights. A new study published in the Journal of World Business suggests that they are increasingly seen to have a responsibility to support sustainable development.


“Inspiration is difficult to measure, but the results driven by that inspiration are powerful.” —Scott Harrison


Cause Branding Digest, May 24, 2016


Why Brands Should Take a Lesson from Unilever on Sustainability
(CampaignLive, 17.05.16)

The consumer has now become the dictator, forcing many big brands to change their ways. In its latest sustainability report, Unilever has revealed why its focus on this issue is proving good for business.


The ‘Truth’ About Modern Cause Marketing
(Huffington Post, 28.04.16)

Just like promoting any consumer brand, starting a lasting conversation about a particular non-profit, cause or charity requires collaboration across all lines of marketing communications. The media landscape is in a state of constant evolution, and just like brand marketers, non-profits need to embrace evolving opportunities and techniques in order to be effective. We’re learning much about this category through our work with Truth Initiative, the national public health organization that funds and directs the truth® campaign.


Ad Campaign Encourages Creatives to Think Beyond Consumerism
(Sustainable Brands, 05.04.16)

Artist network Brandalism believes that the talent, energy and creativity of ad agency employees is “sinking into an ever-expanding black hole.” The network recently launched a campaign to appeal to those who feel the same, by placing several posters in front of ad agency offices in Manchester and London.


Corporate Philanthropy Can Have a Positive Impact on Employees
(Phys.org, 27.01.16)

Corporate philanthropy benefits organizations in many ways: Giving enhances a business’s reputation and strengthens a business’s efforts toward corporate social responsibility. But does corporate philanthropy do anything to benefit a business’s employees?


“Globalization makes it clear that social responsibility is required not only of governments, but of companies and individuals.” —Anna Lindh


Cause Branding Digest, May 17, 2016


What Can Vodka Do for Social Impact? Cause Marketing and Why It’s a Good Thing
(Huffington Post, 28.04.16)

Cause marketing—where brands associate themselves with a non-profit cause to entice you to buy their product—is nothing new. In fact it probably hit the mainstream in the early 80s—American Express coined the term cause-related marketing in a campaign to restore the Statue of Liberty.


Why Embracing Profitable Good—Not CSR—Will Help You Stay Ahead
(Sustainable Brands, 28.04.16)

For all the talk about the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the truth of the matter is most executives don’t believe it drives direct bottom line business benefit, or that it effectively addresses societal problems.


The Knowledge Revolution: Big Data and Sustainability
(TriplePundit, 20.04.16)

Sustainability poses many questions. For a long time, answers were scarce. But thanks to new analysis methods and an increasing willingness to share data, sol¬utions that were completely inconceivable until recently are now becoming possible: For instance, big data allows us to optimize cancer treatment or to identify slave labor in the supply chain.


56% of Nonprofits Testing Content Marketing Strategy
(The NonProfit Times, 19.04.16)

Three out of five nonprofits surveyed have at least one staff member dedicated to online or digital strategy while more than half have a team of at least two to five people. The trend, however, is more common in larger organizations with smaller nonprofits lagging behind.


“It’s a full-on job just looking for human social responsibility.” —Colin Greenwood


Cause Branding Digest, May 10, 2016


Business Is Taking Action on LGBT Rights. Will Climate Change Be Next?
(Harvard Business Review, 09.05.16)

After North Carolina passed a bizarre transgender bathroom law with sweeping implications (one that, according to the Justice Department, is probably illegal), an impressive list of big companies made their displeasure known. The CEOs of dozens of corporate giants  — including Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Citibank, Facebook, Google, IBM, Kellogg, Marriott, PwC, and Starbucks  — sent an open letter to the governor to defend “protections for LGBT people.” PayPal canceled plans for an operations center in the state, and Deutsche Bank announced it would freeze the addition of 250 employees in the state because of the law.


13 Steps to Building Rapport with For-Profit Partners
(The NonProfit Times, 09.05.16)

Enlisting the cooperation of businesses to start a cause marketing campaign is a lot like fundraising in general: building rapport with the targeted company is essential even before the partnership begins.


The ‘Truth’ About Modern Cause Marketing
(The Huffington Post, 28.04.16)

Just like promoting any consumer brand, starting a lasting conversation about a particular non-profit, cause or charity requires collaboration across all lines of marketing communications. The media landscape is in a state of constant evolution, and just like brand marketers, non-profits need to embrace evolving opportunities and techniques in order to be effective.


No Amount of CSR Will Help, If Your Product Isn’t Great
(Marketing, 14.04.16)

Brands have a credibility problem and in a world where bad news spreads like wildfire, this isn’t an issue brands can ignore. While brands might be tooting their horn over the contribution they have made towards society and environment, Cohn & Wolfe’s latest study on what it means to be an authentic brand shows otherwise.


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


Cause Branding Digest, May 3, 2016


Small Businesses Can Give Back Too: You Don’t Need to Be a Corporation to Practice Corporate Social Responsibility
(allBusiness, 26.04.16)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR). You may have heard the term, but many don’t really understand what it is and why it must be part of a marketing strategy. It is often misunderstood or looked at as something only a Fortune 500 company should be doing.


The Real Reason Millennials Want Your Brand to Have a CSR Program
(Just Means, 25.04.16)

There has been a lot of talk in the CSR space about millennials and attracting them to your brand. The prevailing theory is that millennials expect the brands they support to have a CSR program. Unfortunately, there has been very little justification offered for this claim, typically a superficial stat about how people prefer companies with a CSR program over ones without. Who wouldn’t?


Meet the Founder of the Fashion Brand ‘Rallying’ for a Cause
(NBC News, 20.04.16)

Olivia Rose Fay was content with her career as a marketing professional for high fashion brands — like Prada, Cartier, and Alberta Ferretti — but when she saw the documentary “Girl Rising,” everything changed.


Madonna Badger, 4 Years After Tragic House Fire, Reveals Powerful New Crusade
(Today.com, 26.01.15)

Just over four years after losing her parents and daughters in a Christmas house fire, Madonna Badger is now throwing her energy into a new cause.


“Through their own actions, customers can hold companies responsible to higher standards of social responsibility. Through collective action, they can leverage their dollars to combat the force of those investors who myopically pursue profits at the expense of the rest of society.” —Simon Mainwaring


Cause Branding Digest, April 26, 2016


Where Wal-Mart and Philanthropy Mix
(The Wall Street Journal, 26.04.16)

On a recent Thursday night here, hundreds gathered in a hotel convention center for another chicken dinner in the name of a good cause.


How Not to Connect Your Brand to a Social Cause
(Eco-Business, 25.04.16)

Efforts by brands to support environmental messages can be a popular success or go horribly awry. Strategy consultant Anthony Caravello outlines a recent misstep by grocery delivery service Honestbee to show how not to connect a brand with a social cause.


Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not a Marketing Strategy
(Advertising Age, 20.04.16)

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Sound familiar? It’s an oft-misattributed Gandhi quote puttering around on America’s bumpers and inked in high school yearbooks. While Gandhi never spoke these words, the message is a noble one. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the sentiment informs some of America’s most innovative brands when it comes to corporate social responsibility.


Want to Do Well by Doing Good? There’s an App for That
(Forbes, 20.04.16)

Whether we need a lift, a reservation or fashion advice, we’ve come to expect that someone has built an app to help us get whatever we need.


“I’ve learned about what it means to focus on a culture, to build social responsibility and the idea of a company as a super-organism.” —Biz Stone


Cause Branding Digest, April 19, 2016


5 Ways Sustainability Helps Companies Act More Like Startups
(Triple Pundit, 14.04.16)

Last month at a conference for startups in Silicon Valley, I met several people who work at large corporations and institutions. I wondered why people from Walmart, NASA and GoreTex, a company that makes waterproof fabric, were attending a conference for budding entrepreneurs. Representatives from each said they wanted to help their organization be more innovative.


Beyond the Talk: How Corporate Social Responsibility Makes Companies Operate Better
(Forbes, 12.04.16)

If you ask 50 people, “What is corporate social responsibility?” you’ll probably get 75 different answers. For me, corporate responsibility is how companies operate. It’s about how they identify and manage their social and environmental risks and footprint. Defined this way, quite a few people are impacted by CSR. The breadth of stakeholders is vast—it includes the company’s shareholders, employees, customers and business partners.


‘Brand Purpose’ Means Nothing If You Don’t Deliver
(Marketing, 01.04.16)

The successor to the mission statement is, alongside commitments to sustainability, capturing imaginations in the boardroom. But it’s about doing, rather than just looking, good.


Does CSR Create Shareholder Wealth?
(LSE Business Review, 07.03.16)

Due to increasing pressures on organisations to behave in socially responsible ways, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a “must have” component of corporate strategy. This is a good development for the society at large as the massive rate of industrialization in the last century has placed a heightened burden on the limited resources our planet has to offer. However, the primary responsibility of managers of corporations, particularly of the publically owned ones, is not to increase social welfare but to maximize the returns on investments of their shareholders.


“With any new business deal, don’t think about how much you can afford to get—think about how much you can afford to give. A spirit of giving will allow you to get.” —Jarod Kintz


Cause Branding Digest, April 12, 2016


Are You Defining CSR Success All Wrong?
(Forbes, 06.04.16)

With the pile-up of data proving the bottom line benefits of employee volunteer and giving programs, more companies are clamoring to launch or escalate their own programs. As someone whose business helps organizations manage their corporate volunteering and giving, I’m delighted with this trend towards more employee-led philanthropy.


How CSR Is Driving Purposeful Food Sales to Record Levels
(Triple Pundit, 04.04.16)

The traditional food and beverage industry is in crisis. Pop, fizz, drink … WEIGHT GAIN is now a growing consumer belief. This shift in consumer perception has driven soda sales to a 30-year low. Traditional food and beverage brands have lost the mainstream consumer’s trust. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe food manufacturers are more focused on profits than human health.


Unilever’s Keith Weed: Brands Can and Should Make a Difference to the World
(Marketing, 23.03.16)

Unilever CMO Keith Weed and Project Everyone marketer Amanda Mackenzie urged corporates to make a difference to the world this morning at the Guardian Changing Media Summit.


Fashion Companies Can Do More on the CSR Front
(WWD, 22.03.16)

From reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the environmental impact of textile production to strengthening fair labor practices and addressing workers’ rights, corporate social responsibility has a broad mission.


“All company bosses want a policy on corporate social responsibility. The positive effect is hard to quantify, but the negative consequences of a disaster are enormous.” —Noreena Hertz


Cause Branding Digest, April 5, 2016


It’s Okay to Brag: Why Your CSR Mission Needs to Be Marketed
(Triple Pundit, 30.03.16)

We have entered the era of the global citizen. Thanks to technology, today’s consumers make up an informed, interconnected community that has a heightened awareness of the human circumstance — from Syrian refugees to a lack of clean water in Africa. Impact that was once only possible through the platforms of politicians or business moguls can now be brought about by anyone with an Internet connection.


Why Cause Marketing Is Smart Strategy
(Gaston Gazette, 26.03.16)

We’re familiar with the old adage “to give is to receive.” The timeless rule applies to the day-to-day lives of individuals and businesses alike. In this highly accessible, real-time digital age, consumers are more in touch with companies, their brands and their causes than ever before. Studies show that a rising number of consumers support businesses that actively engage in good social responsibility … and savvy corporations know it. When a business aligns with a nonprofit to design a smart cause-marketing strategy, both parties reap the rewards.


The Bold Approach of Transformational Companies
(Sustainable Brands, 18.03.16)

At age 27, I was the youngest director elected to Vancity Credit Union, the largest community-based credit union in the world. It was the late 1980s. I ran a seniors’ agency, was chair of a provincial social planning group and had been a recent board member of the local United Way. In two and a half words, I was a “social do-gooder.”


Corporate Social Responsibility Has an Image Problem, but Don’t Kill It
(Financial Review, 01.04.16)

You know corporate social responsibility has a major image problem when one of its earliest chief executive supporters is calling for its “final demise.”


“I believe in trying to get a balance between individual freedom on the one hand and social responsibility on the other.” —Chris Patten


Cause Branding Digest, March 29, 2016


Technology and Substance in Sustainability
(Forbes, 22.03.16)

Sustainability has been a part of the corporate vernacular for decades. The concept has primarily been tied to corporate branding, but the priority, investments, and influence of the champions of sustainability has been limited—until now. Major moves by some of the world’s most influential businesses indicate that an important shift is underway. Sustainability is moving up the food chain as technology brings substance to targets, as future leaders demand real commitments, and as organizations acknowledge the real risks of inaction.


Pernod Ricard CEO: Consumers Will Know if Your CSR Activity Is ‘Bullshit’
(Marketing Week, 18.03.16)

Speaking to Marketing Week to promote The Venture, Chivas whisky’s $1m competition for social enterprises, the wine and spirit maker’s chief executive Alexandre Ricard claimed today’s consumers will uncover any lack of authenticity in corporate social responsibility efforts.


Focus on Women in Communication, STEM, Finance ‘the Biggest Bang for the Buck’
(Sustainable Brands, 14.03.16)

Building on the inspiration and energy from day one, day two of the International Women’s Day Forum kicked off with a panel on The Power of Communication and Perception. Beth Colleton, SVP of CSR at NBC Universal, posed the question: “We reach 97 percent of all people in any given month. But how do we get people to care?”


Moving Day for Corporate Purpose
(Transform, 08.03.16)

Purpose may be this year’s buzzword, but is it superseding the importance of brand? David Benady examines the rise of purpose and its impact on corporate and product brand management.


“I wear two hats. The one is business and increasing my shareholders’ value; the other is social responsibility.” —Guler Sabanci


Cause Branding Digest, March 22, 2016


Social Good Is Always Good Branding—Or Is It?
(Policy Innovations, 18.03.16)

These days, businesses that put their social mission in the spotlight are taking the world by storm. But building a brand solely on social impact is not a guarantee for success, and it comes with risks. Social enterprises and other businesses should consider these five points before making social good the star of their show.


What Budget? 4 Marketing Challenges Only Nonprofits Understand
(Business.com, 17.03.16)

No one understands the challenges of marketing on a shoestring budget quite like a non-profit. While navigating today’s wide array of convoluted marketing options can be an uphill battle for even the most savvy business owners, it’s tenfold for non-profits.


How the World’s Best Companies Demonstrate Their Sense of Purpose
(Sustainable Brands, 08.03.16)

How do you communicate your company’s sense of purpose — what you stand for in simple terms — in a way that is authentic, transparent and honest?


Attracting Talent Through Corporate Social Responsibility: 3 Myths Debunked
(Forbes, 24.02.16)

Attracting talent through corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become as much a part of the hiring process as offering great benefits and competitive salaries. Today’s new wave of recruits prioritize social responsibility in their own lives and are determined to join organizations that care about their well-being, as well as that of the community.


“A tremendous social responsibility comes with being a successful public performer.” —A. Bartlett Giamatti


Cause Branding Digest, March 15, 2016


How Tech Is Forcing Firms to Be Better Global Citizens
(BBC, 08.03.16)

Cute baby animals covered in oil washing up on beaches; pensioners thrown into poverty; “dieselgate.” What do all three have in common? Before scandal struck, the three corporations concerned – BP, Enron, and Volkswagen respectively – were all judged to be among the world’s top companies for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) work.


Harnessing the Power of Women in Philanthropy
(The Huffington Post, 08.03.16)

International Women and Girls’ Day provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women–but it also highlights certain gaps in gender parity. And while many organizations will be emphasizing important topics like equitable compensation and access to affordable child care, I’d like to focus on one of the ways women are outpacing their male counterparts: philanthropy.


Nutrition Cause Marketing: Putting Money Where Your Heart Is
(O’Dwyer’s, 04.03.16)

A few established companies, such as Newman’s Own and Ben & Jerry’s, have built their names and business models on what can be considered humanitarian marketing. Although additional brands are now capitalizing on this business model — such as Aquaball, which campaigns against diabetes in kids — and many garner successful responses among consumers, this is still a largely underserved niche with a considerably untapped market.


Women Entrepreneurs Fuel Social Change and Economic Growth
(Forbes, 03.02.16)

For years, women have had to adapt to the male way of doing things, even when starting our businesses. But things are changing! The number of women growing their businesses beyond $1 million has reached a tipping point. An impressive 24% of all businesses have more than 50% ownership by women, according to a report by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.


“Despite their good intentions, today’s businesses are missing an opportunity to integrate social responsibility and day-to-day business objectives—to do good and make money simultaneously.” —Cindy Gallop