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, February 8, 2016

Marketing for a Good Cause: 7 Strategies for Non-Profits
(WordStream, 09.02.16)

Non-profits are hit with the biggest digital marketing challenge of all: having no money. To operate, thrive, and raise awareness for their cause without spending a substantial amount of money can seem impossible in a world of bigger, louder, and more financially equipped online advertisers they will return and bring others. More customers means rising sales and profits. Right? Close, but wrong.

An Iconic Charity Refits: Will It Save the Ship?
(The Huffington Post, 03.02.16)

Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association had a big influence on my cause marketing career. Growing up during the 70’s, The Jerry Lewis Telethon on Labor Day weekend was must-watch television.

Bringing People Together to Make a Better World
(IOL, 26.01.16)

Globalisation, connectivity, and common interests are uniting formerly unrelated groups. But how do you manage reputation in the fast moving context of digital media, where critical views can make or break a brand in a second? The answer is meaningful and authentic corporate social investment that makes a real difference.

Banking and Corporate Social Responsibility
(O’Dwyer’s, 05.08.15)

Some financial institutions, banks in particular, have turned to corporate social responsibility to give back, develop credibility, and regain consumer trust and confidence that waned in the wake of the U.S. financial downturn.

“It’s not easy … but balancing the short and long term is key to delivering sustainable, profitable growth—growth that is good for our shareholders but also good for our consumers, our employees, our business partners, the communities where we live and work, and the planet we inhabit.” —Irene B. Rosenfeld

Cause Branding Digest, February 2, 2016

With Imposed Transparency and Concerned Millennials, a Boom in Corporate Responsibility?
(The New York Times, 25.01.16)

Way back in 2008, I wrote about Wal-Mart’s emerging effort to cut environmental and social harms from its business operations by exerting influence back along globe-spanning supply chains.

The Cost of Corporate Social Responsibility
(Forbes, 04.01.16)

In 2011, McDonald’s Corp. announced plans to switch to cage-free egg sourcing in part, pledging to purchase a million cage-free eggs per month beginning that summer. This September, McDonald’s upped its commitment, announcing that it would use only cage-free eggs in its North American restaurants by 2025. What seemed like a bold move four years ago is now commonplace in the foodservice industry—in just the past month, Dunkin’ Donuts announced it would use only cage-free eggs and poultry items by 2025, and in maybe the most daring move yet, Taco Bell declared it would move to cage-free eggs in all of its locations by the end of 2016.

Is Corporate Social Responsibility Just a Marketing Gimmick?
(The Market Mogul, 15.12.15)

In today’s changing world, as a result of the rapid increase in globalisation, organisations have begun thinking on more productive ways to improve on their business operations, thus Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is seen as a means of addressing the issues that arise from rapid globalisation (Stiglitz, 2002). Due to bad publicity on human rights violation and environmental pollution, organisations realised that to consistently sustain their businesses in the 21st century, there is need to legitimise its practices to those outside of its shareholders (Crane et al., 2008).

10 Strategies from For-Profit Companies that Pay Off for Nonprofit Marketing
(Search Engine Journal, 24.11.15)

Nonprofit marketing must catch attention, provoke emotion, and inspire people to act now! The digital marketing approach to nonprofit success is a multifaceted one and often requires B2B and B2C target persona consideration.

“Companies should not have a singular view of profitability. There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility. … The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money.” —Howard Schultz

Cause Branding Digest, December 15, 2015

Consumers Value Brand Transparency Above Cost, Research Finds
(PRWeek, 30.11.15)

Consumers attach more importance to a brand’s values and how management behaves than its new products or innovations.

Corporate Culture Has Become the Most Powerful Force in Forging Partnerships
(Adweek, 29.11.15)

Companies are no longer judged on what they say, but rather on what they do. That is why whatever goods or services you are selling, business will always be better and more sustained when people buy into your culture first.

Holiday Cause Marketing Goes Digital
(JustMeans, 14.12.15)

Cause marketing during the holiday season is nothing new. Companies have long realized the power of appealing to consumers’ hearts and wallets to break through the holiday clutter. Although this year is no different with dozens of campaigns in the marketplace, there is a new twist on conventional efforts. Companies and nonprofits are moving beyond the shopping transaction and engaging consumers to spread even more good cheer with digital activations.

5 Tangible Ways CSR Can Impact Your Business
(Marketing Interactive, 01.12.15)

The link between a company’s strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) is inevitably tied to its brand perception.

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.” —Howard Schultz

Cause Branding Digest, December 8, 2015

Stop Rebranding Months as Causes
(The Atlantic, 02.12.15)

A “Devember” for coding is the latest and most ridiculous of commemorative months.

Diamonds in the Rough: How Big Problems Provide Amazing Marketing Shortcuts
(Forbes, 02.12.15)

Marketers can use major problems to get hockey stick growth. Below are a best ways to utilize this shortcut.

Why Leaders Should Place Company Values on the Same Level as Profits
(Triple Pundit, 21.10.15)

Carrying the weight of your business, profits and employees’ well-being, not to mention your own conscience, can be back-breaking. To ease the burden, activities that aren’t directly tethered to the bottom line tend to fall by the wayside.

Study: Millennials Are Strongest CSR Supporters in US
(Sustainable Brands, 24.09.15)

Millennials are universally more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, according to new research from Cone Communications. This includes everything from buying products associated with a cause they care about to using their online networks to amplify social and environmental messages.

“The brands that will be big in the future will be those that tap into the social changes that are taking place.” —Sir Michael Perry

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 22, 2015

It’s Time to Kill Cause Marketing
(Triple Pundit, 18.09.15)

As a marketing guy who’s spent a large portion of a long career forging connections between companies and causes, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the state of cause marketing.

Brand Philanthropy: A CMO Explains Why
(Forbes, 17.09.15)

Earlier this year Western Union set out to see if people still believed in the American Dream. Over the course of seven days and nearly 14,000 miles they sought out Americans—200 of them to ask them if they in fact still believed in the American Dream.

Green Sky Thinking: Successful Strat for Sustainable Marketing
(, 10.09.15)

If you’ve read about the benefits of building purpose-driven brands, but remain unsure of what and how to do it, read on, because today I go beyond the “reasons why” and unpack the “how to’s” behind a campaign.

Let’s Talk About (Brand) Love (and Sustainability)
(GreenBiz, 30.06.15)

One of the ah-has from the soon-to-be-released 2015 Eco Pulse study is that, indeed, a company’s sustainability or social responsibility commitment is a reason to love the brand.

“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” —Anthony Volodkin

Cause Branding Digest, September 15, 2015

Social Responsibility as a Startup Launchpad: A Look into CSR and Entrepreneurship
(The Huffington Post, 14.09.15)

What images come to mind when you think of Tom’s? Perhaps it’s an image of the fashionable espadrille, but for me at least, it’s an image from one of their marketing campaigns: a group of Tom’s employees walking towards the camera in an impoverished community with gifts in hand–the gift of shoes.

What Does Climate Change Mean for Business?
(Eco-Business, 10.09.15)

Businesses ignore climate change at their own peril, as it will affect their supply chains and profit margins, among other things. Taking the effort to mitigate climate change and prepare for potential risks will pay off in the long run, said experts at the 2015 International CSR Summit.

Get Noticed: How to Communicate Your CSR Story with Purpose
(GreenBiz, 31.08.15)

In today’s world, being a responsible corporate citizen is table stakes. Nine in 10 global consumers expect companies to go beyond profit-making and address social and environmental issues, according to one recent study.

How Hurricane Katrina Changed the Game of CSR Forever
(Business2Community, 26.08.15)

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina not only devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It also shattered the confidence Americans had in their government to respond to domestic emergencies.

“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” —Zig Ziglar

Cause Branding Digest, September 8, 2015

Crowdfunding, Water Conservation & Beer: How Cool Can You Get?
(Forbes, 01.09.15)

When a hip beer brand launches one of the most creative and timely cause marketing campaigns of the year, you might think it was inspired by a brilliant conversation over drinks with some A-list creative.

Social Good Meets Business Strategy: Putting Your Signature on CSR
(GreenBiz, 24.08.15)

After eight months of trying, I finally sold my house. In real estate, it is often said that the three most important factors are location, location, location. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals should take note of that mantra; the three most important factors for developing a successful CSR program are focus, focus, focus.

Retailers Embrace Cause-Related Efforts
(MediaPost, 21.07.15)

As they head into their most important selling season, big retailers — including Men’s Wearhouse, Macy’s and Kohl’s — are cranking up their cause-related commitments.

6 Major Cause Marketing Pitfalls
(The NonProfit Times, 13.07.16)

Cause marketing agreements, which have helped many for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations and causes, can create more aggravation than happiness if they are not conducted intelligently.

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” —Howard Schultz

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, August 18, 2015

What Consumers Really Think About Charity at Checkout
(Forbes, 30.07.15)

American consumers have grown accustomed to being asked to make donations when checking out at stores and restaurants —nearly three out of four Americans have given this way according to a recent Good Scout Group study.

Retailers Embrace Cause-Related Efforts
(MediaPost, 21.07.15)

As they head into their most important selling season, big retailers—including Men’s Wearhouse, Macy’s and Kohl’s—are cranking up their cause-related commitments.

4 Elements to Bigger Cause Marketing
(The NonProfit Times, 15.06.15)

A show of hands: How many people heard the term “cause marketing” back when they were trying to use the family car to give that new driver’s license a workout? Yeah.

Green Initiatives Improve a Brand’s Perceived Value
(Triple Pundit, 25.05.15)

These days, if your business isn’t going green, it’s going extinct. Consumers aren’t only looking for businesses that offer high-quality products and competitive prices; they want to know that the organizations that take their money are going to use it to make the world a better place. Recent studies have found that green initiatives can significantly improve a brand’s value. Because of this trend, more and more corporations are including green initiatives in their marketing campaigns, in order to show that they are willing to play a part in the push to preserve and sustain the environment.

“Successful people have a social responsibility to make the world a better place and not just take from it.” —Carrie Underwood

Cause Branding Digest, August 11, 2015

Committing to Charity with Purpose: The Good, Bad and Creating Cause with Effect
(Forbes, 07.08.15)

Benevolence can be consumer catnip when it comes to brand likeability, but it does not work when its rewards are fleeting, or veiled.

3 Brands Doing Cause Marketing Right
(Built in Chicago, 17.07.15)

Marketing for a cause can have an immediate effect on consumer sentiment, even going as far as pushing consumers to pick one brand over another. This type of “cause-to-close” marketing improves brand loyalty by enabling a following to rally around the brand’s cause and adopt it as their own. As brands become more aligned to their target demographics through the saturation of social media, “Cause Marketing,” the type of marketing which focuses on promoting acts of doing good, has had a great impact on our society.

Can Brands Save the World?
(Strategy + Business, 29.06.15)

Melting glaciers. Increasing obesity. Oppressed workers. There are a lot of things to worry about these days. Business researchers often ask how individual behavior can be changed to mitigate the ill effects of risk-laden phenomena — how to get consumers to make sacrifices so business doesn’t have to pay for problems like underpaid workers and rising obesity levels. But they usually find that such changes are incredibly difficult to engineer. Marketers, on the other hand, usually want to know where the opportunities lie — even in global problems like climate change.

Cause Marketing: The Success of Michelle Obama’s Drink Up Campaign
(Triple Pundit, 02.06.15)

The key to social marketing is to get people to change their behavior. A successful campaign is clever, has a measurable social impact and, most of all, gets people to think or act differently.

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

Corporate Branding Digest, August 10, 2015

How Corporate Personality Helps You Connect with Customers and the Customer Experience
(Forbes, 09.07.15)

Last week a friend of mine signed up with a cable TV provider for both his television and internet services. Once he was happy with the way things were working, he started making calls to cancel his old satellite TV service and previous internet supplier (two different companies).

4 Ways Your Influencer Marketing Efforts Can Fall Apart
(FierceCMO, 26.06.15)

B2B decision makers are going about their buying process more efficiently than ever. By the time they get in touch with someone in sales, most of the battle has already been fought. The marketing departments that reach buyers through less direct means are the ones who will win out.

The Sound of Your Brand
(, 09.06.15)

We wouldn’t accept a bad smell or dirt in a shop or an office, but bad sound is okay. Why is it acceptable to pollute the world with noise?

How SMEs Make Marketing Add Up
(Marketing Week, 01.04.15)

Successful small businesses are investing in growth without breaking the bank.

“Leverage your brand. You shouldn’t let two guys in a garage eat your shorts.” —Guy Kawasaki

Health and Wellness Branding Digest, April 2, 2015

Kohl’s Bets Bit on Health and Wellness to Pump Up Sales
(Forbes, 26.03.15)

Kohl’s is betting on items like Gaiam yoga pants, NutriBullet blenders and Fitbit fitness-tracker wristbands to add $1 billion in sales to its $2 billion health-and-wellness business in three years..

Poll Shows All Ages Seek Digital Health Tools
(Medical Marketing & Media, 25.02.15)

Americans are into digital health—so much so that communications firm Makovsky and research firm Kelton found that 66% of poll participants are willing to use a mobile app to manage their health.

Health Builds Brands and Business
(MediaPost, 12.12.14)

Brands that are not directly health-related are becoming health relevant. This is because the world now expects more from a brand than just products; people want to see a sense of purpose, of corporate responsibility and global citizenship. And where better to make a real difference than in health? The one thing you can be sure absolutely everybody cares about.

‘Health-Committed’ Consumers Represent Major Opportunity for Brands, Retailers
(MediaPost, 29.10.14)

People who are committed to healthful eating and lifestyles are well-informed about ingredients and food labels, and hard to sway with label claims. Yet they don’t fully appreciate the health benefits of frozen fruit and vegetables.

“What helps people helps business.” —Leo Burnett