Ten Words for a Year in Cause Marketing

It was a banner year for cause marketing as companies, nonprofits, academics, media, celebrities, government and consumers all turned up the dial on cause. New players included Pepsi and Panera, who have redefined the cause model. It was considered dead and then resurrected. As 2010 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back to see what else the headlines revealed about cause marketing in 2010.

Painting the Environmental Marketing Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words. There’s a reason this is a cliché - we’ve all heard it before. Why then, do we often overlook this simple truth when it comes to environmental marketing and advertising? Polar bears and virgin forests are the visual equivalents of “green” and “eco-friendly,” yet as marketers we spend the majority of our time crafting accurate and precise written claims only to have them undermined by misleading visual cues.

"Digital Death" Slowly Dying

Keep a Child Alive’s “Digital Death” campaign may be dead in the water. In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, the nonprofit founded by Alicia Keys (which provides medical care and services for families affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India) killed off a host of celebrities from social media until their legions of followers would raise $1 million for the cause. The campaign elaborates, “That means no more Twitter or Facebook updates from any of them. No more knowing where they are, what they had for dinner, or what interesting things are happening in their lives. From here on out, they're dead. Kaput. Finished.”

Consumers Shop with a Cause in Mind This Holiday

There are two traditions that define the holiday season for many Americans – shopping and giving. In this spirit of the season, consumers are shopping with an eye toward giving back to good causes and expect companies to lead the charge, according to the spend an average of $714 on gifts this year. Imagine the impact if just a dollar or two of this was diverted to a social cause. Millions of dollars and untold awareness could be raised through very simple, turn-key cause marketing this holiday season. A gift to consumers, companies and causes alike.

Companies Give Back to Veterans in Unique Ways

Veterans Day weekend is a great time for retail promotions, as shoppers get a head start on holiday gift hunting. But it’s also an opportunity for companies to pay homage to our veterans and active military and to build goodwill among consumers. After all, 85 percent of Americans believe it’s important for companies to support military nonprofits, according to a survey by Cone.

Cause in Entertainment: Less After-School Special, More Prime-Time Programming

Our parents always told us television will rot our brain. Yet when the message is good, perhaps a daily dose of the tube isn’t so bad. Companies, TV networks and nonprofits are leveraging the many hours Americans spend in front of the television to communicate powerful messages about complex social and environmental issues.

Balancing the Cause Shock-Factor

Social marketing, which aims to capture attention and initiate behavior change, is most effective when it evokes emotion and feelings. But what if it’s the feeling of your stomach turning? While effective social marketing is often “edgy” (e.g., showing body bags to curb youth smoking), two recent campaigns demonstrate how shock-factor can range from the effective to the offensive.

FTC Green Guides – What the Proposed Changes Mean for Marketers

On Wednesday, after more than two years of long-anticipated review, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released proposed changes to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (aka Green Guides). The issues addressed in the two-page synopsis of changes are summed up simply by FTC Chairman, Jon Leibowitz, who said, “…what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things.”

Millennials Close at Moms' Heels: 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

Although moms stand out as the most socially conscious segment of consumers, according to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, it comes as no surprise that their Millennial-aged children (18-24), are close at their heels. Ninety-four percent believe cause marketing is acceptable, and more than half (53%) have purchased a cause product/service in the past 12 months (vs. 88% and 41% respectively for the average consumer).

Crisis Preparedness Is a Corporate Responsibility

Survey after corporate responsibility survey reveals the number one expectation individuals have of companies is to treat their employees well. Fair wages and benefits immediately come to mind, but have you ever considered a crisis preparedness plan as a benefit employees need and deserve? Does your organization have a plan in place? If not, you’re not alone, but you are at risk. Visit our sister blog, Brand Channeler, to hear Cone’s Chief Reputation Officer, Mike Lawrence, discuss why.

Moms Most Active Cause Consumers: 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

Today we salute moms. But first, let’s just call them what they really are – Supermoms. According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, moms are by far the nation’s most active cause consumers. A near-unanimous 95 percent (vs. 85% average) find cause marketing acceptable and 61 percent (vs. 41% average) have purchased a cause-related product in the past 12 months. With moms making 80 percent of household purchasing decisions, this is good news for companies engaged in cause marketing.

Cause Influencers Weigh In: 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

You’ve heard from us, but we want to know what you have to say. So we reached out to some of our favorite bloggers and experts who have valuable insights about the world of cause to get their reactions about the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study findings. We asked them what stood out or surprised them from the study. Here’s what they said:

Cause Marketing Remains Strong: 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

Economic turmoil. Environmental disasters. Corporate corruption. When it comes to the role of business in society, the last two years have been turbulent at best. Despite the hardships Americans have faced, their purchasing behavior and appetite for cause-related products and services has soared, according to the just-released 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study. This 17-year benchmark study explores Americans’ attitudes and expectations of companies to support social and environmental issues.