Pizza Hut Goes Digital For Hunger Relief

Although point-of-sale and pin-up cause marketing campaigns still remain relevant ways to engage with consumers where they shop, more and more brands are looking to connect with consumers through digital – offering online incentives along the way. But brands should beware: it's easy to get lost in an enticing digital bonus while forgetting the connection to the cause.

Chipotle’s Brand Values Go Viral Again

Chipotle's recent marketing push isn't promoting the company's newest menu item or food quality improvement. Rather, Chipotle is letting traditional marketing take the backseat in favor of leveraging social and mobile channels to shed light on factory farming practices. The company is challenging consumers to think differently about food and have a little fun along the way.

Business Model Evolution: Enterprise Rent-A-Car Tackles The Car Fleet Conundrum

As corporations increasingly integrate CSR as a critical business strategy, they often uncover opportunities to evolve their core competencies while on their journey to become more sustainable. One car rental company has decided to tackle sustainability head-on, broadening its service offerings to appeal to environmentally conscious corporate customers.

Cause Marketing Hits The Books For Back-To-School

As millions of children start to hit the books, companies are getting in the back-to-school spirit with cause marketing efforts. This year, companies are supporting a variety of causes from bullying and education to hunger and child health and wellness  – all with the goal of equipping America's youth with the tools to succeed, both inside the classroom and out.

Companies In Action: Case Studies In Effective Corporate Disaster Relief

When disaster strikes, the demand for company involvement in relief efforts is astounding – with nearly 90 percent of global consumerslooking to companies for help. Although there's a fine line between authenticity and exploitation, companies have the opportunity to make a real and lasting impact in the lives of countless individuals. Some companies have a proven legacy of providing needed assistance in times of disaster, others are just beginning to understand how their assets could be used to help. Here, we've rounded up a handful of innovative corporate disaster relief efforts

Heeding The Global Call For Help: Five Tips For Effective Company Disaster Relief

Natural disasters can't be predicted, but they can be planned against, and the global consumer demand for corporate action and assistance is loud and clear: 87 percent of citizens expect companies to play a role in natural disaster response. This is according to our newly released 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker, reflecting the sentiments of more than 10,000 citizens in 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan.

Joining the Cone team: A summer intern’s experience

After eight weeks of interning for Cone, I can say that nothing makes a meeting more exhilarating than when Jenn Sheehy, our VP of Crisis Prevention & Management, begins by announcing that “We have a crisis.” Yes, exactly like that… Straight out of something like The West Wing. The first time this happened, I had a hard time convincing myself I wasn’t actually watching an Aaron Sorkin drama. Jenn deftly fired off a task list, team members had status updates, someone read a statement from the client. The whole thing was perfectly scripted.

Social Impact, Table For One?

Relationships between companies and nonprofits are being redefined. Companies are turning traditional approaches to philanthropy on their heads, moving beyond financial contributions to bring business strategies, expertise and resources to the table. While this has unlocked new ways to address societal challenges, it has also shifted the role nonprofits play.

Tapping The Power Of Impact Thinking

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is seemingly everywhere these days — in the media, on store shelves, in classrooms, even on Wall Street, where impact investing continues to gather interest and momentum. Formerly the niche passion of a few crunchy companies and the hardcore wonks and activists who loved them, CSR has now become, indisputably, a mainstream must-do. As companies increasingly get involved in tackling societal issues, bringing more and more resources and assets to the table, the need to focus on tangible results is more important than ever. It’s time for a new, impact-driven approach.

Post-Bangladesh, Giving Employees A Voice

More than three months after the deadly Bangladesh factory fire and collapse, companies and consumers alike continue to grapple with the fallout and implications of the event that rocked the retail world. While many retailers are taking a closer look at their policies and practices around human rights and workplace safety via increased inspections and loans for factory improvements, one retailer is taking a markedly different approach to supply chains, engaging factory managers and employees in a process of co-creation.

The Rolling Stone Controversy: What Happens When Everyone Online Is Talking About Your Brand But You

While the recent depiction of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine caused quite a stir, provocative images and subject matter are common tools to entice readers. Last year, Time Magazine featured a controversial image of a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son and Newsweek declared Obama “The First Gay President” after he announced his support of gay marriage. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, magazine sales plummeted 16% on average in 2012. Was this bold attempt to attract lost Rolling Stone readers ultimately effective?

When The Road To Sustainability Doesn’t Happen On A Road

Behind electricity, transportation is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. Twenty-seven percent of those transportation-related GHG emissions are attributed directly to freight trucks and commercial aircrafts. Companies across the spectrum, from major industrial manufacturers to CPGs, are finding new ways to reduce transportation footprints – simultaneously designing for efficiency while also responding to global consumer demand for CSR innovation.

Panera’s Pay-What-You-Can Conundrum: Highlighting The Power Of Employee Engagement

Just four months after its launch, Panera Bread is pulling its "Meal of Shared Responsibility" from cafes. The meal, a turkey chili-filled bread bowl with a suggested retail price of $5.48, was featured in 48 locations as a pay-what-you-can option – a complement to Panera's work to fight food insecurity in the U.S. Despite a strong start, the program slowly faded into oblivion as marketing efforts ebbed and employees stopped "explaining the concept to customers," according to the Associated Press. While Panera reexamines the program and how it might reactivate it successfully, the sputtering of the "Meal of Shared Responsibility" shines a light on the importance of employee engagement… and what can happen when that engagement is put on the back-burner.

Best practices when creating a website

Creating a website from scratch is a daunting prospect for even the most seasoned techies, but, taking it on as a general marketer can be a real learning moment. Tweaking Cone’s old website would have been like trying to use a vintage car in a Formula One race. Cone was undergoing a major brand overhaul, taking a fresh look at everything from name and logo, to images and copy. Our website needed to reflect the best and newest version of ourselves. So we decided to start at the beginning, capture the latest technology, newest look and capitalize on all we’ve learned in the past five years.

Toms Responds To Critics With “Model” Behavior

While TOMS was once the darling of the social impact world, bashing the brand has become ubiquitous  and de rigueur. The greatest issue has been around the company's disruption of local markets by importing shoes to less-developed countries. It's not criticism without merit -- assessing the challenges of TOMS' business model when one looks past the adorable, happy kids with new kicks is worthy of discussion.

Real-Time Marketing In History-Making Moments

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limited the rights of same-sex couples, was overturned by the Supreme Court in an historic ruling yesterday morning. As with other pop culture happenings and current events, brands are quick to leverage the news to connect with consumers – a trend that has become known as “real-time marketing.” With countless eyes glued to computer screens, live-blogs and social networks, it’s a prime time for brands to get involved.