Some say the tradition of a midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve ensures good tidings in the coming year- and this year, Proctor & Gamble will ensure this is true for the benefactors of Operation Smile. For every kissing couple spotted on their Scope “ Kiss Cam ,” the packaged goods giant will make a donation to the nonprofit, which raises money to treat childhood deformities. This campaign is not only a great way to promote their mouthwash product when people are likely to get up close and personal with one another, but also a wonderful way to give back during the holidays.
The GE Foundation just announced that it will shift its philanthropic focus in 2009 toward meeting basic needs. The company will redirect $20 million dollars, a fifth of its total giving, to feeding, clothing and providing shelter for people in need. What’s more, GE is engaging its employees in the effort by increasing its match for employee contributions up to two-to-one if they are giving to organizations meeting basic needs in their communities.
I always remember breakthrough articles related to cause. While few and far between they provide tremendous inspiration to me and many ofmy colleagues, clients and friends.
Consumers are struggling to pay their own bills but desperately want to buy meaningful holiday presents. They are less likely to open their tight wallets and donate to worthy causes, but they can’t help but feel a deep sense of compassion for those less fortunate as their friends and family members are laid off and the basic health and human services organizations are unable to meet the growing demand.
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship just announced it is seeking entries from companies who have demonstrated their responsibility through video for its inaugural International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival. We’re excited to see the winner revealed at the annual conference in 2009 because we’re also big believers in the power of video to showcase compelling stories about pressing issues. Not only does video have an almost unparalleled power to tug at the heartstrings, but it can also inform (build brand and issue awareness) and mobilize (generate funds or advocacy and drive change).
Need proof that corporate responsibility initiatives can withstand the recession? Consider this: According to a new study from Panel Intelligence, 80 percent of sustainability leaders surveyed (65 execs from Fortune 500 companies) in November say they intend to maintain or increase spending in areas related to sustainability next year. In fact, they reported that sustainability and clean technology spending, as a percentage of corporate revenues, is expected to increase 73 percent through 2010.
All eyes were on the automotive industry this week, particularly when the Big Three CEOs made their trip down to Washington – in their hybrid vehicles. According to Cone’s 2008 Green Gap survey, 71 percent of people consider the impact of the environment when buying a car. It should not be surprising, then, that hybrid sales have dramatically increased over the past few years.
This week is the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Networks’ buy local week. But does place still matter in this age of globalization?
Fourth quarter forecasts for retail companies are bleak this year, and consumer confidence is the lowest it’s been in years. A Deloitte survey released in late October reported that almost six in 10 consumers said they would reduce spending this holiday season, and nearly seven in 10 said they would wait for store sales, cut back on shopping trips to save gasoline and use more store coupons.
Truth be told, it does seem a little late for a harvest celebration. I’d prefer the timing of Canadian Thanksgiving, which seems more in synch with nature’s calendar – although our local gleaning project still is finding the season’s final remaining edibles in the field.
I’d like to offer a message to retailers this holiday season (and one typically reserved for the customers they court): Give...and you just may receive.
We continue to be pleasantly surprised and impressed by the companies announcing the launch of new cause and philanthropy programs amid the current economic crisis. A few weeks ago we reported that Starbucks joined the Product (RED) campaign, and this week we learned that Wal-Mart has announced its intention to donate more than 90 million pounds of fresh food annually to Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest). The company also invested financial donations and employee time in building the infrastructure necessary for the success of this program, such as freezer trucks, shelving and lighting, to ensure the delivery of critically needed fresh food from store to table is safe and minimizes waste.
I have lived in the city for years, and for years getting around this joint has never been pleasant. It’s just something you have to deal with. Whether it is the increase in train fares, the parking tickets, a place to put your car, the traffic or the price of gas, navigating you way around any metropolitan area never goes into the pro column of “reasons to live and work in a city.” But a few years ago, all that changed.
Against the backdrop of economic turmoil and a historic U.S. presidential election, business leaders from around the world shared their sentiments about the future of corporate responsibility during the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference last week in New York.
This fall I have been at three terrific conferences, each having GE CEO Jeff Immelt as a key speaker. From Arthur Page, to the Harvard Business School Centennial, and last week, at the Business for Social Responsibility Conference, Jeff provides tailored comments that are candid, audience-specific and provocative.
A year ago, at a dinner with some very talented senior communications professionals, we went around the table and stated who would run for President. Hillary and Rudy. We were all so convinced.
Mind you, many of these talented pros had technological knowledge deep in their blood. Yet Obama was not mentioned by one.
What do Obama and Western Union have in common?
Both have successfully tapped into the power of Millennials in their recent campaigns. Our research shows that an astounding 88% of 18-24 year olds use social networks, and both “brands” have been able to engage this growing market. Marketers are finding social media to be a valuable platform for promoting their cause, and young Americans are increasingly accepting of being marketed to online.
My work at Cone is never boring. With each new account, I get the opportunity to learn about new industries, new issues, new programs and new organizations. I get to talk to new and different people about ideas, problems and solutions I wouldn’t learn about otherwise.
It’s Election Day in the United States, yet still too soon to say for sure what the outcome will be. (Lemme give a shout-out to my friends in Florida.)
Starbucks will soon be decked out in (RED), but it’s not just to celebrate the holidays. As part of its new “Shared Planet” commitment, the coffee brand announced at its managers conference in New Orleans that it will be the latest company to partner with (PRODUCT) RED.