It’s that time of year again—when Top 10 Trend lists suddenly appear like lights on a tree (so far I’ve counted dozens, including Tech Trends, Green Marketing Social Media Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Trends, Supermarket Trends, even the heart-stopping 2014 Top-Ten Call Center Trends).
Here at Cone Communications, we spend the entire year tracking emerging CSR issues and trends. From buildings made out of 100 percent recycled materials to $150,000 fantasy gifts for a cause, companies were bold, even brazen, in their approaches to accelerating positive change in 2013. In today's issue of Prove Your Purpose, we've taken hundreds of cause marketing and CSR campaigns and distilled them into the top 10 need-to-know trends for executives.
From the massive Bangladesh fire and factory collapse, to the horse meat scandal and ongoing international natural disasters, 2013 was a year of new issues, challenges and opportunities within CSR. Companies and consumers alike were bold, even brazen, in their approaches to accelerating positive change. This year was marked by continued digital innovation, audacious goals, new industry support and unexpected partnerships. Cone Communications has simplified its years’ worth of CSR tracking to share the top 10 trends of 2013.
With the New Year almost upon us, companies may be making some resolutions to ensure their CSR and sustainability efforts start off on the right foot in 2014. To give companies a leg up on their planning, we’ve highlighted five CSR trends that are likely to pop up on corporate radar screens and gain more traction in 2014.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday may be behind us, but with more than ten days left in the holiday season, companies still need to find ways to attract the hearts and wallets of holiday shoppers. As holiday marketing reaches a crescendo, companies are turning to cause marketing to differentiate and prove their commitments to social and environmental issues.
The term "shop till you drop" is never more fitting than during the holidays. But fast on the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is a new movement that's gaining traction. The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is getting a new look, drawing the focus away from giving presents and more on giving back - all while harnessing social media to spread the word.
Over the last week, there was no escaping the heartwarming story of Batkid, also known Miles, the five-year-old boy who bravely fought cancer and then turned his sights on fighting crime in Gotham City. As social networks lit up at unprecedented levels to show support, the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation demonstrated the power of storytelling and impact when told through the eyes of a young boy.
As we enter the biggest charitable giving time of the year, companies are embracing the holiday spirit with an eye toward the greater good. But, even during this time of generosity, cutting a check alone isn’t going to cut it. According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study,only 7 percent of global citizens believe donating cash or products is the priority way companies should address pressing, complex social and environmental issues.
Corporate cause marketing around the breast cancer issue seems to be fading for the first time in 20 years.
Although shoppers have been inundated with pink products recently, this year marks a turning point, with fewer breast cancer cause marketing programs in the market versus last year. As a pioneer in developing cause marketing programs for companies, we believe this is a result of a variety of factors, from increased scrutiny of campaigns and nonprofit partners to consumer desensitization to the cause. But with no cure on the horizon, there's still room for authentic and effective support of breast cancer awareness and research.
Levi's is no stranger to the CSR journey. From its "Water<Less" collection, which reduces water usage in manufacturing by an average of 28 percent, to its "A Care Tag for Our Planet" tag, which urges consumers to donate clothing to Goodwill, the retailer has often pioneered new approaches to lessen its environmental footprint. Its latest move is another bold step in product innovation to address both its environmental and social impact.
When TOMS shoes hit the market in 2006, the company quickly became the poster child for the buy-one-give-one social impact model. The company then made headlines again in 2011, expanding its "one-for-one" concept to a new line of eyeglasses. Now TOMS aims to broaden its social impact net exponentially, this time by bringing a handful of social entrepreneurs under its wing.
Most major companies have embraced the power of CSR to drive brand affinity while also effecting tangible positive social and environmental impact, but some corporations remain conspicuously absent from the CSR landscape.
Companies have long embraced corporate support of social and environmental issues to build brand relevance and consumer support; but today, marketers must evaluate new audiences as part of their efforts to create meaningful social impact. Among those new audiences are multicultural consumers – particularly Hispanics and African Americans, who, according to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, are the driving forces behind the evolution of cause to more robust social impact.
The overlapping worlds of brand communications, advertising and public relations are engaged in a head‑scratching, chest‑pounding, eye‑rolling re‑examination of how organizations should be marketed. The shock-and-awe of it all was on full display this week at the Council of Public Relations Firms "2013 Critical Issues Forum" with the attention-getting theme "Content Frenzy" and a fire hose of comments from experts.
From Puma's "Clever Little Shopper" to HP's "HP Protect Messenger Bag," packaging innovation is in a constant state of improvement. And although it often takes the best and brightest scientists to solve tough sustainability packaging issues, sometimes nature already has the answer. This week, we explore the key takeaways from "Telecomm and the Armadillo: A Biomimicry Story," a session at SXSW Eco.
Companies have long embraced corporate support of social and environmental issues to build brand relevance and consumer support, but today, marketers must evaluate new audiences as part of their efforts to create meaningful social impact. Among those new audiences are multicultural consumers – particularly Hispanics and African Americans, who, according to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, are driving forces behind the evolution of cause to more robust social impact.
This week we are proud to share the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study. In the twenty years since Cone Communications first started researching American attitudes and actions around corporate support of social and environmental issues, the verdict is clear: cause is here to stay.
Ever since cause marketing broke onto the scene in the early 1980s, corporations have realized and embraced the brand-building power of supporting social and environmental issues, from breast cancer research to recycling.
As we head down the home stretch of the 2013 hurricane season (remember last year’s late-season surprise, Sandy?), and with California wildfires and Colorado flooding still impacting communities, there’s no better time than now for companies to assess their disaster response strategies.