PR Training Pulse of the Profession

Cause Branding

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share with PRSA and its members data and insights regarding emerging trends and innovations in Cause Branding.  Today, all of us in business, government and nonprofits find ourselves in the middle of a perfect storm of “goodness”: philanthropy, cause branding and corporate responsibility. Every day we learn of new trends, commitments, campaigns, ideas and innovations that are truly amazing. Look what happened in the past year:Avon reached its $500 million mark in giving.

American Idol gave back.

Oprah launched her Leadership Academy.

Al Gore won an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth.

Bono and Bobby Shriver launched the (RED) Campaign.

CARE, Susan G. Komen and the American Heart Association launched powerful new brands.

Innovative new philanthropy emerged from Google, Richard Branson and Pierre Omidyar.

Today, being good is the “new black” — it will never go out of style. Companies must express their humanity and values in authentic and emotionally compelling ways to reach their employees, consumers, partners, communities and other key stakeholders. It is no longer enough to have a quality product at a fair price with good customer service; it is now about deep and meaningful emotional connections that create differentiation and loyalty.  

At Cone, we have been linking organizations and causes for over two decades.  Today, though, cause is no longer a “nice to do” — it is a “have to do.” Where cause was once about little more than the CEO’s pet charity, today companies are looking to strategically link their business needs with societal needs.

We see two predominant types of cause commitments today. Largely in business-to-consumer companies, causes provide emotional relevance for brands to create customer and employee loyalty and commitment.  We are also seeing companies, particularly on the business-to-business side, that address key business challenges in areas where they can have significant social impact.  They are utilizing their business scale for social good, while also providing innovative marketplace solutions that add value for customers, employees and the bottom line.  

My presentation will share examples of cutting-edge cause programs in both areas, with terrific, in-your-face and heartfelt videos. I will delve into the key pillars for success — authenticity, sustainability, connectivity and effective communication. I will also share the latest Cone research, the 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study, to demonstrate trending insights into the elements of an effective and long-lasting cause campaign.

Candidly, this is a presentation that you won’t want to miss, no matter what side of the equation you are on. Goodness is in. You no longer have to leave your values at the door when you go to work. Be part of this incredibly exciting new strategy.

Carol Cone, chairman and founder, Cone, Inc.  Join Cone for her workshop “Emerging Trends and Innovations in Cause Branding” on Tuesday, October 23.

1 Comment

  • What’s important is that people recognize it’s not just about ‘being good’ all of a sudden. False attempts to appear that you’re all for a cause will do you greater harm than good.

    Unfortunately some business owners follow the money and jump on the boat as soon as they hear it buzzing. They go from the cause movement to the green movement to social responsibility – yet they hardly know what they even mean.

    If you’re not passionate about the cause – either get into it or get out of it. Your customers and potential customers will see that you’re fake – they are smarter than you may think.

    But yes, someone that is truly passionate and is ‘in’ their cause will see wonderful business results, not to mention the rewarding feeling that comes with it all!

    My two cents.

    Mike

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