Inside the Profession PR Training

Breakout: Social and Cause Marketing: Creating Value, Building Relationships

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Cause marketing is hot, but it certainly isn’t new.

As early as 1891, Rockefeller hired someone to handle his philanthropic affairs.  Cause marketing provides mutual benefit to non-profit associations and corporate partners by aligning their interests for good.

Kristian Darigan, vice president and futurist for the non-profit cause division of Cone, explained that Cause marketing is getting harder because doing good has become an expectation rather than a differentiator.  In order to reap the greatest rewards, companies much be linked much tighter into the cause than in the past.

Continuum of Engagement

  • Cause Marketing: Singular campaign
  • Cause Branding: Using the companies philanthropy to deliver better results
  • Corporate Responsibility: Integrated into the social DNA, in addition to causes they support, all the equity

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The Benefits for Companies

  • In the US, 87% say when price and quality are equal, they are likely to switch from one brand to another associated with a cause, 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study
  • Globally, 60%chose NOT to buy a brand because the company was seen as a bad corporate citizen, Wirthlin Worldwide, Corporate Citizenship Balancing Act, 2002
  • In the US, 77% say a company’s commitment to a social issue is important when they decide where to work, , 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study
    Globally, employees were ranked as the stakeholder group that creates the greatest pressures or incentives for their company’s citizenship activities, World Economic Forum
  • In the US, 92% say they have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause, 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study
  • Globally, 61% of opinion elites say they have recommended a company to others in response to positive news about a company’s citizenship, APCO Worldwide Global CSR Study

The Benefits for Non-Profits

  • In the US, 76 percent of people reported that they had a more positive image of the non-profit
  • In the US, 70 percent are more likely to donate money to the charity

Kristian made an interesting point, that was also made by Mia Farrow yesterday in the general session, that many global companies have a bigger reach than the United Nations. 

A new trend is for the non-profit to initiate cause marketing campaigns. Cone usually represents clients such as Yoplait, Starbucks, Western Union and other corporate players, but decided to expand its practice when it chose to represent the American Heart Association in its cause marketing campaign.

Links to the PDFs of the Presentation

See case studies below the fold


Case Study 1: American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red


Infused the brand
with more relevance and emotional appeal through four areas of focus:
women’s heart disease, childhood obesity, adult inactivity and stroke. Picked: Heart Disease, “Go Red” 

Increased overall
corporate support to raise funds and enhance reach: filtered the
possible partners and chose the ones that best aligned with the overall
goals of the campaign

Leveraged and maximized
existing resources, assets and opportunities: Used all of the existing
science to develop tools, the internal talent and the grassroots reach


Wear Red Day, Web site, Media Relations using the science message,
Jumbotron (Macy’s, store fronts, mirror slicks), Special Events, Cities
Go Red with local AHA chapters, Promotions, Spokespersons and

Hot Tip: You can put your PSA on file with Clear Channel
in something they call the PSA Superhighway.  Local markets look at
this database as a resource to fill empty billboards.  You have to pay
for the vinyl printing, but not the advertising space.


  • 55% are now aware (up from 34% in 2003)
  • $60M has been raised
  • $39M in 2006
  • 600,000 enrolled in the movement
  • 430,000 took heart took check-up
  • 93%will take some action
  • 12,700 active companies
  • 3.2B Web site visits
  • 220 luncheons
  • 6B impressions
  • 26 countries
  • Industry
    recognition: “One of the most influential consumer emblems” by
    America’s Greatest Brands; Case study in three industry books: PR
    News’Top 100 Case Studies in PR, Jocelyne Daw’s Cause Marketing for
    Nonprofits, Philip Kotler’s Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life,
    Third Edition; 18 industry awards including: Golden Halo, Gold Sabre
    and PR News Platinum PR Award.
  • Harvard Business School case study on Go Red

Case Study 2: Sugar, Sweet by Nature with Toys for Tots (Marines)

Melanie Miller, vice president, public relations, Sugar Association, laid out their cause marketing plan for sugar.


there has been an increase of caloric sweeteners has per capita, sugar
consumption is declining. Also, diet trends have called for a decrease
in sugar consumption. Cultural message is , “sugar is bad for you.”

Messages they wanted to impart:

Sugar is all natural, 15 calories a teaspoon, Can be part of a healthy lifestyle in moderation


in Gear” campaign to position sugar as part of a healthy lifestyle
utilizing sports.  Chose Toys for Tots since they had a need for toys
for teens and pre-teens.  Made an alliance with the Seattle Seahawks,
Grand Rapids Griffins and the Minnesota Wild wives clubs to cover the
three markets they were targeting. Budget of 120,000 for the three
markets (included the $7,500 to each market).

Two-part campaign:

Celebrity Bake Off and Auction: favorite
dessert recipes, invited all comers and created a cookbook for each
market. A celebrity cook in each market baked the desserts and they
were auctioned off in in high traffic areas, like the Mall of America
(Minn.), etc. A portion of sugar sales, up to $7,500 per market, were
donated to charity.

Delivery of the Toys: Included the teams and other local players


media coverage with favorable messaging, Toys for Tots credibility gave
it an aura of credibility, sports organizations loved the program:

  • ROI: Sales increased in two of the markets, a pretty big bump
  • Messages were delivered

Miranda, regional director, communications and marketing, the American
Heart Association and incoming chair for the Nonprofit Section of PRSA
chaired the session.

By Kami Watson Huyse, APR, principal of My PR Pro, is an Ad Age “Power 150” blogger who writes about public relations and communications at Communication Overtones. She has an extensive background in crisis communication and reputation management, executing social media campaigns, focus group research and media relations. She has garnered coverage for her clients in media outlets such as the Washington Post, theWall Street Journal, the CBS’ “The Early Show” and the San Antonio Express News, among others.

Join Kami Watson Huyse for her teleseminars, Strategist Social Media Management: Applying Strategis Skills for Successful Campaigns and Integrating Social Media Into Crisis Planning: Prepare Your Company and Brand  in Times of Trouble.

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Kami Watson Huyse


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