in Digital & Social

Stand for Something

One way a brand can stand out and build a stronger bond with customers is to become aligned with a relevant cause that truly benefits the greater good.

Consumers, and even customers in business to business environments, certainly expect the companies they purchase from to be good corporate citizens. Fair and ethical treatment of staff members, giving back to the local community, and adherence to green practices just make good business sense. But imagine how your customers might perceive your brand if you *WOW* them by setting a gold standard for social and environmental practices.

Digital technology is making it easier for companies to engage with consumers and support causes in new and unique ways.

Here are several examples of companies that are making a difference.

TOMS Shoes – For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. Since the program launched in 2006, over 600,000 shoes have been given to children in the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Haiti, and South Africa

Pepsi – Rather move forward with a traditional Super Bowl TV spot, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project. Through the $20 million crowdsourcing initiative, which will no doubt be a marketing case study, people are enticed to submit and vote on ideas that will have a positive impact on society. The best ideas will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 each.

CauseWorld – CauseWorld is an iPhone and Android app that is similar to Foursqaure and Gowalla, in that it enables users check into check into locations they visit. For each check in, users earn “Karma” points, which they can then redeem using the app to donate money to select charitable organizations. The money is provided by sponsors including Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Sears.

Have you thought about how your company can leverage digital in making a difference?

  • Mike Abasov

    Not everyone can afford it.

  • eric

    Hi Mike, thanks for you comment, I appreciate it. I’m curious, what specifically do you believe not everyone can afford?

  • Brian G. Rice

    Great use of twitter to re-introduce your older blog entries, Eric.

    This kind of cause based marketing is becoming more and more prevalent in business today.  Even grocery stores are getting in on the act.  The problem I have with this is that there seems to be an awful lot of insincerity involved with many of these campaigns.

    The Body Shop was really one of the first companies to employ activist based marketing practices. But it wasn’t just a veneer plastered over a traditional company.  Their activism was a pervasive aspect of their core business values.  

    To be truly effective, and to win over the ever present cynics like myself, you need to allow your staff to drive your cause based marketing efforts.  Empower your employees to pick the causes you support.  Allow them to define the nature of that support.  It needs to be more than a command from on high if you hope to realize all of the potential benefits.

  • eric

    You are right, Brian. It is key to have full staff involvement and support – collaboration is key, and it leads to cause-related efforts being more sincere and genuine. The Body Shop is a great example.