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.

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