Branded Altruism

It’s all about collaboration. The world of social media marketing is helping to create relationships for everyone: whether you’re a brand, non-profit foundation, or consumer there is a space on the Internet that encourages collaboration. In the last few months some high-profile socially driven projects have been unveiled to create awareness for brands and to fundraise for social and environmental change.

This “cause marketing” approach isn’t new, but is a growing strategy for the success of major brands.  These campaigns and initiatives have effectively strengthened alliances between brands and consumers, building long-term consumer awareness and loyalty.

You might already be familiar with Tom’s Shoes, which allows you to “wear” your altruism on your feet by donating a pair of their shoes when you buy a pair of your own.  Let’s look at some other “brands for change” campaigns that are reaching consumers with great success:

The Pepsi Refresh Project
Pepsi is giving millions of dollars in grants to regular people, businesses, and non-profits to fund ideas and projects that have a positive impact every month. Anyone can submit an idea and then their home site creates a profile for others to vote. They accept up to 1,000 ideas each month for health care initiatives, saving the arts, improving the planet and furthering education. “Every Pepsi refreshes the world.”

Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Beach Rescue Project

The Barefoot Beach Rescue project asks people to “take a stand in the sand” and keep America’s beaches “barefoot friendly.” Beach clean-ups and restoration events are coordinated and people can sign up through their site to register for a cleaning event.

Sun Chips Healthier Planet Initiative

Companies like Sun Chips are investigating the way a product is manufactured or packaged, and considering how business practices can become more environmentally sound. They have opened a factory in Modesto, CA that is completely solar powered.  Sun Chips packaging is now compostable and fully biodegrades in 14 weeks. Check the video out.

The Global Green Consumer Survey, released in 2009, found that 66 percent of consumers think it’s important or very important for companies to offer green products, and 73 percent believe companies should have a good environmental or socially conscience track record. Brands like these are listening to their consumers, staying on top of this “social change” trend and using it to their advantage.  Not only are they creating stronger bonds with their audience, but they are rethinking the whole marketing structure.  Will “cause marketing” become a must have branding strategy? Brands win, when they provide a relevant way for their consumer to get involved.



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  2. 06/21 2010

    I agree this is a great trend for non-profits. I added a footnote to my blog post “How to Do Sponsorship Marketing” to your article.



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