Monday, April 20, 2009

Betty Crocker is Stirring Up Wishes

Yummy! I am never one to pass up a sweet. I L-O-V-E cupcakes. Takes one back to childhood and the simplicity of good things.
Betty Crocker is doing a 'good thing' with their cupcake recipe too. They recently launched a cause-marketing campaign with Make-A-Wish Foundation called, "Stirring Up Wishes". Each week for twelve weeks, Betty Crocker will grant a wish to a special child and their favorite Betty Crocker recipe.
This is such a simple campaign. Yet it is a wonderful alignment. Kids, cupcakes, sprinkles on top, and wishes. The other aspect of this program that is smart is that it will run for a specific period of time, twelve weeks. The success of a cause-marketing campaign is a short duration. Well, my opinion anyway. Here's why, cause marketing efforts are a partnership between a charity and company/business. A short duration for a campaign gives both sides the chance to test the waters of the relationship before signing on for a longer time frame. Also, these types of campaigns have a great blitz n' buzz that appeals and attracts consumers. Over a longer time frame, that buzz can be diminished. However, there is the argument that time allows for your message and brand to build. Don't think Betty Crocker is need too much more in the brand building area.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cause-Related Marketing: Does the Shoe Fit?

I have long not been a proponent of cause-related marketing (CRM) efforts. Part of this is because I believe philanthropy in it's purest form has nothing to do with CRM efforts, and I've held the assumption that CRM is more about branding, marketing, driving sales and has a shelf life so as long as the product or service is popular.

However, I've seen some CRM programs work and work well. So, the question is why are some successful and others not? What do businesses need to know to plan a successful CRM program and what should nonprofits look for when their cause is sought for a CRM partnership?

In a recent blog post, Brutal Truths About Cause Marketing, by Geoff Livingston, he beautifully lays out the good, the bad, the ugly about CRM and the following comments by readers are brilliantly stated. This article is a MUST read for any nonprofit or business owner who is currently engaged in a cause marketing partnership or is thinking about planning and implementing one. I added my comments to Geoff's blog post:

"It’s been unfortunate that the WIIFM (What’s in it for me)companies causes a blanket affect for businesses that are authentic in their cause related effort. I couldn’t agree more with Geoff’s article and the significant comments posted. Hence, as someone who works with businesses to create their ‘giving back’ programs here is what I have learned from my experience:

1). There are few enlightened companies that operate and make decisions based on their values;
2). Values-based planning is essential to any giving/cause related/community involvement program which most companies don’t do with respect to developing their giving;
3). Giving is NOT a priority for business and managed as an aside project or rather ‘good deed’ vs. an integral part of their business culture;
4). Most have no idea how to begin selecting a cause of choice and generally ‘the most popular’ is often picked even though it is not in alignment with their business values and goals;
5). Most don’t have a clue how to determine this alignment;
6). Most create their business’s message of doing good from the platform “Look at the $$ we gave,” Look at the # of volunteer hrs we gave,” “Look at all the good we are doing.” When in fact the message should be about the cause and their commitment to solving a social issue;
7). Nonprofits are not as informed as they could be when it comes to cause related partnerships because their fund raising has been developed through inidivual donors, grants, and corporate sponsorships.

Personally, I chose not to work with companies who are WIIFM-ers and you can spot them a mile away. Those projects go sour and south, ultimately fail and are viewed as too opportunistic. The operative words in any partnership are "alignment and commitment to a social issue."