Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Athena Cosmetics Embraces Philanthropy as a Way of Business

I get 'tickled pink' when I come across a story of a business that embraces giving in every aspect of the company. It is one thing to give a percentage of profits to causes and it is another to do that, plus give time, energy and other financial resources to a cause. And when customers, employees and staff are involved in the efforts, it is clear to see just what the company believes in, stands for, and is committed to solving in this world. These are the companies worth sharing with our givingadvice community followers.

So, today's blog highlights an extraordinary cosmetic company, Athena Cosmetics, Inc. The beauty (pun is intended) of this cosmetic company lies in the story about how Revitalash® started and the authentic expression about what they are committed to, hands down.

Athena Cosmetics created a line of beauty products to enhance a woman's natural beauty. One of them is the Revitalash® Eyelash Conditioner. It is a unique eyelash conditioner that will help you achieve the natural beauty of Longer, Thicker, Fuller looking eyelashes. Every woman would love this, me included. Revitalash® Eyelash Conditioner was developed by Dr. Michael Brinkenhoff as a special gift for his wife, Gayle, while she was recovering from breast cancer. It was the treatment that left her eyelashes sparse and thin. After research with his team of highly specialized scientist, they formulated the conditioner to help women, especially those undergoing chemotherapy, achieve having fuller eyelashes. It seems like such a simple thing, to want fuller eyelashes. But, every woman knows that when you have fuller eyelashes, you feel and look better. Face it, advertisements and commercials about fuller, thicker, voluminous lashes work and so does Revitalash®.

In his own words, from their website, Dr. Michael Brinkenhoff says, “Often we feel helpless when someone we love is suffering. I am very fortunate, in my own small way, to have been able to help Gayle through her recovery. Watching her be excited about her beautiful looking eyelashes has been a real joy.”

It is so evident in Athena Cosmetics' story their commitment to breast cancer research and education initiatives. It is this focus, the connection of their giving message to market in an authentic way that is compelling and makes you just want to buy their products and tell your girlfriends about them too.

"Athena Cosmetics, Inc. is proud and honored to devote time, energy and resources to the goal of fighting breast cancer both by public education programs and by the contribution of time, energy and financial resources to the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this epidemic disease...."

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Do Pancakes & Children's Miracle Network Have in Common?

YUMMY! I love breakfast and could eat breakfast food at all three meals. My favorite is buttermilk pancakes smothered with real butter and maple syrup. And if you are a pancake lover too, then don't forget February 23rd is National Pancake Day.

Here is a good reason why you should head on over to your local IHOP for a stack of flapjacks too. In celebration of National Pancake Day, IHOP will give you a free stack of 3 pancakes and all they ask is that you make a donation to children's hospitals through Children's Miracle Network.

Like IHOP's slogan, "Come Hungry. Leave Happy" and Feel Good about Contributing to Children.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where Athletic Apparel Meets Performance Meets Philanthropy

I admit it, I am a competitive athlete. Make no bones about it. I can be sweet and nice and open to collaborative efforts in business, but when on the racing line, I am a tiger. I thirst and crave winning in athletic performances. I don't apologize for it either. I even got ticked at an athletic director for paying women athletes less than male counterparts for the same race back in the 1990's. "Equal pay for equal sweat." That is my motto.

I love watching the Olympics. There was even a point and time in my life where team mates thought I would have been there for running. But no point hashing times gone by. Some of my team mates have like, Kim Gallagher , a 2 time Olympian and medaler in the 800m run in 84' and 88'. RIP Kim.

The time is today. And, I am loving what some athletic apparel companies are doing for causes. First and foremost is a shout out to Moving Comfort for their Support Your Girls Campaign. Full Discloser as they were a client of mine.

Another is DEKA Athletics, in Atlanta, GA who carries athletic and footwear, as they announce that Alp-n-Rocks, a ski athletic apparel company has launched a fabulous cause marketing campaign. They recently spear-headed a scholarship program. Here is what Alp-n-Rocks is doing (directly from the DEKA Athletic latest blogpost):

"Born in the Swiss Alps and raised on Sunset Strip, Alp-n-Rock offers the finest in ultra-luxe t-shirts with a purpose. Alp-n-Rock draws its inspiration from the glamorous alpine resorts of Europe where fashion is as important as sport, and comfort and style go hand-in-hand. But its attitude is strictly Rock-n-Roll. Bold, sexy and just a little bit twisted, Alp-n-Rock redefines luxury: live life on your own terms, feel connected and create change. Along with being ultra fashionable, Alp-n-Rock donates 10% of profits to Room to Read to fund girls' scholarships in developing countries around the world, giving girls the lifelong gift of education.Ski Magazine showcased an Alp-n-Rock reversible, long sleeved top in its most recent issue. The versatility, fashion, and comfort offered from these organic cotton tops are what has consumers coming back for more! DEKA carries a collection of the original designs for men and women; give back & feel good about getting your new "go to" Alp-n-Rock top for the winter!"

So! There you go. Ski in fashion and be it with a philanthropic twist... We love Alp-n-Rock! Rock On! Run on or ski on.... whatever motivates you to get moving. Just know that giving back can motivate you run a few more miles or run a few more slopes, no matter your sport. It's all for the love of sports, competition and having the heart to give back.

Oh... Even if you are skiing slow... If you are wearing Alp-n-Rock, at least you're looking good!

a.k.a. "Mid-pack-Mag"
Get Your Miles In :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Derailing the Cause Marketing Derby

Capitalizing on Cause Marketing Can Make You a Winner or a Loser

It's Super Bowl weekend and the game is on. Well, the game isn't until Sunday. I am referring to the cause marketing campaigns of Pepsi and Coca~Cola.

Pepsi, one of the longest and largest advertising supporters of the Super Bowl is sitting on the side-line of sort this year with advertising in a traditional way and has chosen to use its advertising dollars for a $20 million dollar cause marketing campaign the "Pepsi Refresh Project." Pepsi will make contributions to community projects through consumers votes.

Then, Coke guessing since Pepsi is sitting out, jumped on the board and is taking advantage of the opportunity through its Open Happiness theme on Facebook, giving Facebook fans an sneek peek at its upcoming Super Bowl ads. Each time a Facebook fan passes a virtual Coke along to a friend, a $1 donation by Coke to Boys & Girls Clubs of America is triggered. Coke will also have two animated billboards during the Super Bowl to direct viewers to Live Positively to boost donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Red Cross’s work in Haiti.

Both cause marketing campaigns are good. It's good for product lovers, the companies, the causes and those who benefit from the causes programs and services. Everyone wins.

But cause marketing can have losers as an end result. Here are some tips how to avoid having your cause marketing campaign end up with either people or causes sitting on the side-lines (not in the game) or having losers (direct loss from the campaign):

1. Don't 'Rush'. [Pun here is intended as it is Super Bowl weekend] Take time for proper planning before you execute (another pun) your cause marketing campaign. Slapping together a Point-of-Sale or Percentage-of-Sale campaign can come across sloppy and that you really are not committed to the cause.

2. A 'Blitz' can cause a Blunder. Making your campaign all about 'getting the sale' (sacking the quarterback) is not what it's about. Cause marketing will not make you rich and your tactic needs to be a balance or mix of both message, awareness, and the sale.

3. Pick the Right 'Spot' to Launch Your Campaign. Just as in football the official decides the line of scrimmage, 'spot', before the next football play, your business needs to know when throughout the year is the best time for you to launch a cause campaign. It may depend on the issues surrounding the cause and/or your business's cycle.

4. Personal Fouls will Cost You a Big Penalty. Your campaign must be on the up-and-up. It cannot be successful if you have intentions (agendas are fouls) other than making a difference. So, if your message is not authentic and clear to the customers or the campaign lacks transparency, this will cause you a big penalty in the end leaving you with no fans.

You know you have scored a 'Touchdown' when both your business and the nonprofit has reaped positive benefits from the cause campaign. It's a win when both win.

Every punt (oops, I meant pun) was intentional. I hope you find the importance through the humor.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sandra Bullock, Doctors without Borders and Tybee Island

One of my favorite aspects of Hollywood celebrities is they are big givers. I mean really big givers and they have fun while doing it. For many stars, they have taken their name beyond the Hollywood big screen to support causes, not because they can write a check but rather when you explore their charitable giving many support the same causes and charities for years. And in addition to financial contributions, they also leverage their name, face, and voice to promote a cause's message.

Today's celebrity pic is Sandra Bullock. She happens to be one of my favorite comedian-actresses and she is a funny off-screen as she is on-screen. Sandra also has a residence on Tybee Island off of Savannah, Georgia where I live and is generous to our community.

Sandra has been really stepping off the red carpet to step up for good causes. She recently donated $1million to Doctors without Borders Emergency Operations for Haiti relief efforts to fix three of the medical facilities damaged by the earthquake. Also, the Bochic bracelet she's wearing in this photo will be auctioned for charity. 100% of the proceeds will support CharityWater and their efforts to support clean drinking water in Haiti.

Just this past week, Sandra teamed up with Coach to benefit one of her favorites charities, the Beauty Bus Foundation. Sandra has two favorite Coach bags the Madison Leather Hippie and Kristin Leather Tote. They can be yours, too, for a good cause. It makes shopping feel good, really good. Part of the proceeds from her two favorite bags,will benefit the Beauty Bus Foundation. The Beauty Bus Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for home-bound, terminally or chronically ill patients and their primary caregivers.