Cause Marketing – Alive and Well

A response to the USA Today KINDNESS blog post declaring the death of cause marketing as we know it
Nov 9, 2010 2:30 PM ET
Craig Bida.jpg

What Do You Stand For?

Billions of dollars have been raised, millions of consumers have been engaged and untold lives have been impacted across the globe.  Rest assured, cause marketing is alive and well.

But don’t just take our word for it. An overwhelming 83 percent of Americans want to see more companies support social and environmental issues, as revealed in Cone’s 2010 Cause Evolution Study. This is particularly true among moms and Millennials – the consumers driving spending and the social agenda – who are virtually unanimous in their desire to see companies stand for something.

Most professionals have long-agreed that simply tying a ribbon to a product is not a meaningful strategy for either business or social growth.  And it doesn’t build brands either.  Instead, what sets brands apart today is:  1) supporting issues aligned with their business growth and diverse stakeholder needs, 2) meaningful engagement beyond the transaction and 3) trusted, mutually beneficial partnerships.

Over the last two decades, cause marketing has changed our social fabric, giving consumers a way to contribute to critical issues like women’s health, education and preventable disease.  Today, we are on the cusp of innovation as we evolve from transactional to transformational.  Look to the future for dynamic, collaborative problem-solving against new (and emerging) issues, bold public commitments to drive impact and brands built on transparency and trust.

Lofty?  Perhaps.  But achievable, when put in the hands of the consumer through cause marketing.

-  Craig Bida, Executive Vice President, Cause Branding and Nonprofit Marketing, Cone