People - The Power Behind Purpose

People - The Power Behind Purpose

Anne Erhard, North America Regional Lead of PurPle (Purpose + People), offers her insights on the power of people at this year's 2012 Cause Marketing Forum.

Multimedia from this Release

"6 Ideas in 60 Minutes" presentation

Celebrating the launch of MSLGROUP's global offering, PurPle!

Friday, June 22, 2012 - 3:30pm

CAMPAIGN: PurPle: Purpose + People


Our North America team had a fabulous time in the Windy City at Cause Marketing Forum 2012 this month where we launched our new global offering - PurPle - which brings together our expertise and experts from around the world within various aspects of purpose-led communications. As Scott shared in recent posts, PurPle stands for Purpose + People. Critical components of our proprietary process will help guide clients to involve all People - executives, stakeholders, employees, and consumers – in the problem-solving process, from strategy to solution and every step in between, helping to solve some of the world's biggest social and environmental issues. I’m happy to report that the “People” side of the equation proved to be an important theme at this year’s conference, threading through many of the keynotes and breakouts. As such, we received fabulous feedback on PurPle from companies and nonprofits alike!

I was lucky enough to join a stellar group of presenters to kick off the conference "Ted-Talk style" in a quick format session called 6 Ideas in 60 Minutes. My fellow presenters all gave their unique perspectives on different big ideas within the cause marketing space, but the common thread woven throughout the presentations was the emphasis on people (naturally you can imagine how excited we were to be launching PurPle at this particular conference!) My nine minutes highlighted the importance of incentivizing consumer participation in cause marketing programs and promotions to stand out in a marketplace, especially as consumers are faced with tightening the proverbial belt buckle on discretionary spending, competition, cause clutter, and more choices than ever.  Incentives can take the form of "soft" or intangible incentives, which have been around since the early days of cause marketing yet continue to innovate and evolve, e.g. strategically targeted thank yous, shareable emotional content, opportunities to incur bragging rights, clear cause impacts/metrics, etc. Getting the soft incentives right is the cost of entry for cause marketing today – ensuring people not only “feel good” about their participation, but are inspired to involve their social circles in the effort. And while many have become masters at these softies, they’re missing the boat on the "hard" or tangible incentives that can help to ensure success today. These may include - coupons, redeemable codes, discounts, credits, or free gifts. When done right, hard incentives allow consumers to do good for society while getting something great in return personally, making participation more of a “no brainer.” Such incentives can lead to 1) Mass - more critical mass and maximized participation, 2) Money - greater sales for companies and fundraising for causes, 3) Metrics - trackable, measureable participation rates, and 4) Multi-year programs - proven success improves staying power and allows for longer-term executions.

Other presenters, including Macy's, VolunteerMatch, .org, Care2 and Incite, gave great perspectives on some various forms of "people engagement" as well:

- the importance of engaging and inspiring employees as your front line cause ambassadors by providing relevant calls to action, training them on the emotional messaging, and recognizing and rewarding their contributions

-  leveraging employees as the critical pilot testing ground for your cause campaigns before unleashing them to external audiences

- infusing purpose and appropriately rewarding participants in branded loyalty programs

- leveraging highly targeted traditional and social media not for mere reach to target audiences, but to inspire real meaningful action

-establishing branded web sites and social platforms as a dedicated space for participants to come together around your cause

The challenge for NGOs and companies will undoubtedly center on identifying unique ways to unlock the meaningful participation and action of the target audiences. And, we at MSLGROUP, look forward to challenging and assisting our clients to put People at the center of their purpose-led strategies and solutions moving forward!