- October 3, 2012
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By: Mark Dority, Director of Marketing
When it comes to advocating for important causes, some companies aren’t afraid to take on the true “Goliaths” of their industries.
Running shoe manufacturer Saucony recently launched Run4Good, an iPhone app that tracks runners’ speed, time, calories burned and running histories. Run4Good also competes with Nike+, a popular mobile running app from one of the world’s biggest names in athletic shoes and apparel and is battling the growing epidemic of obesity among American kids and teens.
Each month, Saucony’s Run4Good Foundation sets a collective mileage goal for app users, doubling its contributions to a relevant nonprofit each time users reach that goal and is a great example of companies enlisting and engaging consumers with campaigns that benefit both causes and the companies themselves.
While corporate philanthropy is nothing new, over the past few years more and more companies—including some of the world’s biggest—have been partnering with nonprofits for cause marketing campaigns that allow consumers to actively participate in the process of supporting those causes.
In 2005, Delta Air Lines (the world’s largest carrier by number of scheduled passengers) struck up a partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation wherein every October (which is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month), the airline sells pink-hued drinks on board, with 100 percent of the proceeds—$4.9 million so far—going to support the foundation’s mission.
Another example is InterContinental Hotels Group (the world’s largest hotel company by number of rooms). The hotel chain allows members of its Priority Club Rewards program to donate their points to causes—such as disaster relief—supported by the brand.
And earlier this year, low-cost air carrier JetBlue launched its second annual Soar with Reading initiative with the children’s bookseller Barefoot Books. Visitors to the program’s website shared their favorite children’s book title and for each submission JetBlue and Barefoot donated a book to literacy–focused nonprofits across 71 U.S. cities. Adults who submitted titles were also entered into a sweepstakes with a vacation package offered as the grand prize. In total, the program raised $200,000 worth of books.
What all of these campaigns have in common is their big brand name awareness that can capture consumers’ attention. And this awareness can pull in big donations for nonprofits, and revenues for the companies running these campaigns themselves. In turn, these companies gain customers who are more willing to engage with their brand. And finally, consumers are rewarded with the personal satisfaction of attaining something valuable such as a product purchased, the chance to win a vacation, the satisfaction of sharing their opinion with others, all while doing good.
What is often forgotten, however, is that companies of all sizes can embrace this kind of cause marketing. Through our Cause-Related Loyalty Marketing platform, for example, companies can reward their customers while making a huge difference within their own local communities. In fact, think of cause-related loyalty marketing like a winners’ circle. Everyone involved can see some form of ROI on their charitable efforts with the campaigns as the engines that drive a sustainable loyalty cycle where everyone—the brands, nonprofits and consumers—win.
After all, if companies want to continue to do good, they also have to do well.
Image credit: SJ photography