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Focus for Impact: What Americans Expect from Companies Involved in Cause Marketing

By Lindsey Smith

Last November, I attended my first webinar to help focus and inform my future dream career, consulting large corporations on their partnerships with non-profits. Through this position, I hope to work to strengthen social responsibility campaigns. In order to build toward this role, I plan to begin working in multiple types of marketing departments. My marketing internship with GOOD and my internship with Jack Morton shaped this dream.

I know the demand for corporate support of social issues has never been stronger than now, and consumers constantly question the social impact of corporate efforts. This webinar provided me with deeper insight into the consumer point-of view.

I learned that selecting the “right” issues to support requires assessment of brand equity, business objectives, stakeholder preferences and marketplace needs. So, paring a corporation with a non-profit that does not have similar values — even though the non-profit may be in dire financial need — will not work well in the long-term. In order to generate consumer engagement and action, companies must provide participation options that range from easy commitment to deep and meaningful service.

My key takeaways from the discussion were:

  • DEMAND FOR CAUSE IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH. Twenty years of benchmarking data show consumer appetite for cause is not just insatiable — it’s on the rise.

  • PROOF OF PURPOSE IS CRITICAL. High consumer demand comes with high expectations for impact.

  • MULTICULTURAL LEADING IS THE WAY. Multicultural consumer passion for CSR is especially high, with Hispanics emerging as must-engage stakeholders.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA DRIVING SOCIAL IMPACT. Consumers take to online and mobile channels to engage with companies and one another, as well as advocate for and contribute to corporate efforts.

The study presented was completed by Cone Communications online during February 2013.



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