Last month, Brian Powell blogged in Ad Age about cause marketing. This isn’t a field I’m familiar with, but we’ve all heard the news that charitable giving is down due to the recession and I thought there might be some interesting innovations coming from this discipline.
Brian’s main point was that “cause marketing should be ideas with business and social impact.” He believes this discipline is so important it will eventually be fully integrated into a company’s overall marketing efforts.
Just a couple of days ago, I looked into the SocialVibe widget that’s available on many of the social networking sites, such as Facebook. It’s simple: pick a charity from their list, pick a sponsor (aka advertiser), place the “badge” on your social network or blog site, and earn charitable donation points. In other words, if I can drive traffic to one of my sites, and people click on my badge, my charity gets a donation. The catch? Every visitor who clicks the badge sees a short ad or request by the sponsor (e.g., rate an ad, pick a baseball card, etc.).
Interactive cause marketing? A radical new twist on the old customer brand loyalty programs? Whatever it’s called, I like it. People can “do good” with the assistance of brands, while brands get attentive watchers of their messages. In this day of people skipping commercials due to DVR recordings and with print publication readership down, this is really quite inventive.
How is your brand helping customers to “do good”?