Category Archives: #CMweekly

A cause marketing series dedicated to campaigns that hooked us from the start. Once a week we highlight noteworthy cause marketing programs and analyze trends to see what good comes out of good campaigns.

#CMweekly: Jeep Operation SAFE Return

CMweeklys_JeepCompany: Jeep
Cause: U.S. Troops
Partner: USO
Website: www.jeep.com/operationsafereturn

Program of Action
With the Super Bowl XLVII commercials still fresh in our mind, we thought we would recap and highlight a company who not only sold its product but mentioned its supported cause along in the commercial. Jeep aired its “Whole Again” ad during the big game that recognizes the company’s program, Operation SAFE Return (OSR), which is a four point effort to aid our U.S. troops. OSR is a fund created by Jeep and its nonprofit partner, USO, that provides hands-on, financial, and in-kind aid to returning troops.

Jeep invites the public to share a story, a photo, or a message on Twitter of how you’ve supported the troops in your school, neighborhood or place of worship. For every shared message with the unique hashtag #joinOSR, Jeep will donate $1 to the Operation SAFE Return fund.

Best Practices
We give Jeep a two thumbs up on Operation SAFE Return and its authentic awareness through this year’s Super Bowl game with these vital practices.

Public Awareness. Typically, companies use a different approach to their Super Bowl commercials but Jeep made a smart decision to bring out consumer’s emotions with premiering a cause that is close to Americas heart. Companies need to keep in mind, media can play a huge effect in cause marketing – you have a brand, blast it. Jeep used a perfect time and event to promote both its brand, partnership, and campaign.

Align with a CSR program. Jeep coordinated a day of service dedicated to supporting the USO mission. Jeep brand employees will participate and join the organization in a tribute for the troops on February 6th. Consumers will appreciate the hands-on approach Jeep is instilling in its employees and business culture.

Beneficial Partnership. We can’t iterate how important a loyal nonprofit partnership is when creating a cause campaign. Jeep established a relationship with an nonprofit that will be continuously ongoing, which will result in a huge impact for both the company and organization.

Integrated Platform. The company builds its own platform, along with USO, to provide consumers a designated site to obtain information, learn about the cause, and donate to the organization and campaign. The glory of a cause marketing website puts all of the elements stated above in one place and (in this case) integrates the main pillar to donate, Twitter.

Program Outcome
It is unknown how much Jeep has donated to USO through its Operation SAFE Return fund but we are sure the company received more stories, messages, and photos after the commercial was aired. Jeep employees will be participating in its Jeep Day of Service on February 6th lending a hand to local USO Centers. There is no ending date to the campaign, therefore, we encourage everyone to visit www.jeep.com/operationsafereturn to learn more about the cause effort.

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

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#CMweekly: U.S.P.S. Letters to Santa

CMweeklys-USPostal

Company: U.S. Postal Service
Cause: Community
Partner: N/A
Website: www.usps.com/letterstosanta

Program of Action
This year marks the 100th year for the United States Postal Service Letters to Santa program, helping make children’s holiday wishes come true. Letters to Santa receives over 500,000 letters addressed to Santa Claus each year from children. The popular holiday program responds to the letters by providing a written response to their holiday wishes signed by Santa. USPS employees, members, charitable organizations, and corporations can all join in and participate in fulfilling the dreams of children nationwide.

Letters to Santa officially started in 1912 authorizing local postal employees and citizens to respond to the ever growing number of letters received during the holiday season. The New York City office is named “Operation Santa,” the largest postal office receiving letters addressed to Santa in the country.

Best Practices
U.S. Postal Service grabbed our attention! We list three characteristics that make Letters to Santa successful:

1. Employee Buy-In: Network for Good mentions this is key to jumping a cause marketing campaign. Employees are your core brand ambassadors – their participation will go a long way to getting your campaign off the ground. Letters to Santa began with the involvement from only U.S. Postal Service employees, sorting, filing, and responding to letters. As the program expanded, the company brought in volunteers and citizens to join. This approach not only improves the experience for everyone but brings a sense of connection to all helping.

2. Brand Extension: Be sure the cause is relevant to your brand and links back to the company’s essence. A U.S. Postal Service responding to letters addressed to Santa is brilliant and demonstrates a creative and authentic way their service can be utilized for a good deed. If the cause works in your favor, consumers will believe the commitment the company has to the mission of the cause program/campaign.

3. Cause Loyalty: Companies must remain loyal to the program and cause(s) they support. U.S. Postal Service has committed 100 years to the program and continually carries on strong with Letters to Santa. The loyalty a company has to a supported cause, partner, or campaign will provide them with media buzz, consumer’s trust, and make the program that much more impactful.

Program Outcome
U.S. Postal Service mentions Letters to Santa easily receives millions of letters every year to multiple local offices across the nation. We encourage parents to have their children write to Santa, volunteers to join the effort to respond to letters, and everyone to share U.S. Postal Service efforts in making every child’s holiday wish come true. To read more about the 100th anniversary or if you would like to participate, visit www.usps.com/letterstosanta.

Happy Holidays!

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

#CMweekly: jcpenney Holiday Giving Tour

CMweeklys-jcpenney(2)

Company: jcpenney
Cause: Community
Partner: Salvation Army
Website: www.jcpcares.com

Program of Action
Before the campaign ends, we wanted to highlight jcpenney’s Holiday Giving Tour and join in on the holiday spirit. The Holiday Giving Tour allows the company to embark on a 12-day tour throughout the U.S., carrying out special acts of generosity in a new city each day. From Christmas tree lighting and ice skating to Santas and tobogganing, jcpenney will bring a touch of holiday cheer to cities across the country through simple acts of generosity that pay homage to classic American holiday traditions.

The tour kicked off in New York City on November 27th and will conclude on December 8th in Los Angeles. In addition, jcpenney allows customers to continue the holiday spirit by asking them to round their store purchase to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to Salvation Army. With the Holiday Giving Tour, in-store campaign, and Red Kettle bell ringers at store fronts, jcpenney is sure to spread holiday cheer nationwide.

Best Practices
The retailer focuses on pure social actions in local communities instead of depending on how much is being given through donations. This approach emphasizes the company’s dedication and passion to make an impact on the communities in which they do business in. Not only does this demonstrate their mission to do good in the best possible way but goes beyond their front door to make social impact and succeeds in sharing jcp cares cause initiative.

jcpenney offers incentives, or in this case “gifts,” to motivate consumers in participating in the holiday giving spirit, which connects with the mission of Holiday Giving Tour. Throughout the season, the company will distribute holiday buttons with a unique code on the back that give customers the chance to win one of millions of gifts after redeemed on the company’s site. Once redeemed, a dollar is donated to the Salvation Army. The JWT Social Good 2011 report states, 4 in 10 say a rewards-based mechanism is a good way to get people involved in a cause. Not to mention, drives consumers back to check out jcpenney stores online.

To spread the holiday cheer and share the cause initiative around the tour, the company teamed up with multiple celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, John Legend, and Blake Shelton. According to research, celebrities have the ability to generate passion amongst their followers, generate buzz in the media and attract donors. Additionally, jcpenney infuses multimedia and interactive platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to raise awareness. The use of online technology makes it easier than ever to successfully make programs buzz worthy among consumers, supporters, and fans and provide them the tools that motivate them to participate.

Program Outcome
So far, jcpenney donated $100,000 to Salvation Army for its collectable holiday buttons, where a dollar was donated for every holiday button redeemed at www.christmas.jcpenney.com. Currently, the Holiday Giving Tour is still occurring nationwide and will be making its stop in Phoenix today and ending in Los Angeles tomorrow. We will be following jcpenney and its journey at ww.youtube.com/jcpenney and encourage all to drop by, purchase holiday gifts and in turn support the season of giving.

Watch the video below to see all the generosity jcpenney has spread thus far. Since YourCause is located in Dallas, Texas – it was nice to see the retailer bring a snow slide for children to play on (something we don’t always get to experience during December!).

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

#CMweekly: Toys “R” Us Give Back

Company: Toys “R” Us
Cause: Youth
Partner: Toys for Tots
Website: www.toysrus.com/holidaygiveback

Program of Action
To begin the holiday spirit, Toys “R” Us has kicked off the season of giving with its second year of Give Back campaign. Individuals across the country can anonymously pay off layaway balances of strangers in gestures of good will. This year, for each layaway balance paid off as an act of kindness, the company will donate $200 worth of toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $1 million worth of toys.

Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. This year Toys for Tots is partnering with Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Lego, Build a Bear, Hasbro, Hess, and Scholastic to give kids in need of gifts on Christmas morning.

Best Practices
Toys “R” Us is not only donating to Toys for Tots in communities nationwide but also raising funds and toys for children affected by Hurricane Sandy and naturally ties-in the program with its annual “Give Back with Shaq” campaign. With all the efforts occurring and contributing to one organization that remains in line with its company values and industry proves more impactful results will arise. Not to mention, Toys “R” Us loyalty to Toys for Tots for the last eight years and counting only demonstrates its dedication to successfully reach the organizations mission.

Toy “R” Us built an innovative campaign like no other, usually brands push the campaign and consumers follow, however, in Give Back Toys “R” Us follows consumers and contributes its half after receiving generous layaway payoffs. An authentic campaign like so will stand out in the crowd and create a viral effect for others to try. To continue grabbing the attention of consumers, companies need to keep in mind different varieties of ways consumers can have fun, feel good, and view their actual impact within the campaign.

With social media a trend this year and transparency playing a factor in consumer decisions, customers will appreciate the fact Toys “R” Us keeps everyone up to date on its Facebook page. The Toys ”R” Us “Give Back Tracker” updates and shows where the layaway payoff took place and the total amount of toys the company has donated. Providing digital updates on a major platform gets people to come back, expands the spread of shares and reaches a wide range of audience. In addition, it’s a simple and quick way to show real time results.

Program Outcome
This holiday season, Toys “R” Us aims to donate up to $1 million worth of toys. With multiple campaigns launched throughout the year, Toys “R” Us has raised over $27.6 million and has collected more than 3.4 million toys for Toys for Tots. We encourage all to donate, share and help support children in need of toys in your community and make their holiday experience a time they won’t forget.

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

#CMweekly: Capital One Every Second Counts

Company: Capital One
Cause: Military Awareness
Partner: Cell Phone for Soldiers
Website: www.everysecondcounts.com

Program of Action
Capital One and Cell Phone for Soldiers launched a new mobile application cause campaign called Every Second Counts, dedicated to connecting U.S. Military members with loved ones all over the world. For every individual who downloads the Capital One mobile app and signs in for the first time 60 seconds will be donated. In addition, every time an individual views their transactions, pays a credit card bill, transfers money between accounts, etc. 10 seconds will be donated to Cell Phone for Soldiers.

Cell Phone for Soldiers is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans. More than 168 million minutes of free talk time have assisted troops, since 2004. Together, Capital One aims to make military members and their loved ones holiday wish come true this season by connecting them with one another.

Best Practices
Reach Consumers Where They Are. With statistics mentioning there are 50% of smartphone users nationwide, this is a smart tactic knowing consumers log in to their bank account on (perhaps) a weekly basis and why not make it easier by downloading the app. In turn, consumers will be more receptive to continue logging on and supporting the campaign. This will increase activity for the company business and engagement for the nonprofit.

Complete Two Actions With One Step. Every Second Counts provides simple and quick actions to help donate minutes while accomplishing one activity. Consumers can understand the campaign, execute at any time, and continue on with their day knowing they contributed to a military member and their family. Not to mention, completed what they logged on to do as well.

Go Beyond Text Donations. Though, text donations are a great approach; downloading a mobile application will more than likely be used more than once, can be effective and attract participation. While individuals are out and about, they can donate real time at any time rather than donating funds once.

On the other hand, we’d like to see the number of minutes Capital One has reached so far. Keeping consumers involved with results motivate supporters and new ones to continue using the application during the campaign and after. Also, perhaps creating more buzz around the campaign will encourage others to participate. With the campaign being mobilized, is it easy to share through media platforms.

Program Outcome
This is the first year, Capital One and Cell Phone for Soldiers have partnered together for Every Second Counts. Together, they aim to donate six million minutes to provide troops the ability to speak with their loved ones more often. We are positive Capital One will successfully reach its goal. For any Capital One users we encourage you to download the Capital One mobile app (if you haven’t done so already) and begin viewing transactions, set up bill payments, or transfer money between accounts now and help connect troops with their families.

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

#CMweekly: Tide Loads of Hope

Company: Tide
Cause: Disaster Relief
Partner: American Red Cross
Website: www.tide.com/loadsofhope

Program of Action
In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, many corporations immediately offered support to storm victims by lending its assets to nonprofit organizations. Tide in partnership with American Red Cross continued its campaign, Tide Loads of Hope, that provides washer and dryers to victims in need of clean clothes. Tide Loads of Hope offers relief by sending mobile laundromats to the location of the disaster and provides families with washed, dried, and folded clothes prepared by employees for free.

For the last four years, the program has helped during disasters in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, San Diego, Galveston, Fargo, Waterloo and now New Jersey. In addition to providing clean laundry to disaster victims, individuals who would like to contribute can purchase a Tide tee with $4 from each sale directed towards helping families affected.

Best Practices
Tide Loads of Hope created an authentic program that links back to their brand essence. With the company being a product and clothes cleaner, the program is a creative brand extension of providing basic human needs (washed and dried clothes) to victims. In addition, the brand and cause connection demonstrates the company’s long-term investment in supporting the cause.

Secondly, the program is employee based. Engaging employees into cause campaigns are no new trend but Tide established a program that only involves employees. Tide Loads of Hope success will be recognized because of the employees support, which in turn can increase employee retention, loyalty and their commitment to the company.

Lastly, Tide Loads of Hope is a hands on cause approach. Although multiple companies raise funds and awareness after a disaster strikes, the mobility and quick response Tide established within the program makes it out of the ordinary. No one can expect a disaster or how big the impact will be but it is nice to know a company program is ready and set to act immediately with in-kind support.

One aspect to the cause program that could be included is more financial support from consumers. If a disaster does occur, perhaps add consumer donations when a Tide product is purchased. A percentage of the sales can then go to the community affected. After all, 82% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company’s CSR initiatives (2012 Cone Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker).

Program Outcome
Tide Loads of Hope has cleaned over 34,000 loads of laundry for families affected by disasters and has helped seven cities. This number continues to rise as Super Storm Sandy recently struck the East Coast. Though it is horrible to have a weather disaster affect multiple cities and families – it is great to see a company ready to help during disasters whenever they may happen.

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie

#CMweekly: Virgin America Both Sides of the Aisle Win

Company: Virgin America
Cause: Youth and Politics
Partner: Rock the Vote
Website: N/A

Program of Action
As the presidential election rolls upon us in the next coming days, we highlight Virgin America’s political stance in its recent cause initiative. Virgin America in partnership with Rock the Vote encouraged passengers to register before the November 6th presidential election in its Both Sides of the Aisle Win campaign. Passengers on board were able to register to vote directly from Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment platform, “make a difference,” seen on their seat-back screens. Flyers easily went online, scan the QR code, and registered themselves on the voter rolls.

Virgin America and Rock the Vote teamed up to inspire voter registration among minorities and the younger population. Rock the Vote is an organization dedicated to youth political engagement and use popular culture and new technologies to motivate young people to participate in every election. This new cause initiative was a first in its history and aimed to make the youth generation voices heard.

Best Practices
A clear practice that makes the campaign one-of-a-kind is the amount of power technology can have to make a difference in the world. Virgin America utilizes technology in multiple tactics to encourage voter registration such as QR codes. According to research, QR code uptake has increased 4589% from early 2010 to early 2011. In addition, the airlines use technology via smartphones, social actions to share on media sites and watch educational videos all under one platform while cruising altitude.

Though, Virgin America does not particularly align with the political industry – the company did its research and chose a cause and partner they are dedicated to helping reach its mission. Whether the company’s brand matches the cause or not, choosing a cause that you passionately advocate for shows emotion, commitment and loyalty. This approach will attract already active supporters and new ones.

Virgin America launched the initiative at a time that is crucial, before the presidential election. Setting a short amount of time prior to the election to register was a perfect airway to get buzz going around the company, nonprofit and awareness. Also, the company chose a time guests have a few moments of downtime to take action. By placing the online platform in front of their seat while on their phones offers flyers no choice but to participate.

One aspect to the Both Sides of the Aisle Win that we’d like to see is the results. Virgin America lacks transparency and informing individuals how many registered voters accumulated at the end of the registration deadline by providing them the voting platform.

Program Outcome
As of today, we are unaware of the amount of success Virgin America had on registered voters. However with partnerships, Rock the Vote has registered five million young people to vote – part of that amount is from the help of Virgin America. We look forward to seeing other inventive cause initiatives the company has in store for the future. Don’t forget to vote!

Your CM Aficionado,
Kassie