April 22, 2010

4 examples of corporate social responsibility done right

Coors-taxi

JD LasicaHere at Socialbrite, we’re always looking for sterling examples of how the corporate sector is contributing in genuine ways to the social good. Those bridges between the for-profit and nonprofit/social good sectors are becoming increasingly vital.

So I was jazzed to see the presentation by Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse of Zoetica yesterday at NewComm Forum in San Mateo, Calif., on what they’re calling “lethal generosity” (a term from Shel Israel’s “Twitterville”). The discussion provided some clarity around the difference between corporate social responsibility, cause marketing and what the Zoetica folks call lethal generosity: “when a corporation applies its core competencies to advance social change in a way that contributes to business results and gives it a competitive advantage.”

Without going into whether the term will catch on (I think it probably won’t — it’s really just CSR done right), here are four fantastic examples of how large companies have been contributing to the social good in compelling ways:

Molson Coors & responsible drinking

Molson-Coors

1.Over the years, Molson Coors Canada has used CSR to advance its brand — and is one of the few major corporations to take advantage of social media in doing so. (Shel Israel wrote about Molson in his book Twitterville.) As Beth mentioned yesterday, Molson Coors invests more in responsible drinking education than on alcohol-centered events. Molson reaches out to the community to find ways to spread the message of responsible drinking, putting money behind the TaxiGuy program (for those who’ve had one too many) and covering the cost of free public transit on New Year’s Eve.

Shel recounts the story of the holiday season of 2008 when the Toronto Transit Authority canceled its New Year’s Eve free-ride transportation because of budget cuts. Molson stepped in and launched a campaign to replace public funding with private sector donations, starting with its own $20,000 donation.

Molson has a small social media team led by Ferg Devins, who is not only responsible for selling beer but for outreach to communities in need. The team uses Twitter and blogging to initiate community generosity projects.

Molson’s Responsible Drinking Program (see image at top)
Molson Coors blog — they even have a Socialbrite-style Twitter conversation widget at the right
@molsonferg on Twitter (Ferg Devins)
Molson Canadian Facebook page

Tyson Foods & hunger relief

Tyson-Hunger-Relief

2.Tyson Foods offers another example of a major company tying its corporate social responsibility efforts to its core mission. Tyson has committed its brand to efforts to relieve and ultimately end childhood hunger, and in the past few years been integrating social media into its hunger relief efforts.

Tyson connected with the Social Media Club and began a string of extraordinarily smart and effective efforts to enlist the community. For example, it launched a campaign in Austin in which it agreed to donate 100 pounds of chicken to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas for every comment posted on its blog. They received 658 comments in two hours and loaded up two trucks filled with chicken for the hungry, Beth said. They repeated the success in Boston and San Francisco, launched a user-generated video contest in Minnesota and sponsored a day of service for its social media team.

Tyson Hunger Relief Blog
Tyson Hunger Relief: Our Commitment
Tyson Hunger Relief blog post on outside Twitter accounts involved in hunger relief
Tyson Hunger Relief on Twitter (Ed Nicholson)
Tyson Foods Hunger Relief on Facebook
Sustainability – It’s In Our Nature: Report on Tyson Foods’ economic, social and environmental efforts (PDF) Continue reading

October 13, 2009

Cause marketing with celebrities, social media

Marketing for charitable causes from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaThe smartest guy I know in the cause marketing space is Chris Noble, CEO of 8-year-old Kompolt. With the help of a grant from eBay, Chris’s team at Kompolt is organizing the nonprofit track Thursday at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas.

Some $6 billion was raised online in 2008 for charity and nonprofits — less than 5 percent of total US charitable giving. Chris thinks we’ll see that trend follow the same growth curve as ecommerce over the next 10 years, and as it does, cause marketing and cause campaigns will play an increasingly important role.

In this 13-minute video interview, Chris talks about the rapidly evolving field of cause marketing — working with companies to promote a social good. Major brands have begun backing charitable causes, and celebrities have as well. Now social media, and participation by online communities, is throwing an extra dimension into the mix.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo. Some highlights:

• The first cause marketing campaign was by American Express in 1980s. A penny of each transaction was donated to renovating the Statue of Liberty.

• Social media is the latest wrinkle in cause marketing, enabling users to have a higher level of direct engagement with a brand. Continue reading

May 20, 2009

How to get the most out of cause marketing


Scott Henderson (photo by Ms. Jen)

Beth KanterI was supposed to lead a workshop at the Cause Marketing Forum on Social Media and Cause Marketing at the end of May. I was looking forward to it because Michael Hoffman at C3 was a sponsor and participating. Unfortunately, I had to cancel and asked Scott Henderson if he’d do on my behalf.

I met Scott online over a conversation in the comments when I wrote some reflections about David Armano’s personal fundraising campaign back in January. I also participated in a campaign he organized for Share Our Strength.

I decided to do an interview with Scott to learn more about what he is learning about social media and cause-related marketing.

Who are you?

I am a cause marketing director for MediaSauce, helping non-profits and corporations use online media to pull off their next big thing.

Tell us about the “Pledge to End Hunger” you recently launched to benefit Share Our Strength

Goals
The main goals were to raise awareness of childhood hunger in America, give people the tools to take meaningful action to help end this solvable problem, and create a case study from which non-profits and corporations could learn how to better use social media in their cause marketing.

Audience
Our primary audience was more of a profile than a group. We were seeking to find individuals who cared about the cause and would be willing to rally their respective communities (social media and in-person) to take action. Working from that profile we identified four categories:
1) Active Twitterati and bloggers from different niches
2) SXSWi attendees & ambient attendees (those following from home)
3) Individuals in the email databases of the corporations & non-profits leading the campaign, and
4) Wild cards – people separated from us by 2-3 relationship degrees who fit the profile

Continue reading