Tag Archives: Social Good

Cause Marketing 101

Social cause marketing—these are philanthropic buzzwords that appear to be sweeping companies and organizations in recent years. By the sound of it, it seems like something every organization should adopt. By the looks of it, it can do wonders for any business’ reputation.

But what is it exactly?

In short, cause marketing involves the marketing efforts of corporate entities, non-profit organizations, and other cause groups to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. We’ve seen great examples of cause marketing in recent years with Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, Product (Red) for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, or Yoplait’s Friends in the Fight for Susan G. Komen.

So, what makes social cause marketing impactful? How does a group properly identify and adopt a social cause? How is it effectively marketed? I’ll illustrate three examples from R&R Partners’ Salt Lake City office that may help answer these questions.

Identify a need:

Utah Department of Public Safety – Highway Safety Office: Utah DUI Staycation Trolley Tour

Over the past 10 years, more deaths have happened on Utah roads on the 4th of July holiday than any other holiday. As Utahns began planning their Independence Day celebrations, we identified a need for our Utah Highway Safety client and began strategizing ways to position the “don’t drink and drive” message to best combat the deadly holiday. To encourage Utah drivers to make plans for sober driving, representatives from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office and the Utah Highway Patrol partnered with the Salt Lake Trolley Tour, a narrated sightseeing tour through historic Salt Lake City. We invited Salt Lake-area news outlets to join local law enforcement aboard the Utah DUI Staycation Tour and share the ride of lifetime—experiencing a DUI without the related costs.

The trolley tour took guests to various sites around downtown with a handful of out-of-the-ordinary stops. These stops included up-close and personal views of standardized field sobriety testing, the finest photo opps of a Blood Alcohol Testing vehicle (BATmobile), and a final stop at the jail administration building.

Our goal is not to stop people from drinking, but rather urge safe driving in situations where people might be drinking. If Utahans chose to drink on Independence Day, we encouraged them to make a plan—designating a sober driver or utilizing a ride share service. Otherwise, they could experience a summer staycation they wouldn’t soon forget.


Select an impactful partner:

Slow the Flow, Save H2O + Garbett Homes: Flip Your Strip

R&R Partners has developed a strategy for cause marketing called the “Theory of Reasoned Action” which highlights four steps for effective social change:

  • Raise awareness
  • Change attitudes
  • Change intentions
  • Change behavior

A crucial piece of the Theory of Reasoned Action pie includes community mobilization—or the process in which individuals or organizations carry out messaging or activities to accomplish an initiative. To mobilize a community, it often requires strategic partnerships to communicate messages via innovative ways.

Recently, we partnered with Garbett Homes—a Utah homebuilder committed to sustainable and innovative building—with our client Slow the Flow, Save H2O (from the Utah Division of Water Resources). Our shared goal was to extend Garbett’s efforts to the exterior of the home by promoting a Flip Your Strip initiative for residential landscaping. This initiative encouraged the conversion of neighborhood park strips (the area of yard between the sidewalk and street) from sod to an attractive water-wise alternative saving up to 10,000 gallons of water per year, per household.

The Flip Your Strip initiative aims to build awareness in the community and state, but also highlight Garbett Homes as a leader and advocate for water-wise, sustainable exterior landscaping. The summer-long project culminated in a media event to educate press and the community on the intended initiative. For additional community outreach, local elementary Daybreak Academy was invited to participate in the event. Speakers educated students about the Flip Your Strip project, the importance of conserving water, and ways they could help make a difference for Utah’s future water needs. Each student walked away with a t-shirt and water-wise plants for a hands-on application of the initiative for the academy’s schoolyard.

Build engaging content + creative:

Utah Department of Public Safety – Highway Safety Office: St. Patrick’s Day Saints of Sobriety

Many people like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by raising a pint of their favorite beverage, but some press their luck by getting behind the wheel. To remind St. Patrick’s Day revelers to never drink and drive, representatives from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office and the Utah Highway Patrol visited Salt Lake-area news outlets to reveal a DUI-prevention message that encouraged bar and pub patrons to take a cab or ride with a sober lad or lassie.

Additionally, on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day 2016, law enforcement representatives partnered with Salt Lake City bars where local actors transformed into living statues of the “Saints of Sobriety”, including: St. Haylor of Cab, saint of wise travelers; St. Cristyl O’Clearhead, saint of responsible drinking; and St. Alweis the Appointed, saint of designated drivers. Those who made the pledge to get home safely received a coin from law enforcement representatives that, when deposited in the statue’s hat, activated an interactive performance by the living saint statue. To assist in additional awareness, each bar also placed a stained glass display at their location to communicate the importance of sober driving on Utah’s roads. The message was interactive, hands-on, and entertaining..

For the first time, Utah experienced zero alcohol related crashes or fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day. By identifying a need and a timely message, while channeling impactful creative, our message came to life with a fresh and innovative platform and likely played a role in preventing crashes and fatalities this year.

By identifying a need, selecting impactful community players, and building engaging content, any organization can adopt, and shape, an impactful cause marketing campaign. R&R Partners holds the tools and expertise to take key moments like each of the above examples and turn them into critical successes for any client.

SXSW 2015: Meerkats, Beacons & Bacon

R&R Partners’ Corporate Director of Measurement and Insight Justin Gilbert co-authored this article.

In case you have been amidst a social media cleanse, SXSW just wrapped up in Austin. It is a weeklong tech, music and film festival that takes place every March, and attendees discuss the future of technology, eat great barbecue and listen to emerging artists. The interactive portion was attended by 32,798 people this year, and we stood in line with the best of them − we even got into a few sessions and saw some pretty cool stuff along the way.


Tech Trends

The buzz this year was all about Meerkat, a two-week-old, live-streaming app that generated 100,000 users at launch and came close to Twitter’s breakthrough presence at SXSW in 2007. While the app lost access to Twitter’s network on the first day of the interactive festival and was then snubbed by Twitter in its acquisition of competitor app Periscope, it continues to see rapid user growth and press within the last week. Teleparty and Stre.am also aim to provide live-streaming services, leading to one of the key takeaways from this year, being that video is the name of the game in 2015. Tech and media companies alike are clambering at the opportunity to capitalize on the channel to connect with users in real time.

Similar to what we saw this year at CES, wearables are extending beyond the fitness industry into medical to enhance the user’s daily activities. The fashion world is beginning to use 3-D printing technology combined with smart textiles that can read and adapt to the wearer’s heart rate, including a material that transitions from opaque to sheer as the heart beats faster. Robots were also on full display, designed for a wide array of uses, including psychological counseling, journalism and teaching programming.

More than 1,000 beacons were deployed around SXSW, primarily for the purpose of helping attendees network. GE also used beacons to measure people’s brain activity while eating various types of BBQ to determine optimal temp and smoke levels. Proximity targeting and micro-location targeting are now allowing advertisers to interject themselves into “smart networking” around events or within retail locations, augmenting the RFID targeting that we’ve seen over the last few years.

Good Social & Social Good

Tinder created a fake profile for the main character in the film Ex Machina and had a bot carry on conversations with eager SXSW attendees, eventually directing them to an Instagram account with a video promoting the film. Also similar to CES, self-driving technology and connected cars were reviewed in various panels, events and discussions. Data analytics from connected cars are being leveraged to identify traffic patterns, optimize auto safety and as behavioral targeting segments for advertisers.

Social good was an integral part of the programming at SXSW, in addition to the companies showcased. Related to the robotics trend, several panels focused on the use of bionics and drone technology to assist in disaster/war areas, viral outbreaks and social issues. The United Nations hosted a session that discussed “Project 8,” an online research platform that helps the organization better anticipate and prepare for the needs of the global population, essentially leveraging social listening and data mining from a global perspective to identify changes in sentiment, communication trends and human needs. Mophie partnered with the St. Bernard Foundation to bring smartphone battery cases to people at SXSW with drained phones, while driving adoption awareness for the foundation.

Internet of Things

More than 70 sessions at SXSW mentioned the term “Internet of Things” or “IoT.” This latest buzz phrase defines a world of users connected by intelligent devices that offer a new convenience and functionality to day-to-day life. This lofty phrase intends to enhance life, not only on the individual level, but also on a global scale, leading to improvements in farming, medicine, clean water and smart cities.

So what does this mean to an already fragmented and saturated media landscape?

The proliferation of cloud integrated and smart consumer products is producing large amounts of real-time data that can be leveraged for future consumer product development and within ad-level targeting. This new digitally interwoven IoT ecosystem can better inform the marketer’s perspective of consumer habits, preferences and media consumption.

As the media landscape is becoming more saturated, SXSW Interactive’s panel conversations reiterated that while content is still king … it does not comprise a brand strategy on its own. Distribution of the content is key. Taking advantage of the efficient scale and frequency of interactive channels, combined with niche targeting capabilities, indicates that brands and agencies should be thinking digital first. Writers should not just write for broadcast − they should think of how a viewer consumes broadcast content simultaneously with social media and how both impact their subsequent Web-browsing behavior across all connected devices.

Data Empathy

This mass influx in consumer and device profiles also inevitably leads to data privacy issues and consumer distrust, making this one of the hottest topics at SXSW Interactive. Consumers fear how their information is collected, shared and used; they are becoming more aware of the profitably behind their information, while companies are struggling to maintain control over transactional data with third parties. Restoring consumer trust, coined as “data empathy,” and identifying ways to balance the respect for privacy and commercial use of data, is going to be one of the most important topics in the interactive industry for years to come. This topic within SXSW challenges us, as leaders in the industry, to consistently ask ourselves if what we are designing uses data to be consumer centric, granting ease of use and being adaptive to personal preferences, or if it is merely interruptive for the sake of cutting through the clutter.

To view the presentation shared at SXSW Interactive, visit its SlideShare.