CNN Story on Cause Marketing Gets Most Things Right

CNN did a good story on cause marketing this past weekend that really captured what great cause marketing looks like and the commitment that's needed to make good campaigns exceptional.

The backdrop for the story is Guy Harvey, Inc., which among other things, runs a chain of seafood restaurants that support the owner and namesake's passion for causes that work to save the ocean.

Here's what you can learn about cause marketing from Guy Harvey, Inc.

Cause marketing at its best comes from a place that is authentic, passionate and credible. Even if Guy Harvey didn't have a business to support oceanic causes, he'd still support them personally. Adding cause marketing to his business is just an extension of his deep, personal values (as are his photography and drawings of marine life).

If you share Guy Harvey's passion for a cause and own a business, you're probably already doing cause marketing. Where I come in is helping you better execute your cause marketing plan. That's certainly been the case with iParty and Ocean State Job Lot.

Cause marketing is win-win. The essence of cause marketing is mutual benefit. Both partners are rewarded. Guy Harvey supports great causes, which helps drive business and the cycle continues. No wonder Guy Harvey has had record sales!

The effects of cause marketing can be dramatic, but they don't come easily or overnight. The one drawback of seeing a story like this one is that it all looks so easy. Support a cause, do great things and watch the dollars roll in! Alas, it's not that simple. It takes time for consumers to see your halo and note its glow. Guy Harvey has been burnishing his for a lifetime.

Cause marketing doesn't make a bad product good. The halo you gain with cause marketing doesn't turn a devil into an angel. Cause marketing isn't a game changer for all businesses, but it is a powerful edge for good businesses that want to combine margin with mission.

Social media and cause marketing belong together. Carol Cone makes the point in the story that consumers are just one click away from learning about your company and its commitment (or lack of) via the web and social networks. But there's more to this story. Read about it here.

What do you think about this CNN story? How do you think it portrays cause marketing?