News Flash: Cause Marketing is Growing Outside the U. S.

POLAND: Crossing your cutlery signals the staff to take your plate away and add a donation for The Polish Red Cross.

POLAND: Crossing your cutlery signals the staff to take your plate away and add a donation for The Polish Red Cross.

The annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference in Chicago last week was - once again - a great success! Congratulations to CMF founder Dave Hessekiel and marketing director (and my CauseTalk Radio co-host) Megan Strand and the rest of the team for putting on another great event.

I'm thankful that David regularly invites me to speak at the CMF conference. But this year was a bit different as David gave me a challenging topic: global cause marketing.

The goal of the session was to give attendees "a new perspective by studying the structure and substance of campaigns in global markets" and a tour of the best international programs.

But there was one nagging problem keeping me awake at night. My knowledge of international cause marketing was as empty as my passport was of stamps.

Don't get me wrong, I've travelled extensively within Massachusetts (well, eastern Mass...and not too far north or south of Boston). But I haven't spent much time abroad. Heck, beyond seeing the airports in most major cities, I haven't even been to a lot of places in the United States! (I know, my bad. To make amends I'm planning a walking tour of an alien land: Rhode Island.)

BRAZIL: Soccer team Vitoria ‘drained’ the red hoops from their home strip to raise awareness and get their fans to donate blood.

BRAZIL: Soccer team Vitoria ‘drained’ the red hoops from their home strip to raise awareness and get their fans to donate blood.

My world is, well, unworldly, narrow and provincial. No wonder I can't shake this Boston accent!

Of course, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into with this year! Had I finally met my rhetorical match?

Fortunately, I had four things going for me.

1. I had a great co-presenter. Allison Morris joined me to share Mercy Corps' first cause marketing campaign in the Middle East with Coca-Cola’s Arwa water brand. You can download her presentation here.

2. I pleaded for international aid. I found three outstanding conference attendees who joined me at the session to talk about cause marketing in their respective countries. My saviors were:

  • Ismael Cavalcante, a Business Analyst at Instituto Ayrton Senna in Brazil.
  • Souad Christina Saied, an Account Director at Sunday Lunch in Australia.
  • Hiraku Ito, an account director at Dentsu in Japan. Hiraku shared this video from Yahoo Japan that raised money for earthquake victims from searches performed on the second anniversary.

All three of my co-presenters confirmed that cause marketing was growing in their countries. But one thing was missing: the lucrative point-of-sale programs (i. e. charity pinups, donation boxes, register programs, etc.) found here in the states. We all agreed that POS was a key growth area in foreign markets.

3. I tapped my own international superpower. While I've only been to Paris once, I've been stock-piling examples of international cause marketing since Nicolas Sarkozy was prime minister. During my presentation, I shared six of my favorite examples of international cause marketing. But you can see dozens more here on Pinterest.

4. I got lucky. The same day of my presentation, Cone Communications in Boston was on hand at the conference to share copies of it's new global CSR study. My favorite cause marketer and Cone EVP Alison DaSilva gave me whole stack of reports hot off the presses to share with attendees. 

I had gone from a global cause marketing dunce to an international savant!

Cone Global CSR Study: Social responsibility is a global expectation.

Cone Global CSR Study: Social responsibility is a global expectation.

Interested in learning more? Cone is hosting a webinar on their new study on Wednesday, June 24, at 1 pm ET. To register, click here.

Thanks to Allison, Ismael, Souad, Hiraku and Alison, I survived another CMF conference and am looking forward to next year! And thanks to David Hessekiel - my friend, my mentor, my yoda - I learned some-thing new about cause marketing, and myself.

david hessekiel yoda