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Corporate Social Marketing: Benefiting Individuals, Society & the Corporation

A Corporate Social Marketing campaign should target behaviors that directly relate to one or more of the company's products or services.

Submitted by: Guest Contributor

Posted: Oct 03, 2012 – 09:31 AM EST

Tags: cause marketing, marketing, csr, brand, subway, best buy, allstate


By Nancy Lee, President, Social Marketing Services

What do heart attacks, traffic fatalities and landfills have in common?

The incidence of each can be reduced through Corporate Social Marketing (CSM), one of six major types of marketing and corporate social initiatives described in Good Works!, a book I recently co-authored with David Hessekiel, president of Cause Marketing Forum.

Corporate social marketing uses business resources to develop and/or implement a behavior change campaign intended to improve public health, safety, the environment, or community well-being.  Because beneficial behavior change is always the focus and intended outcome, real differences are made for individuals, society, and the corporation.  Three examples support this promise, each described in more detail in Good Works!:

Supporting Brand Positioning: Subway Restaurants & the American Heart Association

If you were responsible for securing a brand positioning for SUBWAY as the healthy fast food option, you would no doubt be grateful for your company's long-term partnership with the American Heart Association. The company's logo appears front and center on the Heart Association's website, most Best Buy recyclingrecently (June 2012) when it was announced that the Subway restaurant chain would be the first to display the association's Heart-Check Meal Certification logo next to certain selected meals.

Building Traffic: Best Buy & e-cycle

“No matter where you bought it, we’ll recycle it” is the headline on Best Buy's e-cycle website with information on recycling old, unused or unwanted consumer electronics including computers, keyboards, monitors, cell phones, TVs, and more.

Best Buy's 2011 Sustainability Report highlights the impact of their global sustainability strategies including the outcome that they collected 83 million pounds of consumer electronics and 73 million pounds of old appliances, averaging 387 pounds of e-waste each minute in U.S. Best Buy stores.  Although they don't report on the traffic and sales these customer contacts generated, it would be substantial, as those bringing their used and unwanted items in were likely looking for replacements.

Improving Profits: Allstate & Teen Pledging Not to Text and Drive

Given the statistics that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the number one killer of U.S. teenagers, it might not be surprising to find that Allstate Insurance is interested in influencing safer teen driving. Messages on Allstate's website impress parents with the Allstate and teen pledging not to text and drivetragic facts that nearly 11 teens die in car crashes every day, and nearly 1,000 more are injured. 

Allstate's social marketing effort encourages teens and their families to pledge not to text and drive.  The movement began in November 2009, with every participant pledging receiving a thumb band with the words TXTNG KLLS, to wear as a daily reminder of their commitment.

 Two years after its launch, Allstate had received more than 250,000 “X the TXT” pledges.

To garner maximum marketing benefits, a corporate social marketing campaign should target behaviors that directly relate to one or more of the company's products or services. And as these campaigns increasingly leave their positive mark on society, from reducing heart attacks to landfills to traffic fatalities, the lingering issue of whether it's somehow wrong to gain a competitive edge from a social issue will lose steam.

About the Author:

Nancy Lee is President of Social Marketing Services, Inc., adjunct faculty at the University of Washington, co-author of Good Works! Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World and the Bottom Line (Wiley 2012), and co-author (with Professor Philip Kotler) of nine other books.


Three Types of Marketing Initiatives That Do Well by Doing Good

Cause vs. Marketing: Good Works! (If Done Right)

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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