Procter & Gamble Understands The Value Of Cause Marketing Better Than Anyone

By Lesa Ukman Jan 9, 2012

Jerry Welsh introduced the term cause related marketing—a strategy he created while EVP of worldwide marketing at American Express—at the second annual IEG Sponsorship Conference in 1985. It was a big idea made even bigger by the results he shared from the credit card company’s first two cause campaigns: a Chicago pilot with the Lincoln Park Zoo and a national promotion tied to the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. Both outperformed anything American Express had ever done.

Jerry’s idea—link nonprofit donations to desired consumer behavior—spread like wildfire across categories and around the world. However, even though today’s initiatives are more integrated, more viral and more social than they were three decades ago, innovation in this space is rare.

One notable exception: Procter & Gamble. P&G’s global marketing and brand building officer Marc Pritchard—who will be a keynoter at the 2012 IEG ConferenceLeap: How Top Brands Are Transforming Sponsorship— says that building brands and serving a higher purpose produce more sustainable business results.

"The biggest challenge our industry faces now is how we rethink concepts of branding,” Pritchard has said. “We must change from marketing to consumers to serving our consumers."

Every P&G brand is now being defined by a purpose that transcends its brand attributes. For example, Pampers partners with UNICEF to provide vaccines in 47 countries to eradicate neo-natal tetanus. Tide’s Loads of Hope brings clean clothes to areas around the globe that have been devastated by natural disasters.
Both Pampers and Tide are delivering double-digit sales growth.  

The link between improving lives and increased loyalty and profits is the topic of Grow, a new book by Marc’s predecessor at P&G, Jim Stengel.

The book documents that those who center their business on improving people’s lives have a growth rate triple that of competitors and outperform the market by a huge margin. They dominate their categories, create new categories and maximize profit long-term.

Pulling from a 10-year study involving 50,000 brands, Grow shows how the world's 50 best businesses—including Red Bull, Petrobras, Samsung, and Visa—have a cause-and-effect relationship between financial performance and their ability to connect with fundamental human emotions, hopes, values and greater purposes.

A 10-year investment made in “The Stengel 50” in 2000 would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500. 

In addition to stock performance, Stengel and his research partners used neuroscience research to measure subconscious attitudes toward the 50 brands and found they were more associated with higher ideals than were other companies.

The power of these findings makes it a very happy new year for everyone in sponsorship.


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