Sunday, November 21, 2010

Urban Influencer 360 Panel Series: Community Installment

This week was non-stop with events after-work, and one of the more interesting panels was the Urban Influencer 360 panel on 11/16. The main topic was how brands could engage urban culture to affect change and deliver impactful cause/community marketing programs.

I don't have all of the names but representatives were in attendance from the following organizations:

3) The Rush Philanthropic Foundation
6) Egami Consulting

Moderator: Jeff Johnson -Jeff Johnson is a Washington, DC based award-winning journalist, social activist and political commentator.

This was a timely and relvant discussion, considering the Pepsi Refresh project and how they have used Cause Marketing as a strategy in their Marketing and Advertising. Cause Marketing is becoming a bigger topic and some interesting stats and trends were shared including the following:

1) 85% of brands that have a cause marketing strategy saw a 15% lift in sales
2) 92% of Americans would switch to a brand that because it has a cause marketing campaign and affiliation
3) the lack of a Cause Marketing Campaign can be a brand differentiators in a negative way if a brand doesn't have an association with a cause
4) Brands are harnessing the power of Social Media to engage Consumers in their Cause Marketing initiatives

Of course, the key points in the discussion was about relevancy and how social media has been used to generate success in cause marketing campaigns, particularly when using FB and Twitter.

For example, how do brands choose a cause that is relevant to them and how do they then engage the consumers to get involved? The brand reps overall seemed to insist that there needs to be a hook that gets consumers involved via social media platforms. One idea was to identify the brand's emotional and functional point of difference and the brand's assets. They think consumers engage with the brand's cause because they want to feel like they are making the difference-ie. Pepsi Refresh. Social Media allows consumers to show their support for the brand and also for the cause the brand is associated with among their social network. It shows what consumers stand for.

They also discussed tactics such as crowd-sourcing and how to use it as a tactic to engage consumers. The overall commentary was to use it carefully, but it is a good idea to think about how the online component will feed into the offline component.

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