A company that shares its revenue, influence and resources with those who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances is practising the art of being a contributing corporate citizen. “It’s a natural extension of an individual’s efforts to support personal charitable causes,” says Noelene Kotschan, Managing Director of Sho-Sho-Lo-Za Marketing.
This empowering tool has reached a point of refinement in contemporary marketing practices and has become an essential component in the marketing mix used to maintain a company’s profile. More recently identified as “Cause Related Marketing”, it is now a term that most suitably defines its role in corporate social investment, a discipline that covers a company’s social responsibility.
An example of this would be the Shavathon campaign managed by Sho-Sho-Lo-Za Marketing from conception to 2008 for the purpose of increasing cancer awareness among South Africans. The involvement of cooperating organisations in this campaign allowed for thousands of cancer patients to benefit from this initiative. “Breast Cancer Fundraisers”, “More Balls than Most” and “Show Your Hands, Show Your Heart” campaigns also fit into the paradigm of “Cause Related Marketing.”
This type of marketing is based on the idea that a solid partnership exists between a corporate and a non-profit partner each offering something to the other with substantial benefits. When a non-profit organisation selects you as a potential partner because of your natural affinity with what they do, the result can be added revenue, increased media exposure, public relations opportunities or a combination of all three for both partners.
As a corporate partner you have to think about the type of cause you want to support and which non-profit initiative shares the same values and objectives as you. Both corporate and non-profit collaborators have to understand each other’s business goals and ambitions. Understanding the relationship between the corporate and the cause is a critical merge that Sho-Sho-Lo-Za Marketing has mastered on behalf of its clients and those corporations it approaches to adopt the cause.
One of the cornerstones of success is for those involved in the cause to understand business principles and how they work. Another is following classic account management principles with dedicated administration managed by the non-profit partner. Initially it is not a good idea to accept any written proposals from the cause partner as you will first need to gain clarity on what they want to achieve and ultimately buy into their vision before supporting a cause they feel strongly about.
First meetings are best dedicated to giving your cause partner as much information about your needs. Next, with your cooperation as a committed partner, a working document is drawn up giving you a sense of ownership in the project, something to feel proud about. According to Noelene, the corporate partner should be doing most of the talking while the cause partner does the listening and note taking. In time this insight will help the non-profit partner to make intelligent suggestions on how a relationship can work.
“Cause Related Marketing” takes time, it’s like planned giving - requiring an enormous initial effort without necessarily producing immediate results. Some projects have taken between one to four years to come to fruition. In addition, other successful components that Sho-Sho-Lo-Za Marketing support are; relationship management, ensuring that the cause partner is involved in the corporation’s business strategy and most importantly – delivery.
One of its current projects is the Mobile Breast Check and Educational Unit programme, which is a mobile mammography screening facility providing education on the topic of breast cancer. This initiative funded by Pfizer Foundation and Pfizer South Africa works in collaborating with community clinics to educate women on breast cancer, associated cultural stigma issues and the benefits of early detection. Patients are also referred to the nearest local clinics should further examination be required.
According to statistics, cancer accounts for one in eight deaths globally and an estimated 80 percent of deaths will occur in developing countries that are least prepared to address their growing cancer burden. It is for this reason that the mobile breast check and educational units provide accessible assistance and education to all South African’s in dealing with a disease that can be beaten. As part of the programme the focus is on the development of a statistical database to improve notification for breast cancer. In the highly educated and medically insured environment women are flooded with breast health messages that are often ignored.
Noelene says, “Many women have a lack of understanding of the disease which leads to social stigma and many simply do not listen for the call to action to have mammograms and routine checks”. By providing a convenient service to the communities that urgently need the support, they are making a difference in the lives of many women. The pink mobile mammography truck travels the country providing educational sessions on self-examination and breast health awareness carrying AV equipment that provides visual aid in all vernacular languages.
The project has already had amazing support within the public and corporate sectors for screening. Its aim is to educate 10,000 women annually on self-examination for earlier diagnosis. In conclusion it can be said that the focus of “Cause Related Marketing” is to create, build and manage a campaign for a period of time and then hand over sustainable CSI projects to corporates. Your involvement in cause related marketing is essential to socio-economic development and the uplifting of the community.