University of Michigan Ross School of Business

The 3 Cs of Positive Cause Marketing: Company, Cause and Customer

Cause marketing, in which companies donate part of the proceeds from sales of certain products to a specified cause, is now a strategy adopted by hundreds of companies, selling coffee to cars. The strategy is presumably adopted to help the causes and to increase sales for the companies. A few well-known examples of cause marketing include: Project Red involving companies such as Gap Inc., Motorola, Apple, Converse, Dell, Microsoft, American Express, to raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and Snapple’s SNAP 2.0 bottled water sales to help build playgrounds in poor communities. However, not all cause marketing necessarily helps the cause. Recent research points to some ways in which cause marketing can actually hurt the causes or hurt consumers. We will discuss some of this research and also discuss ways in which to practice more positive cause marketing which helps the company, the cause and the customer.

Speaker: Aradhna Krishna 

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