Cause Marketing

More and more, corporate giving is no longer just giving for giving’s sake.  In a new normal in which every dollar spent needs to generate some return, corporate giving must also be a marketing platform that places a halo on the brand in the eyes of consumers.

Nice Work’s deep connections in the non-profit world, combined with our expertise in creating and executing long-form, broadcast storytelling, means we can work directly with brands to cull the stories out of their current community outreach endeavors, or work with cause marketers to help make new connections that can have the maximum marketing impact.

The idea is to create multiple wins:  The non-profit organization gains resources.  The company’s employees experience heightened morale.  The corporation resides in a strengthened community.  And the brand gains exposure and the kind of esteem that traditional advertising can never generate.

If you’re the company or a cause marketing professional, Nice Work can help you transform outreach into stories that work across multiple platforms—broadcast, online, mobile devices, social media, and on-site.

Here’s How It Works:

EXAMPLE:  Hands On Michigan:  The Governor’s Service Awards

1. Creative Concept

To promote volunteerism, every year the State of Michigan hands out the Governor’s Service Awards (GSAs).  When the State wanted to upgrade the ceremony, they hired us to produce videos to demonstrate the great work the award winners were performing in communities throughout the state.  We told them the stories would make a fantastic statewide broadcast special, and they empowered us to match a corporate sponsor to the content, and to figure out distribution.

2. Matching Companies with Causes

In the case of Hands On Michigan, the corporate partner was right under our noses.  Masco Corporation (a Fortune 500 company that owns many consumer brands) already sponsored the GSAs, and was an active in community engagement and outreach.

But when we met with them, our first goal was to shut up, listen, and identify their needs.

Sure enough, Masco had a specific goal: As corporate partners with the national service organization Hands On Network, they wanted to lay the groundwork for establishing a Michigan affiliate.  Could we build an awareness piece out of our material?  Masco invited Home Depot to join the party, and we were off and running.

3. Distribution

The goal of our corporate partners was to create awareness of Hands On Network in Michigan in order to help establish an affiliate in the state.  To that end, we created a multi-tiered distribution strategy:

Phase 1:  Broadcast

Since consumers of public broadcasting are inclined toward community engagement, we arranged a statewide simulcast on all seven of Michigan’s PBS affiliates, with an exclusive three-week window to encourage repeat airings.

Phase 2:  Cable

After the PBS-exclusive window closed, we delivered the show to Comcast, who distributed the program to local origination channels throughout the state for even more repeats.  All messaging assets were hardwired to the show and were seen every time the show was broadcast.

Phase 3:  Modular content

Commercial-free environments such as PBS need content to fill the gaps between programs.  So we created branded interstitial spots from individual stories in the show that continued to air in all dayparts on PBS stations across the state months after the original broadcast.  We also delivered all the modular content to Hands On Network for use on their website.

4. Cause Marketing Assets

The cause branding elements were baked right into the show.

Many of those elements look similar to traditional branded entertainment, such as program entitlement and a CEO or founder greeting.

Based on the sponsor’s needs, we also created calls to action that were sprinkled throughout the show.  To make sure the calls to action wouldn’t be perceived as “commercial interruptions,” we made them look a lot like the rest of the show, with Hands On founder Michelle Nunn on a volunteer work site getting her own hands dirty while she delivered a message to register for the new Michigan affiliate.