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Domenick Celentano

Food and Beverage Brands - Social Marketing as Walmart Partners with Treasure Coast Food Bank

By July 26, 2011

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Treasure Coast Food BankFood and Beverage Brands - Add Social Marketing to Help Non Profit Causes

Do Good and Do Well - Can your food and beverage brand combine both for profitability and social good?

"If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime."

We all have heard this repeatedly. The essence is this: teach someone how to do something vs. give them something.

Cause Branding has many names; cause related marketing, social marketing, social cause marketing, social management... the list goes on.

What is Cause Related Marketing

The essence of cause related marketing (social marketing) - cause branding helps convert new customers and gets your brand above the noise. Cone LLC research, Cause Marketing Remains Strong: 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study indicates consumers feel cause branding is most important in the food and beverage market. Over 80% of consumers are likely to switch to a brand that supports a social cause.

Consumers align with brands the practice cause related marketing since it gives one the satisfaction of helping others very easily. Brands like cause related marketing because it is an effective way getting the brand "above the noise". (Noise is a term for all of the marketing communications one is exposed to daily)

Brands Embrace Cause Related Marketing

Brands embrace social marketing in a big way: American companies spent an estimated $1.3 billion on cause marketing last year, 20 percent more than the year before. That is serious money.

One of the most well known social marketing branding efforts is Ready? Set. Go! Pepsi Refresh Project 2011! Pepsi donates millions of dollars each month to fund what they call "refreshing ideas that change the world, one community at a time." Is this enough? No.

Cause Marketing - Lack of Engagement

My issue with cause related marketing it is just too easy to find a cause, create a short term social marketing campaign to attract followers, calculate the dollars raised and send the check to the cause. The level of commitment is transactional, meaning it just relates to the number of products sold times the amount donated per transaction. It is easy to write a check and much harder to be fully engaged.

I participated in a conference sponsored by The New York Times and About.com, Online Cause Marketing: Promoting Your Brand Through Social Good. Transactional cause related marketing has a lack of engagement and Sean Steinmarc of psGive.org agreed.

Engagement to me means adding to the human capital of the cause... teaching them how they can create more efficient organizations and learn how to generate their own revenue streams, the later is called earned revenue. Why can't corporations add their knowledge, skills and experiences to charitable efforts and go beyond the transaction?

Walmart and Treasure Coast - Perfect Together

Well that is exactly what happened at the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce Florida. The food bank was serving 42,000 meals per week in 2009. The economic downturn was required more meals per week and Judith Cruz, executive director, needed help from a company that really knew logistics.

Walmart is the retail logistics expert globally so Ms. Cruz called Walmart for help. So Walmart sent a distribution team into the Treasure Coast Food Bank working their logistics magic increasing meals per week to over 100,000! Do you think it was easier for Walmart to just write them a check? Probably? Sending in people vs. checks requires a greater level of engagement... social management. Needless to say, the facts bear out the success of Walmarts efforts in social management.

Do Good and Do Well

Doing Good and Doing Well is the mantra of social responsibility(social management). Here is a perfect implementation of the principle.

Cause Related Marketing - Provide Relevance and Value

Walmart is the number 1 retailer of food and beverages in the US and much of the value the provide to consumers of food and beverages comes from their expertise in squeezing fractions of a penny out of the consumer packaged goods supply chain. So it is very relevant for Walmart to be helping an organization that is battling hunger.

Cause Branding -  Tips for Food Entrepreneurs

The Walmart / Treasure Coast association is an example you might want to consider in incorporating  "doing good and doing well" into a new product launch.  You can't do this on the Walmart scale but you could do it locally? Or maybe regionally?

There are plenty of food banks and other organizations serving people who are in need. Some are small and some are large. They have all of the same needs as a business. If you are already in business, then you know something that you can impart on a non-profit

Community Food Bank

organization to help them feed more people.

Social Marketing Examples for Food Entrepreneurs

OK, here are 3 cause social marketing examples:

  • If the organization in your area prepares food, as many food banks soup kitchens do, teach them better ways to prepare and preserve their food.
  • Teach them about best practices you have learned that can save them money.
  • Maybe you can teach them to develop products that they can sell at extremely low costs to families struggling to provide affordable, healthy meals. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey does this with their Family Meals Program.


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