BEST PRACTICES IN CAUSE-BRANDING

BOSTON -- Cone Inc., a strategic philanthropy consultancy that develops and implements cause programs to deepen relationships between companies and their stakeholders, encourages marketers to take cause-related marketing to the next level: cause-branding. "Sophisticated companies will move beyond merely writing checks and doing short-term, cause-related promotions to creating deeper social commitments.

BOSTON -- Cone Inc., a strategic philanthropy consultancy that develops and implements cause programs to deepen relationships between companies and their stakeholders, encourages marketers to take cause-related marketing to the next level: cause-branding. "Sophisticated companies will move beyond merely writing checks and doing short-term, cause-related promotions to creating deeper social commitments. These activities should be long-term, credible and integrated into companies' overall business strategy, and they should involve consumers, employees and communities," said Carol Cone, chief executive officer, Cone.

The company has just issued a list of post-Sept. 11 cause-branding actions that marketing can take. Among them:

Recognize that it is appropriate -- even preferred -- that you support social issues unrelated to the national tragedy.

Assess and refine your current giving efforts so that they are relevant to your business, your customers and your employees.

Concentrate a focused portion of your resources and efforts on a single, "ownable" issue so that you can "stand for something."

Rally senior executives who are dedicated to making a sincere commitment and using a variety of financial and human resources to support a comprehensive program.

Create a brand identity for your program, incorporating creative, unique and relevant elements that complement and enhance your brand equity.

Find real needs in your local community.