SBD/May 31, 2012/Events and Attractions

Company Execs Discuss Cause Marketing At Intersport Activation Summit

Cause marketing is still marketing, and even a charitable mission has to match the mission of the brand, said panelists in the final session of day one of the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit. “I need something that will help me drive our brand’s mission, return on investment and, more importantly, just selling policies,” said Allstate Senior Dir of Integrated Marketing Communications Pam Hollander. Amy Skeen, CEO of Chicago-based Girls in the Game, said that on the charity side, any partnership needs to be about alignment and seeing beyond the sports and fitness part of the brand. Larry Lane, vice president of corporate relations for The V Foundation, said the company looks for partners that meet three criteria: raising awareness of the brand, creating opportunities and driving revenue. The panelists discussed the importance of defining expectations early in relationships. Hollander said companies that approach Allstate about creating a partnership need to “know our brand, know what we stand for.” Hollander: “So often we get pitched about what we can do to take advantage of what they have to offer. I need someone to tell us what they can give me that can further my business.” First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow Jr. said it is imperative for companies to see the charity be run as a business for the investment to pay dividends. “Every year we reported exactly where we were (with reaching our goals),” he said. “The fact that we were out there and the fact that we were reporting and meeting and exceeding our objectives gave us credibility as a business.” He said organizations respect not-for-profits that are run like a business. Barrow: “That relationship will grow because they will invest deeper into the organizations that are performing and meeting the very specific objectives that you set.”

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** Hollander said she looks for a charity that is “willing to go the extra mile and show me that measurement” that demonstrates a partnership was successful and worthy of renewal. Hollander: “So often we support an organization and they expect us to do our own measurement to kind of prove back to them why it worked for our branding. I want the organization to show me why they think the dollars I’ve spent with them move the needle.”

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