All for the Cause

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“‘Consumers are expecting companies to act socially responsible,’ [Carol] Cone says. ‘Companies have to connect in a new way to consumers, in a way that is emotional, that is sustainable, that is credible.’ Cone argues that companies need to provide a warm, more ‘human’ feeling. ‘In order to connect with their stakeholders, employees, or consumers, they’re going to have to embrace a cause or a series of causes,’ she predicts . . . Cone feels that donating a percentage of revenue to charity is insufficient to impress consumers in the long run. ‘That’s not enough,’ Cone insists. ‘Because you know what? Every site is going to have that.’ Instead, she says, companies need to go beyond short-term, sales-driven cause marketing to ’cause branding,’ a strategic, stakeholder-based approach to integrating social issues into business strategy, brand equity, and organizational identity. ‘Cause branding is creating a signature, ownable, sustainable program. It’s much, much deeper than a quick click,’ she says.”

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