|In my last blog post, I covered some recent findings regarding the evolution of trust and authenticity (a word I see connected to cause alliance work more and more frequently). A critical part of creating authenticity is around engaging your target audience. It’s not just about what you think should be done, but engaging those who are either the recipients of the work or those who are helping to get the work done. Many organizations say they don’t have the funds to conduct research, but not having insights into your audience is the fastest way to waste money on a program you think works, but doesn’t speak to the audience.|
Here are two organizations that are doing a great job in creating a feedback-loop among two core audiences: customers and employees. Embedding a feedback loop into the process is a critical aspect to creating an authentic cause initiative that will successfully grow and evolve over time.
Best Buy’s @15:Engaging Teens
I like what Best Buy is doing around its @15 initiative, which is geared toward teens. Best Buy conducted research into their audience. They conducted research to determine what teens believe, want and think of the world before they launched @15. But, they didn’t stop there, they continue to engage those who sign up for the program. In fact, when a well-known manufacturer came to them and said they wanted to test a new product design to determine which styles teens would like est, Best Buy’s response was on the money. Basically, they said:Sure, we’ll help you, BUT you have to listen to what the teens say. If they tell you that they like or don’t like something you need to respond to that feedback accordingly. Teens are pretty skeptical and Best Buy doesn’t want to tarnish its image or relationship with this group by not being authentic and trustworthy. Of course, I think the initiative provides a variety of interesting programs for they tell Best Buy where to allocate those resources. If you work with teens, you should check it out.
Kraft Foods:Engaging Employees
Nicole Robinson, director of community involvement for Kraft Foods, recently provided insights into how Kraft embeds employee engagement into its community outreach efforts. Here are a few tips that stood out to me:
- Identify the Match: The goal is to find an authentic match between the company’s mission, employees’ skills and community needs. When this happens, you make an impact on a community and employees feel good about what they do and who they work for.
- Identify Good Partners: Work with good partners (nonprofit organizations) and listen to what they say. They are on-the ground and know what is most needed.
- Recruit Evangelists: You can’t do it all alone, so enlist help. Kraft leverages a variety of community champions to lead the charge locally. This group also serves as the feedback loop for idea generation and feedback. And, Kraft provides incentives to this group also, showing that community involvement is just as important as other aspects of the business.
To read more about how Kraft Foods is engaging it’s employees, check this out: Cause Marketing: Five Tips For Mobilizing Employees
In a recent e-blast to Cause Marketing Forum members, David Hessekiel also talks about the need for cause marketers to utilize research and stakeholder feedback more consistently and strategically. He mentioned Groupon’s ill-conceived SuperBowl ads as an example of the high price that can be paid for not understanding the target audience. In contrast, he listed Pepsi’s Refresh campaign and eBay Giving Works as examples illustrating the huge dividends that research and ongoing analysis can achieve.