Cause Marketing Forum offer so many industry resources, including an occasional series featuring cause marketing and corporate cause alliance highlights from around the globe with CMF Global Voices. Having just returned from a 12-day UK trip, I was surprised at how prevalent cause alliances were and I thought it would be fun to share a couple examples with you in this cause-travelogue mashup. As a side note, if you’re thinking about a Great Britain holiday, I highly recommend working with Helen at Great British Escapes They created a fantastic, custom-made itinerary covering the Lake District, Northumberland, Edinburgh, Cairngorms National Park and Aberdeen. Little did they know they also provided much-appreciated fodder for my ‘What I Did on My Summer Vacation” blog post!
#1 EXPERIENTIAL, ENGAGING AND IMPACT – WAITROSE “COMMUNITY MATTERS”
On our way to meet friends in Hexham, one of England’s favorite and more prosperous market towns, we stopped at a nice upmarket grocery called Waitrose. At checkout, there was a small box of bright green tokens. After I paid for my purchases (which included a picnic cooler and a couple bags of ice, it was unseasonably warm during our visit!) the clerk handed me a token and pointed to a big plexi-glass bin.
Located near the store entrance, I saw a collection unit with three separate sections filled with green Waitrose tokens at varying levels. At the top of each section were brief stories of three local charities – I selected the one on the far right. I selected the Tynnedale Ladies Football Club, which was hands down ahead of the other two causes. Every month, £1,000 is donated by each of the 300 Waitrose branches and shared between three good causes in their local communities.
The more tokens a cause gets, the bigger the donation they receive.
The Waitrose Community Matters scheme of giving consumers tokens at checkout is a beautiful example of effective cause activation. It is simple, immediately rewarding, engaging, and experiential.
Upon investigating, I learned that Waitrose is the food retail division of Britain’s largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. As a Top 5 grocery retailer in the UK, they differentiate themselves by championing operating in the “British” way. This includes “long-term relationships with farmers/local suppliers, treating people fairly and treading lightly on the environment”. In addition to local in-store cause activation, every three months their online food delivery division, www.waitrose.com, shares aCommunity Matters donation of £25,000 between three national charities that online shoppers vote for at checkout. Making a huge impact in hundreds of UK communities, Community Matters has donated nearly £14 million to 38,000 local charities chosen by their consumers since 2008. This effort earned the prestigious Big Society Award from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Recent cause-marketing extensions include the impressive Community Matters Partner Volunteer support program and Grow and Sell, a new initiative rolled out in 2013 aimed at encouraging children to grow their own produce and then sell it in front of some of the 300 Waitrose locations.
But it doesn’t stop there! Making good on their brand promise to treat people fairly and tread lightly, a partnership was formed through the Waitrose Foundation to help improve the lives of farm workers and build sustainable relationships with small land holders and produce suppliers in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. That’s a powerful green token.
#2 SPONSORSHIP – HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND AND HEXHAM ABBEY
In the heart of Hexham is Hexham Abbey, 647 AD, a living parish that survived marauding Vikings from 1300+ years ago. We were given a lovely tour including a special viewing of St. Wilfrid’s 7th century crypt which, surprisingly, was built by recycling stones from a 3rd century Roman Fort located a few miles down the road.
Set to open sometime this year, a new permanent exhibition will bring to life the stories of medieval pagans who walked many miles to see this great stone church and observe the holy relics purported to be contained within.
You can imagine my surprise to learn that this redevelopment effort is being funding through the National Lottery! In the UK, the Heritage Lottery Fund provides grants intended to create a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities.
After a bit of digging, I learned the goal is to restore Hexham Abbey’s historic monastic site and re-establish the important role the Abbey plays in the community with restored spaces for both religious and secular groups to reflect, learn plus celebrate and enjoy.
I hope to return to see this magnificent place again.
#3 TRANSACTIONAL PORTION OF PROCEEDS – BROUGHTON ALES AND CLIC SARGENT
Our custom-designed itinerary included several spots for ale and whisky-tasting, which of course, we supplemented with a few finds of our own! While walking through Scotland’s capital Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburrah) toward the Royal Yacht Brittania, we stopped for lunch at a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) recommendation. This particular pub felt more like a family restaurant, large, clean, moderately priced and filled with retirees in the middle of the day.
Ordering at the bar, I noticed one ale pump promotion for Broughton Ale Run DMC, an exclusive golden and fruity pale ale raising £10,000 for charity CLIC Sargent via a cause marketing proceeds arrangement. For each pint purchased, Broughton Ale will donate 7 pence (to an individual named Duncan McSporran or DMC who was pub-running the equivalent of five marathons) to support CLIC Sargent, a leading UK cancer charity for children, young people and their families. I was surprised to stumble upon yet another great example of a cause promotion, this one with a specialty product, multiple social media integrations such as a text-to-donate option, a justgiving.com page and more.
What struck me about this cause alliance was the perfect brand alignment between Broughton Ales, the aforementioned family audience we found at the pub and a relevant local charity focused on the tragic impact cancer has on young families. One of the first microbrews in Scotland, Broughton Ales prides itself on using locally sourced water and the finest malts and hops resulting in each of their beers demonstrating the “utmost quality, character and tradition”. A fitting partner in the fight against children’s cancer.
I hope these examples inspire you as they did me. In closing, I leave you with one final photo from “My Summer Vacation.” Let me know if your travels uncovered a creative cause alliance you’d like to share.