By Allison McGuire | @CaliMcG

While consumers say they prefer brands that give back and support social and environmental causes, sometimes their actions don’t match up to support that idea.


Check out Cone’s terrific chart that denotes the gap between ideals and action:

Cone Communications Social Impact Study 2013 - Proclamations v. Actions

What might surprise you is the highest percentage of actions taken to support values is donating.


Keep reading...

We're pleased to bring you our top 10 blog posts of 2013!


#9: THINKTOPIA on Brand Relevance


ThinktopiaPatrick Hanlon, Founder and CEO of THINKTOPIA®—an innovative branding, marketing, consulting, and advertising firm—has the secret to brand relevance. Fortunately for us, he’s willing to share.


Q: What are the top 3 things brands must do in 2013 to be relevant to consumers?


A: First, be meaningful. And I don’t mean that in the ordinary, trite way. Real meaning comes from surrounding your company, your product or service, your community, with a system of belief that fundamentally attracts people and entices them to opt in to your community. This means that your brand narrative—how you string together the beads of your brand’s story, (why/how you started, where you’re from, what you believe in, what you don’t believe in, how you are used, how you describe yourself, what you are not and never want to become, and who is leading the enterprise) is critical. Not only will this keep your brand relevant, it will help your brand remain meaningful to consumers and your brand community. Most importantly, it will help keep it from becoming meaningless.  There is no second or third thing, this is the primary thing. 


Bite-Sized Snacks of Good

by Network for Good Specialist ‎12-04-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Allison McGuire | @CaliMcG


Customers are fickle. They want companies to communicate the impact they’re making but feel overwhelmed by messages of good (think: weariness over pink-washing and green-washing).


You can capitalize on this fickleness by providing bite-sized chunks of good spreading your social message. Check out Cone Communications' research on the most effective ways to communicate social and environmental impact. While social media may seem small at 7%, when added together, online and mobile channels comprise 22%.


Cone Communications Social Impact Study 2013 - Effective Ways to Communicate with Consumers

Here are some examples of companies showcasing bites of good online:


Annie’s: Cheddar bunnies, mac & cheese, and…community gardens? Peppering ways to interact with the company’s “nourishing communities” is an Annie’s specialty. One way the company does this is via its crowdfunded, school-garden-building campaign.


Keep reading...

By Allison McGuire | @CaliMcG


In 1993 Cone Communications began tracking attitudes around cause marketing and the intersection between business and social good. Its latest social impact study, The Next Cause Evolution, has some juicy conscious consumerism tidbits and trends.


Cone Communications Social Impact Study 2013 - 5 Guiding PrinciplesYou should definitely read the report in its entirety—it’s very skim-able—but here are some of the key highlights if you’re short on time.


An affiliation with cause doesn’t does it differentiate your brand; social good is expected; social impact is the new standard. If your company thinks its CSR communications job is complete because of a one-off giving campaign or food drive, think again.


 Keep reading...

By Allison McGuire | @CaliMcG


If you’ve ever downloaded one of our eGuides**, you’ve likely received an email asking for more information about your company’s dedication to employee engagement and cause.


Carlo Epps of GreenMouse Recycling—an e-waste recycling company based in Silicon Valley—responded to that note, sharing his company’s dedication to cause.


Check out our conversation below.


GreenMouse Recycles More than ElectronicsAM: From where did GreenMouse Recycling’s charitable spirit emanate?


CE: Our President, Evelyn O’Donnell, began GreenMouse with the vision of creating [a business] opportunity for her developmentally disabled daughter Briana.


As the business grew, the vision…began to evolve into a way of giving back and creating solidarity within the community. What began as a company created for the purpose of creating a job has now become a company that’s purpose is to create jobs for at-risk people from all different segments of the population.   


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CSR: American as Apple Pie

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎07-03-2013 3:00 AM, EDT

By Allison McGuire | @Calimcg


This is a continuation of a post on Cone Communications and Echo Global’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) study.


Patriotic pie via PinterestNot only does this study explore the relationship between companies, consumers, and cause, but it also gives critical insight into global consumption behavior, provides profiles of consumers, showcases individual countries, and recommends ways companies can engage with consumers to foster loyal, trustworthy brands.


American as apple pie. Noting that the U.S. “pioneered broad-based philanthropy,” Cone states Americans are almost twice as likely as global peers to look to companies to focus on making donations.


 Keep reading...

High Expectations, Forgivable Offenses

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎07-02-2013 3:00 AM, EDT

By Allison McGuire | @Calimcg


Cone/Echo Global CSR StudyCone Communications and Echo Global’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) study is an eagerly anticipated report that explores global consumption, and how it relates to philanthropy.


Not only does this study explore the relationship between companies, consumers, and cause, but it also gives critical insight into global consumption behavior, provides profiles of consumers, showcases individual countries, and recommends ways companies can engage with consumers to foster loyal, trustworthy brands.


The report opens with this:


The question is not whether companies will engage in corporate social responsibility, but how they will create real and meaningful impact. Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option — it is emphatically and indisputably a must-do.’


Here are some of the main lessons learned from the study. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and download the report in its entirety.


Keep reading...

By Allison McGuire @Calimcg


This is a continuation of a blog post on how The Container Store unpacks employee engagement.


Container Store employeesThe Container Store offers sustainable, lasting products. We were able to chat with Audrey Robertson, VP of cultural programs, community relations, and social media, about the company’s digital and cultural impact programs.


While The Container Store does great community outreach and disaster relief work, what surprised us most in this interview was the company’s laser focus on its employees.


Here are the ways The Container Store prioritizes its workforce:


Employees first. 


No HR needed. 

Recession-proof strategy. 

Conscious capitalists.


Keep reading for the details on how The Container Store puts its values to work...

‘Good’ Consumption Grows

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎05-16-2013 3:00 AM, EDT

By Allison McGuire | @Calimcg


You can read our COO/CSO Katya Andresen’s take on this data here.


Here’s a headline I like reading: Consumers Care about Buying from Socially Responsible Brands Now More Than Ever. It’s some good news from my favorite print magazine, Fast Company.


Good.Must.Grow., a socially responsible marketing company, recently conducted a poll of 1,015 Americans around conscious consumerism, and the results are encouraging. In 2011, 18% reported buying from socially responsible companies. In 2012, that number jumped to 30% saying they plan to purchase more goods from these companies.


What’s perhaps most interesting is that while 31% said they sought out socially responsible companies, 25% said they “avoided buying products from a company specifically because it wasn’t socially responsible”.


Good.Must.Grow. data


 Keep reading...

By Allison McGuire | @Calimcg


Soon-to-be college graduates Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez learned how gourmet mushrooms could be grown out of recycled coffee grounds. The idea – intriguing if nothing else – made them think: Should they forgo stable careers in the banking world for innovative entrepreneurship in the…mushroom world?


As you might have guessed, the answer is yes.


Back to the RootsIf you can believe it, initial interest from Whole Foods and Chez Panisse, along with a grant from their university, gave them the courage to create Back to the Roots—turning Arora and Velez into “full time urban mushroom farmers”.


Their mission is simple: To make food personal again through the passionate development of tools that educate and inspire, one family at a time.


As are their values: Hustle. Passion. Family. Universal Happiness.


 Keep reading...


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Companies for Good shares insights on cause marketing and corporate social responsibility topics to inform your charitable engagement with consumers and employees. Network for Good empowers corporate partners to unleash generosity and advance good causes. The blog celebrates that work and provides expertise and resources to help you do well and do good. Learn more

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