David Milliken's Brand Marketing Blog

Three Cheerios to Great Cause Marketing

Posted in Cause marketing, Packaging by dlmilli on August 2, 2010

Speaking of cause marketing, here is a promotion I like: Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts.

Cheerios "Helping Hearts" Microsite

What I like about “Helping Hearts” is its complete consistency with the Cheerios brand positioning. For years they have communicated Cheerios as a heart healthy breakfast option. So their charity of choice? WomanHeart, “the organization helping us provide women with free cholesterol screenings. They even went so far as to find “the only national organization dedicated to promoting women’s heart health”, maximizing appeal with their target shopper.

The cereal boxes say it all, this promotion is consistent with previous Cheerios messaging. Seamlessly tying “doing good” with brand positioning is a strong step towards consumers associating Cheerios with heart health.

Series of Cheerios "Heart" Boxes

Cheerio for now.

Cause Marketing, or Marketing with a Cause

Posted in Cause marketing, Planning by dlmilli on July 26, 2010

I had an incredible lunch today. And it was not about the food (which was good), it was because the company was inspiring. Lunch was with Janelle Hail, CEO and Founder of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Neal, her husband and Co-Founder, and sons Brent (VP of Operations) and Kevin (Chief Operating Officer).

My brand is collaborating with a major restaurant reservations website this October to raise funds for the NBCF. Today’s meeting was partially a mutual thank you, but also the opportunity to meet the personalities behind each organization and determine how to grow the relationship. I had similar meetings when I teamed with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while working on Coors Light (I am proud to have played a role in raising over $1 million in the battle against pediatric diseases).

Most brands, mine included, pick their charities wisely. Our target consumer is 25-50 year old females – the demographic most concerned with the tragedies of breast cancer. So it is understandable that consumers can feel brands are only “doing good” for themselves.

But this meeting was an extraordinary reminder that, yes, working with a charity can build a brand AND be an authentic relationship. While her work has offered many noteworthy experiences, Janelle did not seek the position of leading a major charity. Her journey started with the misfortune of being diagnosed with breast cancer as a 34 year-old mother. And “success” was not handed to her, as a 30 year survivor, she has worked hard out of passion for a cause, not a paycheck or the next promotion or fame.

As we were saying our goodbyes, Neal thanked us for lunch and our donation, saying “what you do saves lives everyday”. He meant those kind words, and they served as a reminder that a brand can do good for itself and a cause at the same time. But of course, Janelle, Neal, and everyone at the NBCF are the ones who are saving lives everyday. We are just fortunate enough to have the marketing resources to assist their heroic efforts.

Janelle Hail was "lucky" enough to meet Hugh Grant