Engage for Good 2018

This was DoTopia’s second time attending Engage for Good in Chicago.  Topics this year ranged from Gun Violence, Disaster Relief, Empowerment, Impact Reporting, Cause Marketing (…obviously), Technology, and more.  Some of the themes that jumped out across many of the sessions were the need for brands to be authentic in their social good programs, the power of using technology to do good and the shared value cause marketing creates for corporations.  DoTopia was grateful to be a part of the discussions and it is very fun to meet so many of the nonprofit partners that individuals support on our platform.

Brands being authentic in doing good is the core framework for success.  

One of the first speakers, Jayme Jenkins, from the Body Shop explained that their brand was founded with doing good as a part of their DNA.  The Body Shop was unique for taking a stand against beauty products being tested on animals and this, as a core value of theirs, makes it easy for them to be successful in their efforts.  Another well known example of this is Patagonia and saving the environment. The point isn’t that it must be a part of your founding story, but it should be in-line with your brand’s core values.  Your program has a higher likelihood of backfiring if your brand isn’t genuine in it’s intentions.

Technology can help your brand do good like never before.  

It’s now the norm to see new technology applications to make the world a better place.  Asha Sharma from Facebook explained how logical it is for them to use the power of its connection to do good.  One application that everyone has benefited from is how Facebook users can mark themselves as safe after a disaster event.  When it comes to technology it’s important for brands to find the right partners. Accenture is doing some very cool projects with nonprofits and talked about aligning the RIGHT technology to your social good program.  For example, they are helping deaf people who would like to join-in on the fun of dancing by applying wearables and AI to “hear” the beat of the music by tapping their wrists. Technology is a tool and, when used the right way, it can amplify the impact of your brand’s social good programs in powerful ways.

Cause marketing and social good programs have powerful business benefits for your brand.  

Some find this topic taboo, but shared value is a good thing and, if nothing more, means more brands will be doing good.  Candace Hodder from Disney explained how they ran an incredible campaign called Dream Big Princess where they encouraged kids around the world to dream big.  Consumers drove donations to UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” campaign by posting or liking instagram content with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess. Disney’s video has generated over 4 million views and positive discussion around their brand with major marketing and PR benefits.  

Dave’s Killer Bread, an organic sliced bread company from Oregon, was founded by an ex con and welcomes the opportunity to give people second chances for employment to those who have a criminal record. From a marketing perspective it will surprise people to learn that they have almost a million followers on facebook and over 35,000 followers on instagram… for a sliced bread company. They are not ignorant to the fact that their Second Chance program has a huge impact on this, in part because they do a great job spreading the good work about why they do this and the good it does.

When asked about the business benefits of these social good programs both Disney and Dave’s Killer Bread were honest that it’s hard to exactly quantify the ROI, but they know the return is powerful and justifies more of it moving forward.

In the ideal scenario your brand can leverage all three of these points into it’s giving program: authenticity, technology and powerful business benefits.  The perfect example of this was Timberland’s Eathkeepers Facebook Virtual Forest App. Atlanta Mcllwraith shared that consumers could plant trees on Facebook in a virtual forest.  The more trees planted on facebook equated to real trees being planted around the world, most recently in Haiti to help with recovery. The program has generated millions of trees.  If you look at Timberland, which is an outdoor brand with a tree as its logo, it was a very genuine program near and dear to their heart that leveraged facebook and an app to generate major brand awareness across social platforms.  

There was a lot more to digest from the conference and DoTopia looks forward to attending future Engage for Good conferences in the years to come!

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