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My Purposeful Journey





Updated: 2010-12-27T06:51:18-08:00

 



Redemption in the World of Social Media

2010-12-27T06:51:18-08:00

I was intrigued by a tongue-in-cheek editorial in Advertising Age this week, “Creative X Finds Redemption in the World of Social Media,” which declared that social media is “the punishment [the industry] deserves for the guilt-free excesses of [its] trade.” The author argues that in the age of Facebook, Twitter...



The Goodpitch 2010 – Storytelling to Change the World

2010-09-20T11:51:47-07:00

I’ve always loved film to tell an emotional story. A documentary was at the heart of my first cause program for the Rockport Shoe Company, that eventually launched the walking movement in the US. How can you excite people about something as seemingly lackluster as walking? Follow a walking evangelist... I’ve always loved film to tell an emotional story. A documentary was at the heart of my first cause program for the Rockport Shoe Company, that eventually launched the walking movement in the US. How can you excite people about something as seemingly lackluster as walking?  Follow a walking evangelist Robert Sweetgall who took a year and travelled alone -  11,208 miles - to spread the word about the health benefits of walking. An engineer by birth, Sweetgall lost three members of his immediate family to heart disease.  In response to what could have been a preventable losses, he quit his job at Dupont  and became a one man walking health missionary. Rob was a Forrest Gump-type character, setting out on his journey with sheer determination to make a difference. The film galvanized what was then an unheard of activity, walking for health and fitness. My next venture (adventure?) into film was the creation of a syndicated TV package for Heinz about saving the modern American family.  Following that, a riveting psa series on childhood hunger for ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better childhood hunger campaign. So when I was asked to attend the Good Pitch UK 2010 on behalf of Edelman, it was easy to jump at the chance. The Good Pitch brings together filmmakers, ngos, foundations, corporations, government, media and philanthropists to discuss leading social issues and create coalitions and campaigns that benefit society, filmmakers  and partners.   Now in its third year, the Good Pitch has screened over 60 films at events in London, Oxford, New York, Washington,  Toronto and San Francisco. During that time, more than 700 organizations have attended.  Think of it as a fantastically hopeful networking event, that has already seen dramatic outcomes with films igniting significant social justice campaigns with definitive results. One film,  The End of the Line, is  a story about the imminent death of the global bluefin tuna population. which has influenced the fish sourcing of one of the UK’s largest retail chains, Sainsbury's.    The Good Pitch is the brainchild of UK’s Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation, supported by The Sundance Institute, Edelman and PUMA.Creative.  The mission of the Good Pitch is to: “Empower documentary filmmaking by enabling great films with global ambition,  by brokering  new partnerships and by building new models for filmmakers to deploy.” Some of their awardwinning films include: The End of the Line, Afgan Star, Black Gold and The Yes Men Fix the World. Channel 4 BRITDOC sees itself as a broker for change.  The social justice documentaries it supports powerfully advocate for social impact  in many different ways:  as classroom tools, support for governmental advocacy, altering the buying and influence of brands, as well as being used at the center of social justice campaigns to create movements for action. The UK Good Pitch hosted 8 films in a “pitch” type format that has been rigorously crafted by the Foundation.  Filmmakers have seven minutes to present their work, in words and via a trailer. Then for the next 20 minutes they get peppered with commentary/questions from up to eight experts from post-production to communications, government and ngo specialists. (Think an intellectual version of the judges' commentary from American Idol). The 300+ in the audience listened raptly throughout the session, with great cheers for each carefully constructed pitch. That group was a potentially rich network of various types of partners for each presenter. My two favorite films were A Small Act and Ping Pong. [...]



The Case for Corporate Social Responsibility

2010-08-25T13:20:28-07:00

Professor Aneel Karnani’s article, “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility” in The Wall Street Journal, takes a position that goes squarely against the merits of CSR. Digging deeper, we see that Professor Karnani believes “social responsibility is a financial calculation for executives, just like any other aspect of their business.”...



Corporate Citizenship Issue Spotlight: Access to Safe Drinking Water

2010-08-20T14:58:39-07:00

This week we focus on the Millennium Development Goal #7, Target 7c: To reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The UN states that 1.5 million children under five die each year from water and sanitation-related diseases. To address this,... This week we focus on the Millennium Development Goal #7, Target 7c: To reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.    The UN states that 1.5 million children under five die each year from water and sanitation-related diseases. To address this, they declared that clean water is a fundamental human right in July.   According to Scott Harrison, founder and President of charity: water, “unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.” Considering the associated reduction in employee welfare and labor productivity, this social issue IS a business issue.  For each $1 invested, the WHO estimates returns of $3-$34.  The following examples show how corporations, nonprofits and multilateral organizations are collaborating, engaging the public and developing innovative solutions to solve the clean water problem.   Your Birthday Can Save the World through charity: water   charity: water’s charismatic Scott Harrison visited the Edelman NY office last week to update us on his upcoming September campaign. For the past four years, the nonprofit has appealed to people to give up their birthdays and ask for donations instead of gifts. The donations fund projects to bring clean, safe water to people in developing countries.   We recommend watching their video for a great visual on this year’s project:    While many nonprofits providing safe drinking water exist, here are a few reasons why charity: water stands out.   1)  100% of the money raised directly funds freshwater projects. Similar to the Robin Hood Foundation’s business model, charity: water’s overhead is covered by wealthy donors and sponsors.    2)   Proving it with Google Maps and media. Charity: water enables donors to locate the wells using GPS coordinates, and to view the people they help through photos and video.  They also provide a clear tally of their total impact on their website.   3)   Personalizing the experience.  In addition to bringing the human story directly to a donor’s computer through Google Maps, the organization launched mycharity: water. The site empowers people and groups to create their own personalized fundraising campaign, such as running, biking, birthdays, for the charity.  4)   Brand excellence.  Charity: water’s brand gained inspirational meaning through its passionate leader, and through its iconic yellow jerrycan.  After layering on this foundation emotive advertising and design, hip merchandising, endorsements from celebrities like Jennifer Connelly and Hugh Jackman, and an association with partners like Google and Saks Fifth Avenue, the brand became emblematic of a new aspirational social movement.          5)   Innovating to work with corporations.   The nonprofit’s digital platforms, large social following (1.3 million Twitter followers), brand excellence and small agile size make it a corporate cause marketing darling.      In 2008, Saks Fifth Avenue gave the nonprofit their window space for a week, and tapped into their employees and vendors to raise a total of $700,000 for the organization. Other brands like Theory have worked with charity: water to develop their own innovative programs.     An Multilateral Organization's  Disruptive Advertising Campaign   A few weeks ago th[...]



SuperCorp Review

2010-08-16T07:44:11-07:00

“Unite people even in a world of differences” I recently lead our CSR and Corporate Citizenship teams in an animated review of one of my favorite books: SuperCorp. The author, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, is a Professor at Harvard Business School and constantly impresses me with her prolific authorship on management... “Unite people even in a world of differences” I recently lead our CSR and Corporate Citizenship teams in an animated review of one of my favorite books: SuperCorp.  The author, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, is a Professor at Harvard Business School and constantly impresses me with her prolific authorship on management and how businesses can do well by doing good.  The latter is the premise of SuperCorp.    The book reminds me of a presentation by Michael Porter at the June CECP Corporate Philanthropy Summit, on the Shared Value concept.  In the wake of the recent recession and corporate scandals, businesses face an urgency to legitimize their roles in society.  Porter called for corporations to maximize profit and competitiveness by creating shared value (CSV) between their business and society (NGOs, employees, governments, etc).  In today's globalized, ever more transparent and interconnected world, companies do not have to trade-off between social and economic benefits.   This concept is the outcome of the most strategic execution of corporate citizenship.  Kanter’s book provides powerful case examples from around the globe of this exciting new business shift.   The Vanguard company is the new corporate paradigm At the heart of SuperCorpis Kanter’s new corporate paradigm which she calls Vanguard companies. These companies have a deeply embedded sense of mission and purpose.  Vanguard companies:   · Are big but human · Are efficient but innovative · Are global but concerned about local communities · Use their political influence over governments to develop solutions to problems of public concern · Align business performance with societal contributions · Involve all stakeholders The list of qualities goes on, but I wanted to point out two main themes: 1.    Human Capital:  If you are not generous with empowered people, they will not choose you.  2.    Innovation: When you bring society inside the organization, possibilities increase for success at every point in the innovation process.   Companies have a strategic advantage to benefit society in many ways. They have strong core capabilities, have local market knowledge, are quicker to market than many NGOs and have economies of scale and scope.  They can also be powerful innovators.  Vanguard companies gain their power from their ability to integrate the pieces, create collaboration and nourish partnerships for greater innovation.   Companies like GE are catching on.  Ecomagination is GE’s business initiative to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth.  In 2009, GE’s Ecomagination products earned $18 billion in revenue.  Ecomagination invested $1.5 billion in R&D last year, and plans to invest an additional $10 billion by 2015.  As Michael Porter said, shared value creation will be THE business agenda in the next few decades.  In short, SuperCorp is one of the best books I have read on Corporate Citizenship and I recommend it to all clients, employees and friends interested in the space.     [...]



Corporate Citizenship News for August 11, 2010

2010-08-11T16:57:35-07:00

2009 CSR Reports PepsiCo*: Investing in Sustainable Growth In its 2009 Corporate Citizenship report, PepsiCo highlighted a few of its ambitious 47 goals and commitments, which serve as guidelines for the company’s corporate citizenship program. These goals support the four main pillars of the company’s CSR strategy: Performance, and Human,... 2009 CSR Reports PepsiCo*: Investing in Sustainable Growth In its 2009 Corporate Citizenship report, PepsiCo highlighted a few of its ambitious 47 goals and commitments, which serve as guidelines for the company’s corporate citizenship program. These goals support the four main pillars of the company’s CSR strategy: Performance, and Human, Environmental, and Talent Sustainability.  Each pillar targets a different PepsiCo stakeholder: Shareholders, Consumers, the Planet, and Employees. To read more, you can download the report.  Here are a few aspects of the company’s program that interest us, and some more recent initiatives: Human Sustainability (nutrition): PepsiCo’s focus on R&D and innovation has lead to a $10 billion portfolio of nutritious products.  Over the past 3 years, PepsiCo has increased R&D by 40%. Of its 47 goals, 11 address the well-being of people in developing and developed countries.  Environmental Sustainability: PepsiCo is committed to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals to provide sustainable access to safe drinking water in developing countries.  They aim to provide clean water to three million people in developing countries by the end of 2015, and to create positive water balance across all of their businesses.  This means that for every liter they use, they return one to the Earth. This year, PepsiCo announced a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages to launch bottled water in India for only $0.40 a gallon. By changing the packaging, PepsiCo can offer a significantly cheaper version than its $1.15 per gallon Aquafina brand. Talent Sustainability: In 2009, PepsiCo increased the percentage of women executives globally to 30%.  More recently, they participated in the BlogHer conference, a summit for online women community leaders. Their Sofa Summit breakfast at the event engaged several of PepsiCo’s female leaders in a dialogue on the potential of women to drive innovation and catalyze transformation On a more fun note, PepsiCo’s convenient foods business unit Frito-Lay launched the Lay's Mobile Farm campaign, featuring a 70-foot long traveling greenhouse.  People in each of the 6 cities that the farm will visit can touch the plants and meet a Lay’s potato farmer.  The campaign builds on Lay’s strategy to celebrate the people and communities that produce its products.  Lay’s will also donate plants to help grow community gardens.  This year, PepsiCo also launched the well-publicized $20 million Pepsi Refresh campaign, a philanthropic program using crowdsourcing to identify top societal innovators and entrepreneurs. The initiative was praised for committing an additional $1.3 million to BP oil-spill disaster efforts.  Corporate involvement in spurring social innovation may be the answer to this country’s lagging ability to create social enterprises, compared to the rest of the world. We also like Pepsi’s viral Yo Sumo campaign, which enables US Latinos to share their inspirational stories of how they are changing the landscape of this country.  Latinos who submit their material have a chance to be part of Pepsi’s Yo Sumo documentary with Eva Longoria, who is also involved with Pepsi Refresh.  Pepsi launched the initiative in support of the 2010 Census to encourage Latino participation. PepsiCo is wise to incorporate diversity into its main strategy.  In 2009, the combined purchasing power for Hispani[...]



Corporate Citizenship News for August 9, 2010

2010-08-09T15:07:49-07:00

Nonprofit Spotlight Games for Change is Changing “By weaving gaming, marketing and social entrepreneurship, a new form of journalism has emerged with the power to connect, educate, and activate a mass audience.” -Nicholas Kristof The nonprofit Games for Change (G4C) is expanding from influential industry festival organizer to a multi-service... Nonprofit Spotlight Games for Change is Changing “By weaving gaming, marketing and social entrepreneurship, a new form of journalism has emerged with the power to connect, educate, and activate a mass audience.”-Nicholas Kristof  The nonprofit Games for Change (G4C) is expanding from influential industry festival organizer to a multi-service organization with the ability to raise the social gaming industry standard.  Its mission: to harness the extraordinary power of digital games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change.  Two recent behavior shifts are positively impacting the social gaming industry.  First, the public increasingly understands the connection between digital games and societal impact.  Secondly, games like Zynga’s Farmville have proven consumer interest in engaging in digital media on a daily basis, and in paying money for virtual status-generating incentives.  To capture the potential behind these behavioral shifts, G4C recently hired Co-Presidents Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd, both of whom have deep expertise in media for social change and in scaling nonprofit organizations.  Mr. Burak will lead curation, development, and execution of G4C programs, while Ms. Byrd will lead the institutional relationship and partnership development, among other responsibilities. What G4C does, in a nutshell: The 7th annual Games for Change Annual Festival in New York brought together over 600 nonprofits, experts, students, and game developers to explore the increasing real-world impact of digital games as an agent for social change. The Festival also showcases innovative new games in development. The new Consulting and Producing Services Group works with individuals and organizations that are interested in computer and video games to further their public, philanthropic or academic interests. The comprehensive suite of services includes industry orientation, conceptualization, vendor-selection and production. Why companies should consider using social gaming: Chevron’s Energyville is an excellent example of how a company can educate potential customers and stakeholders on an industry or societal issues. IBM has also recently launched the SimCity-style CityOne, a new "serious game" that helps customers, partners and students discover how to make cities smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistical problems. We also like Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics website, a resource for educators and parents that teaches about the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the three branches of government through free online game play. General Mills’ Cascadian Farm uses Farmville to educate potential customers on their product. Users can learn about organic farming and green living by planting free branded Cascadian blueberries, while also earning points. How can your brand build a relationship with consumers through a direct virtual experience? G4C is currently working with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn to bring their Half the Sky book and its movement to emancipate women to a mass audience by repurposing content for video games. After the earthquake in Haiti, FarmVille, FishVille, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker raised $1.5 million for relief by selling virtual goods within the games. How can your brand incentivize customers to pay real world money for cause marketing campaigns? Some[...]



Corporate Citizenship News for August 5, 2010

2010-08-05T16:16:45-07:00

Company Corporate Citizenship & Cause Marketing News Intel, MTN Collaborate on African WiMAX Venture Intel and South Africa's MTN recently announced a collaboration to increase broadband access in Africa and the Middle East. According to Intel sales and marketing Vice President Gordon Graylish, the partnership will “accelerate bridging the digital... Company Corporate Citizenship & Cause Marketing News Intel, MTN Collaborate on African WiMAX Venture  Intel and South Africa's MTN recently announced a collaboration to increase broadband access in Africa and the Middle East. According to Intel sales and marketing Vice President Gordon Graylish, the partnership will “accelerate bridging the digital divide” in Africa and “give its citizens economic opportunities similar to those in developed countries.”  The companies plan to achieve this by creating more affordable PC bundles and cost-effective internet browsing devices.  Intel's venture capital division and the MTN Group will invest in emerging technology companies that are innovative and solve local business and social problems.  In partnering with MTN, Intel adds a different set of expertise to help tackle the issue and establishes a local connection within Africa. The integrated partnership will also include a joint effort by the MTN Foundation and Intel Education's CSR department to equip students and teachers with technology skills. The collaboration aligns with Intel Foundation’s three goals to, 1) promote math and science education, 2) inspire youth around the world, and 3) give back to the community.  In June, the prestigious Committee for Corporate Excellence in Philanthropy awarded Intel for the tremendous global success and impact of the Intel® Teach Program.  Visit Intel’s CSR site for more information.   Highlights from CSR Reports Barilla* Releases its First Sustainability Report“Feed others as you would feed your own children”After a two-year development process, the family-oriented Italian food company has released its 2008 Sustainability Report.  In developing its reporting methodology which complies with GRI G3 guidelines, Barilla established a partnership with FONDACA, or Active Citizenship Foundation, a research and training organization specializing in corporate sustainability.  This thorough process supports Barilla’s long-term objective to have all company stakeholders actively participate in reporting so that sustainability is reflected in their business strategies. This brings to mind the 2009 cause marketing campaign that Edelman created with Barilla to support its mission to help people live better, longer, in a healthier environment.  Share the Table: The Barilla Family Dinner Project communicates the value of sharing family meals and strengthens the invaluable social connections made during formative childhood years. *Barilla is an Edelman client Inspiration TATA: The Evolution of a Corporate Brand  Morgen Witzel’s new book TATA: The Evolution of a Corporate Brand is a must on our summer reading list.  We wonder, how has the Indian conglomerate developed and upheld its purpose-driven brand throughout its acquisitions straddling the automotive, steel and chemicals industries?  From the reviews that we have read, we know that the book explores the brand’s meaning, including an evaluation of internal values and external perceptions existing in India and abroad. The 140-year old Tata is remarkable for going beyond CSR, and creating shared value between it and the societies with which it engages.   As B. Muthuraman, Vice Chairman, Tata Steel Ltd. stated, “Putting society as a fundamental and integral part of their business is one of the biggest values that the Tatas have brought to [...]



Corporate Citizenship News for August 4, 2010

2010-08-04T15:18:27-07:00

Company Corporate Citizenship & Cause Marketing News Toyota Reduces Fuel Consumption with a (Virtual) Glass of Water Our team here at Edelman is generally a fan of tech gadgets, so we were excited to see Toyota Sweden’s new free iPhone app A Glass of Water, which can be downloaded from... Company Corporate Citizenship & Cause Marketing News   Toyota Reduces Fuel Consumption with a (Virtual) Glass of Water Our team here at Edelman is generally a fan of tech gadgets, so we were excited to see Toyota Sweden’s new free iPhone app A Glass of Water, which can be downloaded from the Toyota Sweden website or the iTunes store.   A virtual glass of water on the iPhone screen reacts to sudden acceleration or braking. The amount of water that splashes out of the glass is recorded so the driver can assess their performance at the end of the trip. The goal of the application is to provide drivers with a pleasurable, yet challenging way to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The development of this app marks one more step toward Toyota’s goal of “reducing CO2 emissions by promoting the development of technologies to achieve the best fuel efficiency performance in each country and region.” For more information, visit Toyota’s Sustainable Development CSR site.     Samsung Prepares for Ramadan through Cause-Marketing Samsung Electronics* has announced a new campaign to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates through a philanthropic collaboration with the nonprofit Beit Al Khair.  Samsung will donate a specified amount for certain products that consumers purchase through Samsung’s distributors in the UAE.  Samsung has also developed a micrositeto gather insights from consumers by asking them to share their special Ramadan moments.  According to Marco Vocale, Head of Corporate Marketing, Samsung Gulf Electronics, “Ramadan is a time of giving and the Holy Month is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and ongoing dedication to helping those in need.”   Holiday-related cause marketing is nothing new in the U.S., and we expect to see it increase in the UAE.  In The Sustainability Advisory Group’s 2010 survey, What do Middle Eastern Executives Think about CSR?, 62% of regional executives believe that CSR is more important in the current economic climate, compared to 54% in 2009.     [...]



Corporate Citizenship News for August 3, 2010

2010-08-03T15:43:48-07:00

What an exciting time to work, study and participate in citizenship – whether brand, corporate or nonprofit oriented – there is so much innovation and collaboration taking place. As I learn the ropes at Edelman and increasingly embrace the vast amount of resources and talent around the world, I will... What an exciting time to work, study and participate in citizenship – whether brand, corporate or nonprofit oriented – there is so much innovation and collaboration taking place.  As I learn the ropes at Edelman and increasingly embrace the vast amount of resources and talent around the world, I will be sharing as many insights, news and work that I can.   So here is the beginning of what fascinates me and my colleagues:   Company Corporate Citizenship & Cause Marketing News   Nike’s Gamechangers website: “Changing Lives through Football” Nike Soccer's Gamechangers have shown the power of soccer to effect social change on a range of issues from homelessness to health to education.  Nike is expanding the team and is looking to the public to select the new Gamechangers. The process began in May when they launched the Changing Lives Through Football Competition in partnership with Ashoka's Changemakers. Organizations using soccer to enact social change were invited to submit an entry for a chance at a share of $90,000 in prizes. Finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges. Now the public will determine the winner.  Voting closes on August 18, 2010 at 3:00pm PST. Individuals can only vote once but can share the voting widget with as many people as they like.    OfficeMax and DonorsChoose.org Pledge Support for WaitingforSuperman.comParticipant Media recently announced two new corporate partnerships for their online Take the Pledge campaign supporting the national release of the award-winning documentary film Waiting for Superman this fall.   DonorsChoose.org will donate $5 gift cards to every person who pledges to see the film by September 15th.  The gift cards can be used to fulfill requests made by American public school teachers who post classroom project needs on DonorsChoose.org.   Once the campaign reaches the next pledge benchmark of 40,000 people, OfficeMax will increase their commitment to their A Day Made Better program. OfficeMax will add an additional 40 to the 1,000 teachers who will receive $1,000 each in school supplies.  Waiting for Superman examines the crisis of U.S. public education through multiple interlocking stories.  The film's trailer is powerful and worth watching: http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/      Kraft Foods Brings the Face of Hunger Directly to its Employees  Kraft Foods is bringing Michael Nye's portraits of hunger to three Kraft locations with the goal of educating employees and inspiring action in the fight against hunger.  This initiative supports Kraft’s larger commitment to fight hunger.  In October, the company will launch its second annual Delicious Difference Week initiative in which more than 14,000 employees in 50 countries around the world will partner with local food relief programs to deliver food and other services to people in need.  Since 1990, Kraft’s foundation has donated nearly $1 billion in cash and food.     Highlights from 2009 CSR Reports   Dannon*  Dannon's corporate mission is to bring health to the greatest number of people across America through its products' benefits.  Its three core values are Nutrition and Health, Nature (sustainability) and People (employees).  The company uses its Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® grant program to help children understand the [...]