The leading figures of cause-anchored marketing thinking: Unilever & Toms

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A big discussion in marketing of late is the importance of “care marketing”. This movement has been building for years. In short, marketers need to put cause or community marketing at the core of their plans. Consumers expect Brands to contribute to the well-being of the future, not simply make money. Given consumer choice, most will gladly align loyalties to those Brands that they believe in, that they feel are making a difference to a cultural, environmental, social, community, etc. movement or cause that they deem important. I have written several pieces on this over the past year or so (see here and here and here and here).

In his book, “Who Cares Wins”, David Jones repeatedly mentions Unilever as a big company that has been at the forefront of this thinking. Clearly, their portfolio of Brands are conducive to the betterment of mankind and thus should play a role in leading marketing thinking that acts to make change versus solely sells to make money. We need only look at how the Dove business has propelled itself to cultural icon by championing a real socio-cultural issue. More recently Unilever has launched “Project Sunlight” that builds on their equity of “care marketing”.

Project Sunlight is a global sustainability initiative that aims to build a better future for children. What I really love about the program is that it is a unifying cause that many Unilever brands can contribute to in their own special way. Wall’s (see video below) has contributed by championing “making kid time”. While other brands (see website) have tacked other areas for improvement. Project Sunlight is thus a galvanising platform for the entire organisation and thus allows Unilever as a whole to actually make a difference. Consumers will without doubt appreciate this and thus put the company in its hearts (and consideration).

The “grand-daddy” of socially-considered organisations is Toms, a shoe company that gives 1 pair of free shoes to needed people for every pair bought. Most recently, they have taken their “care marketing” philosophy to the broader eCommerce community. Toms recently launched Tom’s Marketplace, an eCommerce destination where each product is from a company who has social responsibility at the core of their operation. Visitors can browse by cause and purchase products accordingly. Absolutely brilliant. Have a look (

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