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Working to get the public interested in corporate citizenship efforts?

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This post is part of a regular, ongoing series by Kristian Darigan Merenda that digs further into the goodpurpose study findings. To view the previous post, please click hereFor a complete list of posts authored by Kristian, please click the above byline.

Consumers have more power than ever: They command our attention via in-person and social media communications, they expect high quality products, and they want business to put the needs of society on the top of the priority list. Yet despite the demand for companies to play a role in solving social issues, it can be difficult engaging those same consumers, inspiring them to join corporate citizenship efforts.

In the 2012 goodpurpose® Study, we found a number of high value incentives a company can use to help motivate consumers. Results included:

  • 56% want to see their donation matched by the company;
  • 45% wish to receive a coupon for a product or service;
  • 44% would like to receive free products and services;
  • 42% prefer to see a donation go to a non-profit organization;
  • 30% would enjoy participating in a contest to win prizes.

One example of a company who utilized these tactics is General Electric (disclosure: Edelman client) in their Ecomagination Challenge, which encouraged businesses, entrepreneurs, and students to submit their ideas on how to improve our energy future. This challenge offered grand prizes to five winners to help make their ideas become a reality. The competition grabbed the attention of the applicants, their supporters, and most notably the media, which helped GE raise awareness of the energy crisis.

Obviously, the recent scandal has marred its efforts, but the Lance Armstrong Foundation (disclosure: Edelman client) does provide another successful example of engagement the way it grabbed the attention of the global community with its simple,  bright yellow bracelets. By selling these now infamous accessories for a small fee, they promised a large return back to the foundation. Even though the bracelet had to be purchased by the consumer, it was viewed as a donation to the foundation, rather than a casual purchase and, in doing so, the Foundation made it easy for consumers to engage and show their support for its cause.

Corporate citizenship campaigns can come in different forms, but the key is always to get your stakeholders on board. If you can make it easier for them to engage, then you will achieve greater success. The aforementioned examples are larger scale campaigns, but there are great case studies at all levels. What are some other examples you’ve seen where this worked… or where it hasn’t? What other strategies and tactics have you seen drive consumers to action?

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