Nov 28, 2012 • By

Consumers and cause marketing

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, brand philanthropy or “cause marketing” is ever present in our lives – on store shelves, airwaves, TV shows, Facebook and beyond.

Chances are, today you’ve either purchased something associated with a cause or you’ve seen a cause-connected campaign promoted.

Although brand philanthropy as a marketing tool is no longer unique, effective marketers are evolving their approach to the practice to increase the relevancy and impact of their programs on the causes and brands they support.

Mark Addicks, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at General Mills, says we trace our cause marketing roots back to Betty Crocker’s relationship with homemakers in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Betty Crocker’s radio show offered not only practical baking help to radio listeners, but sought to boost the morale of homemakers through difficult eras of American history.

By the mid-30s, two of Betty Crocker’s weekly radio broadcasts focused on recipes and menus designed for families on relief and the General Mills Home Services Department created a free brochure with tips for preparing delicious food on Depression–era wages and recipes that helped homemakers get the most of relief staples.

Today, we operate some of the largest and most successful brand philanthropy programs in the U.S., including Save Lids to Save Lives.

And, Box Tops for Education.

In the following video, Mark shares his perspective on how brand philanthropy has evolved since General Mills launched Box Tops for Education more than 10 years ago and discusses how brands can listen to the consumer to boost the relevancy and effectiveness of their programs.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on CSRwire.