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An editor from O’Dwyer’s Magazine approached me this past October to comment on the topic of “How to balance the benefits of corporate responsibility.” The article was entitled, Fashion PR – Our Report on Beauty & The Media, Balance, Benefits of Fashion and Corporate Responsibility. I was a bit surprised when I read the article and found that I was the only one presenting the symbiotic relationship between cause-related marketing and social media. To me social media is a natural extension of a social cause: social-to-social.

To that point I thought it would be interesting to discover the success of companies using this strategy as a focal point of their brand mantra. Below are a few companies that really understand how to leverage social media to support their brand over the long-term:

  • Tom Shoes mentioned in the article is a company that now boasts its own cable-like channel on Facebook with more than 1.8 million followers. They are also building a following on Pinterest with more than 9,000 fans.
  • Warby Paker is another company using the BoGo concept and they too have a solid online following with over 100,000 fans on Facebook and close to 30,000 on Twitter.
  • Tides of Hope is another category leader with more than 3 million Facebook fans, pretty good considering the campaign began in 2010 in support of Hurricane Katrina and of course today it’s busy helping victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The premise of my comments stem from my past experience with a cause campaign I launched back in the mid-nineties. At the time I was the PR Director at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and for years I kept seeing the company throw-away ink cartridges. An advocate of recycling and a bit of research lead me to the Shriners Hospitals For Children. I came to discover that these cartridges could deliver a $2 donation for every cartridge recycled and saved them from being dumped in a landfill. A win-win for all.

My predictions are these campaigns will grow in stature and recognition, due in part because people are social and want to do good as social media makes it easy to be a good steward. Today, in just one tweet millions of people from around the world can embrace a cause.

What role do you see social media playing in the future of cause marketing or social responsibility campaigns? Comments are always welcome.

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