Category Archives: Non-Profit

The Importance of Purpose

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I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose lately. It goes deeper than simply how we position or market a product, it goes deeply into the DNA of a company. Are you sustainable? Is a charitable cause part of everything you do as a company?

I wrote recently about how Brand Fast-Trackers and Brand Connections approaches this relationship through our partnership with Children of Domestic Violence. It got me thinking about 2 podcasts we had in the past.

The first is with the well-respected Jim Stengel. Jim is the former Global CMO of P&G. Our conversation with him in 2010 is every bit as relevant today. Tying into this was the first podcast we did with Erin Mulligan Nelson, then CMO of Dell. Erin also discusses the hows & whys of purposeful marketing.

As a reminder, Brand Fast-Trackers will return in 2013 with fresh content. Happy Holidays!

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Giving Back for the Holidays

You are not alone - - Children of Domestic - Children of Domestic Violence
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A Note for the Holidays – Giving Back

Last week, I mentioned that we will begin expanding this blog beyond podcasts in 2013. This week, I’m taking the opportunity to talk about a pillar of our organization at Brand Connections and Brand Fast-Trackers. We’ve spoken a lot about how critical sustainability and corporate responsibility is for companies, particularly in our conversations with UNICEF’s Caryl Stern, Fifth & Pacific’s Jane Randel, Edelman’s Carol Cone, and Havas’ David Jones. This trend will only continue. I am proud to be a part of an organization that supports positive change as a part of our DNA, and I’m incredibly lucky to have Brian as a mentor, colleague and friend. Happy Holidays – KK

Our Company’s Commitment to Positive ChangeBrianfmartin-headshot-copy

As a child, Brand Connections Chairman and BFT Host Brian F. Martin was impacted by childhood domestic violence. When he was seven, he vowed to do everything he could to end it. That promise is now the Children of Domestic Violence , the first non-profit organization dedicated to developing scalable solutions to help those who have experienced childhood domestic violence reach their full potential and break the cycle of violence.

Studies have shown that children are three times more likely to repeat the violence they see when they become adults. Children of Domestic Violence has set a goal to educate and change the lives of those impacted. This year, organization produced a documentary short, The Children Next Door. The film, about domestic violence as seen through the eyes of a child, has been showing at numerous prestigious film festivals to help spread the word. Last month, The Children Next Door won the Special Jury Prize at the DOC NYC film festival.

Most employees here at Brand Connections were unaware of the terrible legacy of domestic violence on children. Today, we are learning through Brian, by attending film screenings and by helping to spread the information to help educate our families, friends and communities. We’re working together to help, because once we learned more, we felt compelled to participate.

We are not asking for donations. Rather, in the spirit of our visionary founder, please visit the Children of Domestic Violence  and learn a little more about how you can help.

Thank you. Wishing you a very happy holiday from Brand Connections and Brand Fast-Trackers.


Please note, Brand Fast-Trackers will return after the holidays. See you in 2013!

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Brand Fast-Trackers #177 – The Best of BFT

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This week I have a few episodes still in editing, so I decided to take a few minutes and reflect about all of the guests we have had on the show in the past five years, particularly those since I have produced the show in the last three years. It’s hard to pick a top 10 list, but I’m going to do my best. (Extra bonus! Some of these are old enough that you will get to see Brian’s video introductions!) – Kat

  1. Mike Hughes – President of The Martin Agency. Is it okay if I say there has never been a guest I wanted to hug more through the phone? Barrett Rossie and I have discussed our fondness for The Martin Agency and Mike in the past. I still remember doing background research for this podcast and coming across this. If that doesn’t make you love Mike, I don’t know what will. Mike offers so many nuggets for marketers to learn from on authenticity and the creative process. Mike, we are still waiting for you to writes Hughes on Advertising! Take a listen to the episode here.
  2. Bev Thorne – CMO, Century 21 Real Estate. Yes really. Under Bev’s stewardship, Century 21 has done some fascinating things – very cutting edge in my humble opinion – with their marketing mix. They were one of the big advertisers who gave up their tv advertising and embraced social media. They invested heavily here and built a community that supports them today. They were able to show incredible ROI (a 248% increase in leads), so when they came back to TV with a big super bowl spot in 2011, they were really able to make it pay off. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Bev on a few occasions, and have to say she is one of the most insightful marketers I have come across. Given that her CMO tenure continues 5+ down the line, I’m not the only one who agrees. Take a listen here.
  3. Stephen Denny – Author of Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath In Your Industry. Have you read this book? If you haven’t, please go buy it now and read it. Don’t worry, I will wait. … Are you a challenger brand? A start-up? Perhaps you a small brand in a larger portfolio who doesn’t have big budgets? Stephen shows how you can be really smart with what you already have at your disposal. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak with Stephen on a few occasions. So read his book, connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn or his blog. You will be smarter for it.
  4. Gini Dietrich – Founder & Chief Executive, Arment Dietrich (and the Mastermind behind Spin Sucks). Gini is one of the most sincere, wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few years. Although we’ve never met IRL, I consider her to be a true friend and often a mentor. Gini has the distinction of being a repeat Brand Fast-Trackers guest. She was first on the show in 2011, and came back on earlier this year with Geoff Livingston to speak about their book Marketing in the Round. Again, if you haven’t read this book, go buy it now. Gini has built a community on Spin Sucks of which I am proud to be a part. It is a must read blog for any PR professional or marketer. Period.
  5. Caryl Stern – CEO, US Fund for UNICEF. Caryl is an incredible force of nature and I luckily have had the privilege of once sitting in Caryl’s office to hear her perspectives on nonprofits, leading a mission-based organization and how the US Fund approaches fundraising like a for-profit. The podcast also makes this very clear, so whether you are in the for-profit or nonprofit world, in marketing or fundraising, you need to take a listen. It is worth every minute.
  6. Mitch Joel – President & Partner, Twist Image. I recently had an opportunity to meet my “mind crush” (thanks to Ken Mueller for the term) at Dreamforce after having him on the podcast over the summer. In addition to Twist Image, Mitch is best known for his Six Pixels of Separation blog and podcast. He also has a book out by the same name. I am a self-admitted podcast nerd. It’s hard not to be when you a produce a podcast, but I listen to Mitch’s show each week for a thoughtful, and often inspring episode on advertising. Mitch regularly writes provocative posts as well, although I think he would like hate that term. Anyhow, Mitch intimidates the heck out of me and I admire him tremendously. Take a listen to the show we did with him and look for his upcoming book Ctrl + Alt + Delete next year.
  7. David Jones – Global CEO – Havas. David’s appearance on the show revolved mostly around his book Who Cares Wins. In it, David shares his perspectives on why businesses must become most sustainable, and why this must go beyond greenwashing and simply donating to a cause. In a lot of ways, he echoes what we have heard from other past guests like Edelman’s Carol Cone, 5th & Pacific’s Jane Randel and author Dan Portnoy, but I think it resonates in a particular way because Havas, along with a handful of other holding companies, is leading the marketing and media industry in many ways. Having it said from the “top” is really significant, and brands that miss this will ultimately fail. Take a listen to the episode here.
  8. Matt Dickman, EVP Social Business Innovation, Weber Shandwick. In Matt’s words he does everything for his clients BEFORE they actually tweet. The episode is insightful and provides a lot of perspective on just all the risks that are inherent in social media and how to overcome them. The biggest takeaway? Your social media strategy must tie-in with your overall business objectives. It seems simple, but according to Matt, very few companies have connected the dots in this way. Take a listen here.
  9. Scott Monty, Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company. Scott is probably the most well-known and most well-respected leader in the social media space. This is not something I say lightly. How many of you could step in and lead social for a brand as large and encompassing as Ford? The greatest part of his story is that Ford and Alan Mulally had the forethought and insight to bring Scott on board 5 whole years ago. Very few brands were even talking about social 5 years ago. Scott is full of insights and I think the episode will really resonate with you. Take a listen. Bonus: Scott has one of the best voices you will ever hear. If for nothing else, listen for that.
  10. And despite that he thinks I’d never mention him in a Top 10 post …. Ken Mueller of Inkling Media. Ken is a friend, collaborator, and fellow conspirator. Ken came on the show in 2011 and made this simple and profound statement – It’s the social, NOT the media Idiots. Okay, so maybe I added the Idiots part, but still…I speak with Ken daily and trust his advice. He blogs daily and really makes you think. The greatest part is that his posts apply to small and large businesses alike. I like to tease him a lot, but trust me, Ken is someone you want to know. Take a listen to our show with him here.

[Lead image via SmallBusinessBonfire]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #176 – Never Think Small

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If you are a national brand that is seeking a cause marketing partnership or a non-profit looking to strengthen your corporate partnerships, you will want to listen to today’s show.

In this episode of Brand Fast-Trackers, we were given the opportunity to speak with Rachel Armbruster.  Rachel is an executive nonprofit strategist, founder of Armbuster Consulting, and the former Development Director for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Rachel collaborated with Nike to create the globally recognized and award-winning create the yellow LIVESTRONG wristband.

Today, Rachel shares her expertise on how to evolve your brand or nonprofit and develop a successful cause partnership by helping each other to hit goals, grow market reach and inspire the community to create real, measurable change.

Rachel’s key insights to develop a mutually beneficially cause marketing relationship remind me a lot with what UNICEF USA’s CEO Caryl Stern shared with us earlier this year:

  1. Understand what you have to offer
  2. Genuinely understand your audience
  3. Come prepared — Know your team.

Personally, what resonated with me the most was her genuine passion for the cause and her dedication to securing a personal, intimate partnership with Nike.  In her words:

“A corporate brand should partner with a nonprofit that represents and exemplifies the heart of their customers and employees. The company needs to understand what their employees are passionate about.  A true understanding of where their heart is, your capturing there dollars, your capturing there buying power, which leads to loyalty and a lifetime customer.”  

To hear more of Rachel’s insights and advice on how to create a successful partnership, listen to the podcast below or hop over to iTunes. No time to sync? Check us on out Stitcher. Enter the code brandconnection for a chance to win.

Rachel debut book Banding Together for a Cause came out earlier this year and provides even more in depth insight into building the LIVESTRONG campaign.

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“The New Price of Doing Well is Doing Good” – Episode #158

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We recently spoke with David Jones, the Global CEO of Havas (and EuroRSCG). We discuss David’s recently published book, Who Cares Wins.

David shares why corporate social responsibility must be at the core of business strategy. In this “age of damage,” says David, “companies can’t hide.”  This is a paradigm shift; consumers are beginning to demand that businesses become more socially responsible. This goes beyond companies simple being responsible in terms of sustainable practices; it extends into companies actually giving back as well.

Moreover, David argues that social media “has taken corporate responsibility out of the silo and into the P&L.” David is on the forefront of a global movement and every brands needs to take a listen to what he is saying. Tune in here and pop over to Amazon to buy his must-read book.

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