Sponsor the Change Your Customers Want to See

If the headlines tell us anything, it’s that Americans are more fed up. They understand that corruption is systemic. “Enough!” people are crying. They remain dubious about the Stimulus Package because they can’t imagine how their tax money will be doled out in ways that will be fair and useful. The system is rigged, and they know it.

Based on the vetting process for cabinet members, citizens have discovered that many of the most powerful people in Washington DC simply don’t pay taxes. That’s a job for the average schmo. People are angry and want serious change. This environment poses a rare opportunity for the adroit marketer to get good things done by aligning with a can-do cause.

Where to begin?
1. Find the causes that fit with your brand: right imagery, your employees will rally behind it, achieves visible, measurable results–including a measured web presence.
2. Favor those with the largest and/or most loyal tribes of change agents and vet them for good management practices
3. Gauge their ability to draw: media, members, money
4. Open negotiations to become an “official catalyst” not “official sponsor.” After all, this is about igniting change by supporting the change agent.
5. Decide how you will collaborate and measure results of the partnership

Sounds simple. Truthfully, partnerships are never so simple, but these five steps are the framework for action. Keep in mind that partnering with the right cause can yield better social currency in these times than any traditional media can, at a fraction of the cost. If corporate sponsors have the marketing skill and courage to tap into the emotions that Americans are feeling, they can catapult their brands above the fray and become part of the solution for real change. This is Cause Marketing 2.0 and it can inspire loyalty, media attention, trigger transactions and win hearts and minds. It’s about sponsoring the positive change your customers want to see in the world.