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Apr 08 ,2016

Why Supporting Public Parks is a Smart Cause Marketing Focus

trailNow that we’ve discussed how to pick a cause for cause marketing, let’s explore the benefits of working with public parks as your cause partner.

First, public parks systems provide the opportunity to connect with a wide range of relevant causes that are here to stay, increasing the longevity of your cause marketing program and the potential for impact. A few key cause messages that parks provide are:

  • Health – Promoting health and wellness causes through advocacy for park visitation is a good option because parks provide a free to low cost, accessible option to large populations looking to exercise for health reasons.
  • Active Lifestyle – Parks are a great way to connect with athletes, hikers, campers, and all manner adventurous outdoor hobbyists. Parks are the perfect places for biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, rock climbing, running, walking, surfing, and other forms of active exploration, and what’s better than meeting your audience where they like to play?
  • Environmental Causes – Allow us to state the obvious- natural spaces and outdoor parks are closely related to environmental causes. From replanting native species and trees to recycling and conscious traveling programs, the cause marketing program options are endless.
  • Historical Sites – The parks system is full of historical and architectural sites and monuments that can reach audiences who appreciate history, and preserving tradition and culture.
  • Wildlife Conservancy – Wildlife and nature conservancy causes identify with animal supporters and want to preserve the integrity of biodiversity in public parks across America.

According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study, 70% of Americans find companies’ communication about their social responsibility efforts confusing. It is important to communicate your cause efforts effectively and simply, and being able to reach them in a location that ties closely to the cause, such as through the parks systems can enhance your program communication.

Another advantage? With thousands of park options, it’s easy to localize your cause efforts.  Research among consumers done by Good Solutions Group shows that 70% of consumers prefer to support causes that have a local impact.  With thousands of park locations around the country, you can customize your program around the communities and causes that matter to you and your audience, while still having a national umbrella.

In collaborating with national, state, or local parks systems, your campaigns can impact generations to come. Encouraging relationships between younger generations and their surrounding natural spaces is about promoting enjoyment of the outdoors alongside advocacy for its preservation, which will foster a closer relationship between people, the outdoors, and possibly your brand.

Good Solutions Group is the largest park-focused marketing agency in the U.S. because we’re truly committed to active lifestyles and outdoor exploration, but also, because it just makes sense from a business and marketing standpoint. From an unsaturated market with an opportunity to build authentic relationships with audiences engaged in active lifestyles, to an authentic need to support this cause across America’s communities, partnerships with public parks systems is something that works and that we believe in.

Our experienced team has a successful track record executing cause marketing campaigns like these, for leading brands with programs that include sampling, product placement, signage and more. Find successful campaign examples like Odwalla Plant a Tree, The North Face, and Coca Cola on our website.

 

Mar 30 ,2016

How to Pick a Cause for Cause Marketing

Wondering if there’s an “appropriate” way to pick a cause to support?
Whether you’re struggling with the cause you picked for your business and not sure it’s the right one, or you’re preparing to launch a cause marketing campaign for the first time, the same questions still apply. Here is a quick summary of the process we go through when we guide companies like The North Face, Coca-Cola, Nestle and others on choosing great causes.

Cause marketing, community, charity, nonprofits, sponsorship, fundraising, corporate social responsibility, social causesCan’t I just pick something that matters to me and my team?
Chances are the first options that come to mind may directly relate to causes that resonate with issues being discussed in the media, or even better, issues that truly matter to you. You could go this route, but thinking through a few things first (to follow) will help guide the process for a more informed choice that can help prepare you for success.

Is it possible to pick the wrong cause to support?
Yes, and no. There is no such thing as picking a wrong cause, because sponsorship and charitable giving are good things! However, we prefer finding the best cause. The thing to note here is that giving should come from a deeper place than a marketing strategy, so some deep digging may be necessary to find out what is important to your team. It is also very important to find out which causes align best with your brand. What is authentically aligned with the causes that matter to (or even the needs of) your primary target audiences? Beauty brands could consider body image issues, sports drinks: active lifestyles.

How do we find the best option for us?
Have a brainstorm session with your team. Find out if any causes are important to the team (where do they currently volunteer or donate?) and causes that are authentically aligned with your brand. A cause should resonate both within and without the company, and be a rallying cry for employees, consumers, and all stakeholders. Though national and international causes are great, our research shows that consumers like causes that support activities close to home. Test any chosen cause to see if it can be localized to have impact in local communities.

What type of research should I do?
Thorough research on your organization is an absolute must. Find out if their mission statement is something you can get behind, if you agree with their ethical models, and what other companies they are working with. Check their history and metrics. How far does their money go? How much of their funding goes to the cause versus administration? How good is the team in place, and how strong is their consumer base?

Can I commit long term?
Although a permanent partnership isn’t necessary, any campaign will likely help form a relationship that outlasts the campaign itself. Your brand image, if the cause marketing campaign is done well, will be connected to the causes you support. Is this a cause that will be relevant for some time, and that you will still be as proud of and excited about in the coming years? In other words, is this just a campaign partnership, or a long term commitment?

Will the cause distract from my business?
Good cause marketing campaigns are designed to support the growth of your business by aligning your target audiences through a cause to create a strong brand loyalty. Cone has found that 90% of consumers want to buy products that support a good cause. So, NO, cause marketing is not distracting from your business, it is building it!

preserve our parks, coca cola, good solutions group, cause marketingGood Solutions Group for example, designs campaigns that help create brand awareness, increase donations or support for causes, and at the same time, help contribute toward sales goals. The “Preserve our Parks” campaign we created for Coca Cola and Stater Bros. raised $2,500,000 for state parks, earned 600 million media impressions, and significant increase in all sales metrics: dollar volume lift, unit volume lift, and share of market lift for Stater Bros. during the promotional period.

It’s possible to find the cause that helps drive your business forward, connect with your audience, and make your community a better place. If you need help with any of these steps, contact GSG’s experts.

Mar 24 ,2016

The Campaigns that Won Us the Top Shops Award

PROMO Top Shops Good Solutions GroupIt’s always exciting to see campaigns we’ve worked on get recognition, and some of our recent campaigns got us a spot on Chief Marketer’s Top Shops for 2016! This award means a lot to us because it honors the top 100 agencies across the entire U.S. that focus on promotional marketing. Also, it recognizes us for all three of our specialties:

  • Event and Experiential Marketing
  • Sponsorship Activation
  • Cause Marketing

In honor of this award and the clients who helped us get it, we’d like to recap some of our favorite campaigns that put us in the Top Shops race:

Abuelita – “Day of the Dead”
Remember our Dia De Los Muertos campaign for Abuelita a few months ago? To recap, we helped them distribute over 20,000 samples to kickoff the hot chocolate season just before this special Mexican holiday, by getting Mexican celebrity chef Richard Sandoval to prepare delicious recipes using Abuelita chocolate. The campaign resulted in 47% YOY sales lift.

Abuelita Chocolate Day of the Dead Marketing Event
Tommy Bahama
We coordinated Tommy-Bahama sponsored uniforms for the City of Chicago Lifeguards, leading to earned media (190 million impressions), brand awareness and establishing Tommy Bahama’s support for the windy city. The event was launched at a new Chicago store to help promote two new area store openings.

Tommy Bahama Marketing Campaign Good Solutions Group
GEICO
As the official sponsor of Park Visitor Welcome Maps, GEICO provides families with roadtrip (and insurance) information as they read through a handy map of America’s state and national parks. In order to connect with the RV/motorcycle target audience, GEICO distributed over 500,000 RV guides per year, with 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts being reached at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

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The North Face
Outdoor activity is near and dear to our hearts at GSG, and this event helped get Americans outdoors for the first time with free camping gear and hundreds of large group camping events. The objective: Increase sales and encourage outdoor recreation. Results: Hundreds of camping events, 78% said they would camp again, 87% said they would spend at least $250 on gear, and over $310,000 donated to state parks for camping event funding.

Explore Your Parks Marketing Campaign North Face
Nesquik Youth Soccer
We helped Nesquik reach mothers with young children through sponsorship of youth soccer to help switch their reach for sugary sports drinks to carb and protein rich chocolate milk. Driving awareness of chocolate milk as a post-game drink to 77% among coaches and 66% among parents, we’d say we scored major goals.

Nesquik Youth Soccer Marketing Campaign
Connecting brands to target audiences with active lifestyles can be fun, socially responsible and increase brand sales and support all at once. To read more details on any of these campaigns, visit our website.  If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write to us in the comments section below!

Mar 17 ,2016

Experiential Marketing: What’s The Big Buzz About?

Experiential Marketing
Have you heard someone tell you to buy experiences and not things? Why are concerts, cross country trips and personal experiences being valued over physical products? There’s something about experiences that cause us to feel inspired or satisfied. Plus, memories of unique experiences just seem to stick. Because experiential marketing can help tie your product or service to live events, online and in-store experiences with your audience, it’s the perfect time to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Want to know more?

Let’s break this down:

What is experiential marketing, exactly?Experiential Marketing
A loose definition of experiential marketing is “messaging you can touch, feel or view in a physical space.” Experiential marketing ties an experience component (such as through an event) to your marketing strategy in order to connect to your audience in a way they’ll remember. Why are experiences so important?

 

Are experiences or products more valuable?
There’s a current discussion today around experiences been perceived as more valuable than products. According to a study fielded by the Event Marketing Institute, “98 percent [of consumers] say a live event motivates them to buy a product. They also share the experience with others—almost half tell someone about a live event while they’re attending”

Another study conducted by Harris and funded by Eventbrite reaffirms that idea and found that that “72% [of millennials] say they’d like to increase their spending on experiences rather than physical things in the next year, pointing to a move away from materialism and a growing appetite for real-life experiences.” Reflection question: Can consumers associate your product to positive experiences? Where are they discovering and using your product?

What Does Experiential Marketing Look Like?
So how can we connect consumers with experiences to make products part of memorable, positive experiences? It starts being aware and truly understanding your brand and your audience, and reaching them in those meeting places that matter. Experiential marketing can include in-store displays, live events and face-to-face marketing. You already know experiences are valued more than products, so make your product part of an experience.

Click over to the Good Solutions Group website for an overview of successful experiential marketing campaigns that paired brands with their target audiences in memorable events. GSG has been named a Chief Marketing “Top Shop” for the 2nd year in a row in 2016, and has been awarded 2 EX Awards for experiential marketing!

Mar 09 ,2016

Corporate Social Responsibility is in Demand, Are you In Business?

 

What is your company doing to help contribute toward the progression of social or environmental causes? If you can’t answer that question, you’re late to the party. Brand participation in social causes is no longer seen as a feel-good charitable act. It may be the reason consumers are choosing to switch brands.

According to a study released last spring by Cone Communications/Ebiquity on the issue of corporate social responsibility, today’s consumer would likely point to the latter: a brand known more for its social responsibility than for its name. How much more likely? Study findings reveal that “90 percent of global consumers would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price or quality.”

Corporate Social Responsibility

This is an opportunity for brands to communicate the values that are inherent to their company, any social initiatives they support, and the impact of their involvement. Cause marketing initiatives can help relay that information to reach target audiences through results-oriented methods. The suggestion here isn’t to pick a cause and run with it just for the sake of following a successful marketing trend (a trend that is here to stay by the way),  but to develop a campaign that is informed by research and interests that appeal to your target market.

It doesn’t stop at becoming involved in social causes either; being able to communicate those initiatives and their results are key to successful cause marketing. An earlier study by Cone Communications indicated that “91 percent [want] to hear about companies’ CSR efforts and progress. However, for that communication to resonate, messages must be honest and clear”. Research also revealed that the preferred communication channels for this information, in ranking order, were product packaging/labels, media, advertising, social media, and mobile.

If you’re playing catch up, begin to consider the following:

  • What causes is your brand affiliated with?
  • Which are most relevant to your brand and internal values?
  • Which do your target audience value most?

Cause marketing experts can help you figure that out to find your starting point before moving on to communicating your causes to your consumer market. For examples of successful cause-marketing campaigns, take a look at how Good Solutions Group helped Coca Cola, Odwalla, North Face, and other corporate brands develop successful, results-driven campaigns that communicate the causes your company cares about.

Apr 28 ,2015

How Cause or Purpose-Driven Marketing Can Build a More Loyal Consumer Base

Dove Choose Beautiful

More than ever, consumers want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place. In fact ninety-three percent of consumers are concerned with this very issue. In 2015 alone, cause sponsorship is estimated to reach $1.92 Billion, an increase of 3.7% compared to 2014, and consistently increasing numbers indicate that cause marketing is here to stay for good (pun intended).

A recent example of a successful cause campaign is Dove, who earlier this month dropped their newest video in which women “Choose Beautiful”. The video, on April 7th, received extremely positive press coverage as social media users and news outlets took to Facebook and Twitter in support of the campaign.

While it’s true that Millennials typically don’t engage in brand loyalty like their Baby Boomer parents, supporting a worthy cause or purpose is something all the generations have in common. Eighty percent of millennials are more inclined to support causes offline after first “liking” or “following” an organization online, followed by the older generations who are reported at 64%. Furthermore, 76% are more likely to tell a friend about the partnering cause, proving that while a great product might win over your head or wallet, the right cause can win over a consumer’s heart.

In Dove’s case, the cause encouraged women to empower themselves by choosing to be beautiful. The recent “Choose Beautiful” campaign, along with Dove’s other “Real Beauty” campaigns, has transformed Dove’s brand into something more than personal care products. It is mainly the cause that differentiates Dove from their competitors who occupy the space of beauty products that perpetuate seemingly unattainable beauty standards.

By choosing the right cause that resonates with your target demographic, your product can have the upper hand in a vastly competitive market and consumers will recognize the effort. Cause-marketing can greatly increase sales, visibility, and media coverage resulting in an enhanced company image and increased customer loyalty.

Check out the “Choose Beautiful” Campaign by Dove.

 

 

 

 

Apr 02 ,2015

Which Types of Promotions are Right for your Business?

Which Types of Promotions are Right for your Business?

You have a clearly defined, well packaged, and competitively priced product or service.  So that’s enough, right? Your product will be flying off the shelf or your phone will be ringing off the hook.  Not necessarily.  You also need to create marketing promotions that draw the attention of the consumer in a very crowded marketing and advertising marketplace. The key is to start by identifying your goals and finding the promotion type that is ideal for your business.

We’ve rounded up some great examples of brands that soared past their goals with creative and well executed campaigns.

Event Activation

Company: Target – Campaign: Bullseye University Live

Target created an enormous mobile pop up to push content for a national four-day digital event. The multi-story Bullseye University Live dormitory experience was designed, built, and set up on the UCLA campus from July 15- 18, 2013. The dorm was outfitted perfectly from floor to ceiling with their university line and featured a live stream in which viewers could scroll over products that were featured in the dorm, which then activated pop-up boxes with additional information and links for instant purchases. The event generated 76 million twitter impressions while campus activation reached more than 140,000 students and their families.

target_ex3_2014-1280x884

Sponsorship Activation

Company: Honda – Campaign: Honda Civic Tour 

Honda opened this campaign by slowly revealing daily clues and sweepstakes entries to meet the then mystery headliner. Honda and Maroon 5 reveled the partnership via an outtakes video that aired on”The Tonight Show”. Fans were then able to purchase exclusive Honda pre-sale tickets and register for chances to win several additional promotions. The tour was a huge success that hosted about 600,000 concert attendees across 32 concert events. This was the largest social media engagement for Honda.

Best_EntSponsor_Honda_WEB-300x211

Digital and Social Media

Company: Ford Motor Co. – Campaign: Fiesta Movement: The Sequel

Ford jumped back in the saddle for a defining moment in experiential marketing with the Fiesta Movement: The Sequel; a returning program which was a major success of the vehicle’s launch. The primary objective was to engage millennial drivers into the fold. Ford gathered 100 of its hand picked influencers to own the campaign and the Fiesta for six months. Ford then gave their Fiesta Agents a car, gas card, camera, insurance and a list of missions as they set off onto the open road to show off the Fiesta features. The intriguing and entertaining content that was created communicated the cars personality and seamless integration into active millennials lives.  The Fiesta Movement resulted in record high sales and captured more of the target audience than any other car in its class. Among millennials, the Fiesta made up 30 percent of cars sales and the “agents” created over 14,000 pieces of original content.

Best_Social_Ford_WEB

Cause Marketing

Company: Coca Cola – Program: Perserve Our Parks

This hugely successful multi-year retail program with Stater Bros. Markets in Southern California encouraged consumers to join Coca-Cola in supporting environmental causes. Coke donated $1 to California States Parks for every $10 of Coca-Cola products purchased and engaged shoppers to contribute as well. Through outrageous in-sotre displays, Coke and Stater Bros. reminded shoppers how important our parks are, resulting in shopper donations of over $1 million.  In total, over $2.5 million was raised over 4 years to support California State Parks, and Coke received over 800 million earned media impressions along with significant increase in all sales metrics.  A great example of good marketing, doing good!

Grizzly Display

 

 

 

Mar 12 ,2015

The Hottest Trends of The Natural Products Expo 2015

The 2015 Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) took place last Thursday, March 5th, through Sunday, March 8th at the Anaheim Convention Center and featured over 2,500 natural products exhibitors to over 71,000 retailers, suppliers, distributors, and press, a record high for NPEW.

The 2015 NPEW encouraged industry leaders, from Nature’s Path CEO Arran Stephens to NY Times best selling author and neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, to create discussions about the natural products including emerging brands, trends, ethics, and education. With press passes in hand, a handful of empty eco-friendly bags, and even emptier stomachs, the Good Solutions Group team scoured the Expo floors for the hottest natural products trends.

Here’s our summary of the biggest trends of EXPO.

NPEW 1

The Three C’s: Coconut, Chocolate, and Chia

It may not come to a surprise that dark chocolate, a delicious and antioxidant packed ingredient, appeared in many of the food products alongside coconut (in all its many forms). But Chia seems to be the newest addition, delivering consumers high fiber and protein content in a tiny (sometimes chocolate and coconut covered) package. Chia seeds, which were made a household name thanks to Mamma Chia‘s Chia beverage line, is now expanding its form from beverages to snacks, protein bars, and much much more.

The Three C’s Staff Favorite: Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

justins-mini-dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-cups

USDA Certified Organic and downright delicious, “Best of West” first place winner Justin’s introduced their newest product in the form of bite size dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Snag your bag here.

The Super Root: The Rise of Turmeric

While super fruits like Acai are still wildly popular within the natural products industry, a new emerging trend – the super root – is coming in full force. Established brands such as Numi and other emerging brands are embracing the rise of Turmeric by showcasing new lines of Turmeric teas and beverages. The Southeast Asian spice is known to contain antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect among its many other healing properties.

The Rise of Tumeric Staff Favorite: Tu Me

Tu Me Beverages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the only Turmeric infused sports drink, Tu Me offers a refreshing new twist on the traditional sports drink through its Berries, Citrus, and Mango flavors. Zesty and light, the Turmeric flavor compliments its tangy fruit counterparts. Grab your twelve pack here.

Natural Products for Natural Beauty

You don’t need harmful chemicals to have beautiful skin, hair, and nails. In the personal care department, the innovation lies not necessarily within the ingredients (remember, coconut is king), but with the system of delivery. From Biotin soft chews to Sea Buckthorn Berry capsules, these edible products strive to prove that beauty truly does come within.

Natural Products for Natural Beauty Staff Favorite: Neocell Biotin Bursts

neocell_biotinbursts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neocell’s Biotin Bursts get rid of the artificially sweetened, chalky flavor that most dietary supplements have. They are an enjoyable, simple, and quick way to get 10,000 MCG of Biotin, a complex B vitamin, into your daily routine for a naturally beautiful glow inside and out. Try it here.

Stay tuned for more news about Expo West.

 

Mar 10 ,2015

Cause At The Core: Dove Edition

At Good Solutions Group, we care. As one of the leading agencies in cause-marketing in the U.S., we’ve made it our mission to support causes that positively impact our communities and world. Join us in celebrating successful companies that care about causes too and strive to truly make a difference.

Cause At The Core: Dove Edition

Dove-Real-Beauty-Campaign

Company: Dove

Campaign: Real Beauty

Campaign Launch Date: September 2004

Campaign Accomplishments and Highlights: 

  • 2007: The Dove global study, Beauty Comes of Age, revealed that 91% of women ages 50–64 believe it is time for society to change its views about women and aging. The campaign celebrated the essence of women 50+—wrinkles, age spots, grey hair and all. It was brought to life through a communications campaign created with internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. When the Campaign for Real Beauty focused on the idea that girls are bombarded with unrealistic, unattainable images and images of beauty that impact their self-esteem, the brand teamed up with the entertainment industry to show that what girls see in movies and magazines represents an unrealistic standard of beauty.
  • 2011: Dove released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older.

Community Outreach Organization: Dove supports the work of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( Dove has created self-esteem- building, educational programs and activities that encourage, inspire and motivate girls around the world. )

Impact: Dove has reached over 7 million young women so far and set a global goal of reaching 15 million girls by 2015.

Website: http://www.dove.us

 

Mar 05 ,2015

Six Principals of a Successful Cause Marketing Program

Six Principals of a Successful Cause Marketing Program

Cause marketing is not just for do-good-ers.  Cause marketing can drive strong business results and ROI, while simultaneously signaling to your consumers and employees that you are the kind of company they want to be associated with. Good Solutions Group (GSG) CEO Shari Boyer has six principles that make for successful (and award winning) cause marketing programs.

1. Find a cause that resonates with your corporate culture and values.

Home page

The Odwalla Plant a Tree program is a great example.  In 2009, GSG connected Odwalla not only to its environmental roots, but also to lifestyles of health and sustainability, a demographic otherwise known as LOHAS, through an innovative program that allowed consumers to “plant” a tree in a state park by voting online.

2. Clearly state the result or goal of the cause campaign.

In the Odwalla Plant a Tree program example, Odwalla clearly stated the number of trees they would plant each year, if enough consumers visited the website.  And they did!  The program “sold out” of the trees within 2 weeks.

3. Local problems or issues resonate more than national.

The Plant a Tree program was successful because it allowed consumers to choose which state they wanted their tree planted in.  It made a difference in their backyard, not across the oceans, and far away.  Not that consumers don’t care about causes far away, but campaigns with local impact see strong results.

4. Educate the consumer about the cause.

In the Odwalla case, the website was full of fun and educational facts about the power of trees.  Consumers could learn about the cause, while they were voting.

Carbon offset

5. Engage all stakeholders

Cause programs shouldn’t sit in a silo, over in the Public Affairs Department.  Cause programs work best when they are integrated with a Retail Partner (critical for driving sales results), Employees (through volunteer events), Press, and Consumers.

6. And lastly, be positive and focus on the outcome.

You don’t have to be all gloom and doom about the problem, instead focus on the positive outcomes that your campaign can accomplish.

Check back for more examples of great cause marketing campaigns on the blog.