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Natural Products EXPO 2018

Mar 14 ,2018

Natural Products EXPO 2018

Natural Products EXPO at Anaheim Convention Center

 

Each year we are lucky enough to attend the Natural Products EXPO, the largest natural and organic products convention in the world.  Over 3,500 brands exhibit to over 85,000 attendees, making it quite an extravaganza of goodness.  It is fun to see what the veterans in the business are doing, but our favorite part of the show is the New Product Pavilion, where it is not uncommon to find the founder/maker of the product in their booth happily serving you a sample.

We know you care deeply about healthy natural food, so on with our report of what is new and trendy.

1.  GRAIN FREE

Yes, you know about gluten free, but now we have grain-free.  Books like The Plant Paradox, and Grain Brain have educated us that grains are not great for many of us, so finding products and entire companies that avoid grains is wonderful.  Some of our favorites now use cassava flour, or even cauli-flour to make tasty snacks without traditional wheat or grains.  We loved discovering Kitchun Grain Free Food Company, OHi Superfood Bar, Coco Thins, and TOSI Super Bites.

Gloriana Koll, Co-founder of Kitchun

OHi Grain Free Superfood Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coco-Thins Grain Free cookie crisps

TOSI grain free SuperBites

 

2.  PLANT POWER

Plants are in!  It was amazing the see the number of companies touting plant based ingredients, including plant protein, flour made from plants, and of course plant based drinks.  The gluten free, cauli-flour pizza from Caulipower was delicious, as was the pizza, and every single other item from Daiya foods, including the new coconut ice cream bars, and coconut yogurtDr. Praeger’s, a family owned business, was showcasing some of their new plant based foods, that were chock full of nutrients, and very delicious.  Note to moms of kids who don’t like vegetables: get your hands on their Kale Puffs.  In the drink department, we are huge fans of superherb company Rebbl, and all of the amazing drinks they produce.  Our favorites are Matcha Latte and Maca Mocha, but really they are all incredible tasting and good for you.  A new product that knocked our socks off was the Vive Organic line of wellness shots.  Super concentrated and potent, these shots will power you up for an active day.

Daiya gluten free, dairy free pizza

Dr. Praeger’s delicious Kale Puffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebbl Matcha Latte Super Herb Elixir

Vive Organic wellness shots

 

3.  CAUSE MARKETING

Though we didn’t see enough brands doing cause marketing, a few brands stood out.  Stonyfield Organic is encouraging you to vote, with founder Gary Hirshberg stepping back in to oversee this important mission.  Then there are a few companies that are building cause into their business model, such as This Bar Saves Lives.  They donate a food packet to Action Against Hunger for each bar purchased in the U.S., a total of 3.5 million packets so far.  We know cause is important to all consumers, but especially millennials, so we’d love to see more brands support causes, especially parks!

Stonyfield Organic is encouraging you to vote

 

This Bar Saves Lives donates food aid with each purchase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  WHERE’S THE MEAT?

Along with plant power, we are starting to see a lot of plant-based meat substitutes.  Beyond Meat offered an incredible tasting meatless sausage at the show, and the crowd was going crazy.

Meat free sausages that taste good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots and lots of other great products, but these are the ones that stood out to us.  Try something new on your next park adventure!

Mar 13 ,2018

Hollywood Movies, Glamorous Celebrities & Ads Galore

The memorable moments brought to us by the 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be felt for many weeks now that the awards have been given out and the parties are over. For the first time, we see the black community getting the recognition they deserve from the awards to inspiring commercials.

This year, Walmart made an impact by engaging viewers with a Dee Rees (director of Mudbound) directed sci-fi commercial in which a young woman is fighting a blob-like monster while an evil commander, played Mary J. Blige, gives orders. The two action stars, played by two little girls, are immersed in an imaginative game in a blue Walmart box while their mother, the monster, is telling them to go to bed.

Not only did this spot demand our attention and connect with us with it’s sweet demeanor, it also brought two lovely little black girls front and center in a sci-fi setting where they are rarely situated. This :60 spot is what we in the marketing community strive to create.

At GSG, our most important task is connecting with consumers in an authentic way in all of our cause marketing campaigns. The passion we have for making a difference in the world, inspiring community involvement and driving consumers to a brand that is doing good in the world moves us everyday. We’ve been lucky to lead campaigns that moved the audience and generated change. Check out some of our work here and reach out for our strategic guidance and campaign development.

Jan 31 ,2018

Does Your Brand Strategy Include Cause Marketing?

JULIAN, CA MARCH 7: Volunteers plant trees in a wildfire burn area at Paseo Picacho Park in Julian, CA on Saturday, March 7, 2009.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Odwalla

 

It is impossible not to notice the enormous challenges facing our world today, which is why it is imperative now more than ever to ensure your company is including cause marketing in your annual strategy.

Consumers, especially millennials, are no longer accepting a brand on name or status alone. They want to, and will, stand behind a brand that takes action to create change in the world. By engaging in social issues you can earn both trust and loyalty from your consumers.

Ensuring that your brand partners with the right cause is essential to the success of your campaign. A great example of this is the partnership GSG created for Odwalla and Parks.  The Plant a Tree program encouraged consumers to vote via a dedicated landing page for a state park they wanted to “plant” a tree in. For every vote, Odwalla donated $1 towards the purchase of trees which resulted in 450,000 trees planted! States parks also handed out healthy Odwalla Bars to park visitors to keep visitors fueled and ready.

If you don’t have a Cause Marketing strategy, it’s time you get one!  GSG has helped companies like Coca-Cola, The North Face, Columbia, and Subaru create or refine their cause marketing, and we can help you too!  Learn more here.

Dec 18 ,2017

It’s a Fact. What Your Consumers Expect of Your Brand.

In this rapidly evolving marketplace it is imperative to speak to your consumers in a way that moves them to action. 91% of consumers expect brands to prove a company is worthy of their business through good works and to operate responsibly socially and environmentally. 88% of consumers globally agree that a company taking specific actions can increase their profits and improve their communities socially and economically.

Today, it is imperative to not only produce a great product or service, but to show what your brand stands for. From environmental to social causes, companies globally are recognizing the impact their involvement in important issues can have on their brand. In fact, a massive 76% of companies are measuring and tracking the societal impacts of their investments and have begun using that data to inform their core programs.

Knowing that your consumers are more likely to support a product that had an accompanying social or environmental benefit verses 53% that boycotted a product from a company deemed irresponsible, should help influence your company to ensure cause marketing is included in your annual strategy.

Build a solid strategy in 2018 to reach the 66% of consumers who will pay more for products or services from companies committed to making a positive change. Good Solutions Group has been helping companies for over 15 years design, implement and track cause marketing initiatives. Our client list includes Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Subaru and The North Face to name a few. Reach out today to find out more about how we can help your company and brand grow in 2018.

Sources include: 2016 CECP Giving in Numbers Brief, 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, 2015 Nielsen Sustainability Imperative Study and Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study.

Feb 02 ,2017

Why Millennials Want your Brand to Invest in a Cause

 

Millennials Cause Marketing CSR GSG BlogWhy the sudden interest in causes? The growing interest in social causes is not so sudden, and definitely not temporary.

As the generation that grew up alongside the internet boom as well as the expansion of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and serious conversations about the environmental impact of consumerism, millennials care about how they impact the world around them. They see that big picture change starts with how they spend their dollars. That’s why some retail brands have found success with cause marketing, despite their for-profit models.  ‘Doing well and doing good’ is a mantra for millennials.

Social media has made it possible to have direct impact through seemingly ordinary purchases. These purchases make it easy, and convenient for consumers to make an impact. Efficiency is another reason why millennials are purchasing products and services that make it easier to do more. We’ve seen a growing trends in multipurpose tools such as tinted moisturizer and multimedia capable phones, and tools that just make life easier like “the cloud”. Brands must now offer solutions that serve the consumer and impact a social cause at the same time.  Millennials require brands to get involved purposefully, simply giving is no longer enough.

Purpose driven brands that integrate a cause into their business model like TOMS communicate their mission instantly, and exhibit authenticity. (Read more about purpose driven brands.)

Why does this lie on the shoulders of brand and not government? Millennials believe businesses have financial and technological resources to make change happen”, and millennials want to be involved. In return, millennials “reward brands that behave like good citizens with loyalty and positive word of mouth”.

Millennials are already using tools at hand like social media trying to be part of the solution. Viral campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge allowed millennials to do good by participating from anywhere in the world, as long as they posted their videos on social media. Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average and 9 out of 10 are likely to switch to brands involved with causes.

Tired of hearing about millennials yet? Get ready to hear more for many, many years to come. Millennials are now the “largest living generation” in America and also represent the largest generation in the labor force. As their spending power increases, so must our attention.

And if just by chance you were planning on sitting this one out while the social cause phase passes on through, we’re warning you now, social causes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, Generation Z (Anyone under 20 years old as of now) shares similar views concerning social causes as their predecessors. Cause marketing now requires long term attention and thoughtful involvement from brands like yours.

Here are some model campaigns doing it right.

 

Jan 10 ,2017

Best Cause Marketing Campaigns of 2016

REI opt Outside Cause Marketing

Now that 2016 is behind us, let’s take a look at campaigns we can learn from going into 2017.

REI “Opt Outside” 

As park advocates, any campaign promoting park exploration and encouraging active lifestyles warm our hearts.REI listened to consumers’ concerns over commercialization of holiday festivities, and came up with an alternative: ditch the shopping and head outdoors. Although at first glance this may sound counter-productive for a retail brand, it did just what it intended to do: gave consumers a break from consumerism in favor of reconnecting with the outdoors. REI’s brand depends on consumers’ active lifestyles, and by encouraging people to go outside it can increase their need for more outdoor gear, and helps them to become advocates for our public lands. This campaign has been running since 2015 and consistently sparks media interest and loads of engagement across social media. The “Opt Outside” campaign not only targeted consumers, it also involved one other important group – REI employees. Employees were given Black Friday off as REI closed its stores, and they were encouraged to explore the outdoors and share photos on social media, generating plenty of positive social media activity with people in outdoor spaces representing REI.

Key takeaway: Big picture strategy. Too often brands can get drawn in by the temptation to make a sale, and can miss the big picture: sometimes it’s just as important to tap into culture and be part of the conversation. This isn’t guaranteed to lead to direct or immediate sales, but it definitely helps build brand image and loyalty among consumers, which is much harder to capture than a quickie sale on Black Friday.

Columbia “Gear Up Give Back”

Columbia’s cause marketing campaign donated a percentage of sales to local conservation causes, and also partnered with nonprofits to educate shoppers in stores. Shoppers were invited to columbia cause marketing good solutions group marketing agency “Gear Up, Give Back” and could help raise funds simply by making a regular purchase (no extra donations necessary). The campaign resulted in a significant traffic and sales lift and strengthened Columbia’s relationship with popular local non-profits.

Key takeaway: Bring the cause to your consumers  Consumers want to help, but want it to be easy and accessible.  According to a 2014 study by MSL Group, 69% of millennials worldwide want businesses to facilitate their involvement in addressing social challenges. Campaigns must not only be tied to a cause, but should make it easy for consumers to take part.

Walgreens “Red Nose Day” 

Red Nose Day introduced a lighter side to a heavy cause: children’s poverty. Walgreens made fundraising, well, “fun” and kept it light. Red noses were sold across Walgreens stores for $1.00 (how can you not buy one of these and post a selfie?) making it incredibly easy for consumers to get involved. In addition, featured red products were prominently displayed on a dedicated shelf so that customers could purchase additional items that would contribute more funds to the cause.Walgreens Red Nose Day Cause Marketing Campaign

Key Takeaway: Make it fun!  Poverty is a health issue which is relevant to Walgreen’s business mission to ‘Champion Everyone’s Right to be Healthy and Happy’, but that doesn’t mean the campaign can’t be fun. The comedic twist on things is unexpected and inviting. This campaign did an excellent job at facilitating consumer involvement and engagement, and raised over $31.5 million for the cause.

Our favorite campaigns of 2016 stood out, and taught us something. How can you set yourself apart while bringing your cause closer to your consumers this year?  We’d be happy to help!  Reach out at mgrzelecki@goodsolutionsgroup.com to learn more.

Jul 21 ,2016

Why Content Marketing is Essential for Cause Marketing Success

While it’s true that some of the hype around content marketing has taken a back seat to current marketing trends such as social media reach, influencer advertising, and mobile application advertising, the success of most long term marketing strategies still heavily relies on content marketing, including cause marketing. Here’s how:

Good Solutions Group Cause Marketing Content MarketingDemonstration of Long-Term Commitment
In order for audiences to be able to understand and believe in a brand’s commitment to a social cause, they have to see consistent cause-driven messages on more than one campaign. Inconsistency can indicate inauthenticity, so in order to gain credibility, your website, social media, newsletters and product packaging should all communicate the essence of your cause marketing campaign. Evaluate every platform available to see how you incorporate a tie in to your cause. Messaging should not cloud the brand feel or main mission, but enhance it, same as a well-chosen Cause should.

Accessible Information
Content marketing lets people find the information they want to find easily and readily. The information they seek should be accessible in the least amount of clicks possible, whether they’ve landed on your Instagram profile or are browsing your website. Information about your brand’s involvement in a cause shouldn’t be hard to find. In between campaigns, audiences should be able to easily access information about past events, causes and impact. Let consumers know that your cause is part of your brand mission and make a clear connection to communities they care about.

Efficiency
Using content marketing techniques to strengthen your cause marketing is also incredibly efficient. You are already using effective communications tools (we hope!), so make it a point to maximize your cause marketing messages where you are already reaching your audience. Here are some suggestions:

A. Social Media
If you’re doing social media correctly, you’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who your audience is, when, where and how to reach them, and what content encourages engagement. Social media algorithms take into account content type and presentation, including trending news, keywords, and multimedia elements, in addition to user interest and engagement rates. By applying content marketing techniques such as SEO to social media posts, your web and social media traffic can grow and you can gain more awareness of your cause and impact.

B. Blog Writing
Blogs are still powerful tools for sharing your company’s voice, whether it be about your product, your cause, or statements on current industry events and news. By coupling your blog strategy with your cause campaign, your brand can inform your online audience about your commitment to and impact on the cause. The best thing about blogs is that you are the publisher, so you can decide to share whatever content you want! You can use your blog for releasing a quarterly statement from your CEO with progress updates on cause marketing efforts, teasers on what to look forward to, or even a more digestible version of business news. From marketing case studies of your campaign to event recaps filled with campaign photos, the possibilities are best online casino endless. Don’t forget to add social share links so your cause marketing campaign posts can easily be shared onto your readers’ favorite platforms.

C. Company Newsletters
In addition to being used for more formal purposes like company updates, mini feature stories and upcoming events, newsletters are a great resource for encouraging stakeholder involvement. If the cause you’ve committed to truly resonates with your brand, it only makes sense that the employees, customers and other stakeholders will want to hear of your accomplishments, progress, and even how they can get involved. From recruiting event volunteers to social sharing, newsletters can help reach populations that could potentially be your biggest advocates.

Cause marketing is a powerful tool for building your brand, communicating your cause, and enhancing your brand outreach. Want to learn more? GSG has helped large and small brands  build and run cause marketing campaigns. Reach out to learn how we can help you too.