Cause Related Marketing

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Cause Related Marketing

In her excellent book ‘Cause Related Marketing – Who Cares Win’, Sue Adkins rightly describes cause-related marketing as a highly effective way to build your company’s brand, to reinforce, demonstrate and bring life to corporate values and to make corporate social responsibility and corporate community investment visible.


The many case studies clearly show how cause-related marketing can successfully contribute to the overall development and enhancement of corporate reputation. There have been many examples in the UK, not least Tesco’s highly successful ‘Computers for Schools’ customer engagement campaign. Cause-related marketing is not a panacea, but it can have a significant impact. Like any other marketing activity it must be well planned and then implemented with great care.


Case study: The Royal British Legion/Coventry Building Society

It’s rare for a financial product to guarantee great returns for individuals and give something significant to a good cause, but that’s what we continue to achieve with the affinity partnership we created between the Coventry Building Society and The Royal British Legion.

This has always been a classic cause related marketing campaign involving small, dedicated marketing teams from both organisations. The latest work for this highly successful affinity partnership was the development of 2 bespoke ‘Poppy Bond’ savings products, involving 1-year and 2-year fixed rate bonds. These new products were also distributed for the first time via the branch network of the Stroud & Swindon Building Society (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Coventry).


The cause related marketing was launched on 1 November 2010 to coincide with the Remembrance period and the Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal. By the end of December, an amazing new donation in excess of £0.5 million was generated for the Poppy Appeal by the general public investing in these Poppy branded products following a national direct response multi-media campaign, in-branch promotions and a major PR offensive.

Both versions of ‘Poppy Bond’ offered a highly competitive guaranteed rate of interest to investors (3.5% and 3.11% respectively). In addition, for every Poppy Bond opened, the Coventry made a donation equal to the balance invested direct to The Poppy Appeal (equal to 0.20% and 0.10% respectively) to help those with real needs. So, by way of an example, an individual who invested £20,000 in the 2-year version of Poppy Bond would have generated a donation of £40 from the Coventry to the Poppy Appeal.


In our view this is an outstanding and ground breaking example of a successful affinity partnership between a leading financial services organisation and a well known and respected UK charity. Like many charities, The Royal British Legion has many affinity partnerships with organisations in the corporate sector. Since October 2008 the campaign work for this superb affinity partnership with the Coventry Building Society has generated an overall donation for the Poppy Appeal in excess of £8.6m, making it by far the most successful affinity partnership for both organisations.

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