Has traditional campaign marketing become secondary to CSR?

The promotion of PepsiCo's Salman Amin, lauded for his strong focus on carbon-reduction and anti-obesity activity, has led some to argue that the campaign-led approach has been superseded

No

 

Jenelle Tilling, vice-president of marketing, KFC

 

In my view, they should be integrated for marketing to be truly effective.

CSR used to be an afterthought once a marketing strategy had been created. Now, however, in one form or another, it is at the forefront of most successful marketers' minds when developing
new campaigns.

Consumers are growing more savvy, and their power is at an all-time high. In a crowded marketplace, they now expect good quality and great service as a starting point. No brand can afford to take loyalty for granted.

A socially, environmentally and morally responsible approach is also increasingly expected to be standard, and as a result, CSR is becoming more mainstream. Great marketers recognise how it can help create customer loyalty based on distinctive ethical values.

However, it must be clear that CSR is being lived within the company behind the product. These same savvy consumers can spot greenwash a mile off, and will vote with their feet.

 

No

 

Philip Almond, Global brand director, Baileys

 

Campaign-led marketing does not need to be seen as a juxtaposition to corporate social responsibility. It is possible to prioritise both, and even in some cases, to weave both together.

The experience of developing more traditional marketing campaigns can be essential to creating meaningful social-responsibility projects. The industry-wide Campaign for Smarter Drinking, which launched last week, was developed in the same way as a traditional brand campaign, using consumer insights and industry marketing expertise.

I also believe it is possible to integrate social responsibility messaging with brand-led campaigns. For exam­ple, Johnnie Walker's sponsorship of Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes conveys the responsible-drinking message of ‘winners always stay in control'.

In the 21st century, the two types of campaigns should no longer be seen as separate. Corporate social responsibility can benefit hugely from marketing, and marketers should embrace ways to integrate them.

 

No

Christian Woolfenden, Global marketing manager, Bacardi

Some things will never go out of fash­ion, and ‘sky is falling' headlines about ‘traditional' marketing is one of them.

The question of traditional cam­paigning vs CSR is the wrong question to ask, and misses the point entirely. Campaigns are our way of communi­cating brand equity to the consumer, and this will never change. However, the tools we use to connect do change, and this is where CSR plays a role.

It must be relevant for the consumer and the brand, but it shouldn't be viewed as a separate entity. It is part of the mix.

Take the ‘Inspired by babies - created by Pampers' campaign. When Pampers teamed up with UNICEF for the ‘One pack, one vaccination' pro­gramme, I'm pretty sure the question of traditional campaign vs CSR did not come up. Why? Because the brand and CSR message perfectly complemented one another.

Rather than worry about the impact of CSR on ‘traditional' marketing, we should be asking how to ensure that CSR remains a credible territory, as claims such as ‘greenwashing' grow.

 

No

Mike Welsh, Chief executive, Publicis Dialog

Most of the world's big corporations undertake CSR projects because they have to, not because they want to. At worst, they're another box to tick, at best, they're done for vanity's sake -
a bit like sponsoring the ballet.

Even when the intention is genuine, there's still the challenge of showing how, by fulfilling a brand's social obli­gations, you can deliver shareholder value, or (more importantly) bonuses.

Consumers can tell the difference between posturing, and beha­viour that is guided by real principles and beliefs. This often comes from lead­ers whose motivation is both to make money and make the world a better place.

Honda hits the right CSR/campaign balance. Its FCX Clarity hydrogen car emits only water, yet can do 0-60 in less than nine seconds. But its development is neither eco-la-la or box-ticking. It's simply about ensuring there's money to be made in car manufacturing once the oil runs out. It will also do considerably less damage to our planet. Clever stuff.

 

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