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Education And Training

The CSI Collaborative with Marketing

How many times do you see incredible CSI initiatives by leading organisations and notice a disconnect when it comes to the marketing of their products and services?

It is very hard to take a brand seriously when they are doing good initiatives and yet superficial promotions that have no significance or impact and relevant to a few.

Let me give you an example without naming any specific brand.   On the ground, a brand is teaching a community how to fish, so they can sustain their own lives by giving them the skill of farming.  This brand then buys tomatoes, onions and lettuce from the community at a competitive price and distribute this through restaurant chains.  Big Thumbs up!

Marketing then needs to propel the business forward commercially and come up with a campaign to drive sales.  We then tend to see, the What and How, but never the Why?

The campaign becomes competition driven and the prizes seem meaningless and completely disconnected from the good work the CSI Initiatives teams are doing on the ground.

This is what we see most of the time:

Buy our product, enter the competition to stand a chance to win a hamper and SMS your keyword WIN to 31234 (R1.50 per entry)

This is going to cost the consumer airtime to enter their competition and chances are they will not win.  If they do win, they can’t WIN a prize for the next 6 months?

What if this person won R5 airtime from their previous promotion and they don’t realise that?

Statistically if the prizes are high, consumers will do up to 2,000 entries at R1.50 , hoping to win?

Why not do this instead:

 Buy our product, enter your bar code or unique number by dialing 134*123# for FREE

(One entry per person)

By entering you could win Solar Heating installation for you home and for a charity of your choice.  We will also donate R5 per purchase to Farming Skills Development in rural areas and you can follow the impact we are making on our website.

There is something far more powerful by giving consumers a voice, allow them to co-create with you and give them a sense of purpose when they are supporting your products.  Especially when offering competitions of any sort, consumers should not be paying to enter and their frequency of entering should be managed by the brand.

The revelation is that many of the prizes we offer to our customers are not appealing, and it will have far more weight if you use the “carrot” to make an impact.

A human insight is that we all believe that we have a purpose on this planet.  We are all seeking to solve problems within our own lives and those around us and sometimes we need a little help by embracing the spirit of Übuntu” by supporting brands that all about making a difference.

I urge CSI Departments and Marketing Departments to start more collaborative initiatives and co-create with our communities to push the human-race forward.  When these things are done in isolation from one another we are compromising the brands power to make an impact.

I close off with my favourite African Proverb:

IF you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

Written by Carmen Murray

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