What Google and WWE can Teach Event Planners About Effective CSR

In 2015, Google launched its Building a Better Bay Area campaign by investing more than $5 million into non-profit organizations in the area, with a unique twist.

Rather than allocating the money themselves, the company installed large, interactive posters in public places, allowing the general public to decide where to send the money. This allowed people to take the time out of their day to learn about some local causes and feel as though they were making a difference without spending a dime—although the familiarity and warm feelings often led to individual contributions as well.

Similarly, major sports and entertainment giants like the National Football League and WWE have embraced the breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Within the NFL, gestures have included pink ribbons on the ball, pink cleats, wristbands, gloves and towels, as well as the sale of pink merchandise, with the proceeds going to the charity. In WWE, the company turns one of its wrestling ring ropes pink for the month and sells pink versions of company merchandise.

What can we learn from these massive marketing successes about incorporating corporate philanthropy into the experiences we design at live events?

1. Make it Visual

Fundraising doesn’t have to be pink (or even a color). Pink is just one example of how philanthropy can be compellingly and tastefully woven into an event. Visuals are a fun way to emphasize the theme.

2. Make it Fun

A theme can also be communicated through other modes of entertainment such as speakers, videos, activities and more. A consistent message delivered in a way that delights will stick with the audience.

3. Make it Interactive

The crowdsourcing in Google’s campaign and the call to support the cause by buying pink water bottles helps an audience feel invested in the cause. The purpose behind any experiential marketing campaign is to bring customers closer to a brand, allowing them to immerse themselves in a memorable event or experience. This consequently builds a positive association for the customer, who will link the brand to a positive memory engineered by you for a greater good.

Experiential Philanthropy Doesn’t Have to be Hard

Meeting and event planners are compelled to be wizards at lots of things. But in a world where every event has the latest gizmos, crafting experiences that stand out can be challenging. One solution is to work with an exhibition design company that specializes in creating this type of interactive experiential marketing to generate positive interactions, while allowing your organization to fulfill its social responsibilities.

“Increasingly, consumers are looking for solutions to their anxieties about making the globalized world a better place,” Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan write in their bookMarketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit. “In a world full of confusion, they search for companies that address their deepest needs for social, environmental and economic justice.”

Incorporating a philanthropic cause into your meeting or event is a win-win-win situation. It endows attendees with a better sense of purpose, immediately makes your event more desirable (therefore successful) and, most importantly, helps your cause get the attention and resources it needs.

Reno Macri is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, a leading exhibition and event company, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office refurbishment, event branding, modular exhibition stands and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.


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