Today's transparent social media environment has dramatically shifted the rules of "doing good business," and global marketing organizations are evolving to address new challenges and opportunities. The assumption of responsibility and the adoption of greater transparency are now critical to how any brand or business plays its proper role in society.

Yet, is a mix of charitable giving, CSR programs, and "green" initiatives enough for the demands of consumers in an Age of Transparency? More companies are embracing big, sustainable ideas that demonstrate true marketing innovation. Their goal is to deeply connect with their customers' passions and values. When done right, business growth is often a result, as is making a world of difference.

This new way of working truly represents a global revolution in marketing objectives and possibilities.

CLICK HERE for the Summary of the Marketing Makes a World of Difference Think Tank featuring Unilever, Vestas Wind Energy, Digicel and Terracycle.

What, Where & When


We’ll highlight Ten Top Case Studies in May in New York by-invitation marketer event atop Three Times Square.
We’re looking for work that defines a new marketing thinking that contributes to literally doing good, while contributing to brand growth and demonstrating the importance of the marketing function within the corporation. 

2016 Case Study Winners

Accenture, Being Greater Than submitted by TBWA (USA)

Accenture announced a company goal of increasing the percentage of women in its workforce, while promoting greater gender equality and specifically gender pay equality. To help achieve this goal, the company created Being Greater Than content campaign, showcasing inspiring stories about Accenture women on The Huffington Post and accenture.com. Being Greater Than program exemplifies our company’s deep commitment to gender equality around the world and to the idea that equality and inclusion are not merely best practices but, rather, critical imperatives for competing and performing at the highest levels.

Ben & Jerry’s, Too Hot to Handle submitted by The Guardian/Guardian Labs (USA)

The Guardian, with its roots in the UK, aims to be the sustainability leader within the media industry and to be environmentally regenerative in its activities. In the lead up to the UN Climate Summit, the Guardian and Ben and Jerry’s collaborated on a unique content campaign called Too Hot to Handle, which encourages readers to take a lighter look at the dark problem of climate change. Too Hot to Handle has become the single biggest climate change-driven content campaign to date. It saw a significant increase in positive social sentiment and lift in the reputation of the brand through the duration of the campaign.

Emerson, I Love STEM submitted by DDB Chicago (USA)

Leveraging its 125th anniversary as an opportunity to accelerate change, Emerson launched a campaign focused on the future: I Love STEM. The campaign aimed to capture the excitement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to define Emerson to both new and existing audiences, with particular emphasis on science-minded youth – the company’s future employees, customers and investors.

I Love STEM provided an opportunity for Emerson to show up in unexpected ways, including a partnership with YouTube star and self-proclaimed “science nerd,” Hank Green. This broadened Emerson’s ability to touch and inspire younger audiences and future engineers. As a result, Emerson saw a 9.7% increase in resume submissions via to its online career page.

Google, The Voice submitted by OMD Taipei (Taiwan)

People in Taiwan know Google as an information search engine platform, but could it give people the power to rewrite their future?

The Voice campaign demonstrated how a Google-owned asset could centralize users’ voices and return power to the audience during Taiwan's 2016 Presidential Election. For the first time, social voice played a decisive role in a presidential election to sway the future of a country. This campaign demonstrated how to empower people through a media strategy that prioritized audience reach and quality. Google created a neutral hub for election information and a platform to help citizens speak up and ask any question to the presidential candidates-- ultimately making it irresistible to join the campaign.

Google created a positive, meaningful impact on the citizens of Taiwan, while also demonstrating the magnitude and reach of Google’s resources.

Hammock Boutique, Yucatán Mexico

Hammock Boutique is a small business in Yucatan, Mexico committed to providing a sustainable business model to 700 weavers, providing the raw materials to weave custom-made hammocks. Today, the hammocks are sold in Lowe’s after the retailer’s Supplier Diversity team recognized strong sales activity through the Hammock Boutique website. Craftsmen are indigenous Mayans—90% women, all of whom work from home, so they can earn wages and take care of children, while avoiding the cost and time of a commute to work.

Hammock Boutique helped create Fundación Cielo, which works to increase health, educational, and leadership opportunities for local children of Hammock Boutique’s weavers. By providing these services to the community, the Foundation hopes to break the cycle of poverty affecting many citizens in the region. The focus of giving back to the Mayan community in a long-lasting and impactful way represents the core values of the founders, but also a new vision of doing business. Hammock Boutique is not just a hammock company, but an instrument of change. When someone makes a purchase, they directly support Mayan artists and their families, while allowing the tradition of hammock weaving to be preserved.

MasterCard India #PowerofOne submitted by Digital Arts Network (Singapore)

The #PowerofOne campaign was built on a simple premise: Find a local insight that is meaningful and harness the power of social listening to identify meaningful conversations. Then empower consumers to be an integral part of the brand conversation. By leveraging technology and trends, the campaign created relevant conversations around the idea of a #PowerOfOne individual who has contributed to India’s progress—no matter how big or small.

With the campaign slated to run during the Independence Day period—one of India’s largest national holidays, MasterCard decided to give people a chance to celebrate their unsung heroes through a contest. The winning entry was a story submitted by Mrs Jashanjit Malhi, founder of the Sparsh Foundation—a self-funded organization based in Gurgaon, Delhi. Dedicated to helping hundreds of needy children every week, the foundation provides them with education, food and regular health checkups. Mrs Jashanjit Malhi’s unwavering efforts and selfless devotion have enabled countless children dream of a bigger, better and brighter future.

The grand prize—an award of 18,000 USD (12 Lakh Rupees) to further her cause-- was presented to Mrs. Malhi as a MasterCard Priceless Surprise on Independence Day by Bollywood celebrity, Anil Kapoor.

MasterCard International Stand Up to Cancer submitted by Carat (USA)

With reduced media budget, but a steady target of $4MM in donations, the campaign was placed into the hands of the people who could make the biggest difference– everyday people whose loved ones had been affected by cancer. By tapping insights at the core of people’s motivations to support cancer research, we empowered an army of advocates to #StandUp4 someone they love and drive unprecedented campaign metrics and results.

Nacional Monte de Piedad, Sensus—The Universe in His Eyes submitted by Havas Sports & Entertainment (Mexico)

Nacional Monte de Piedad, a pawnshop that has been providing low interest loans to Mexicans since 1774 with all its profits going to charity, had a threefold agenda: 1.) Bring awareness to the visually impaired (Mexico’s second largest disability), 2.) Prevent the high number of children with poor eyesight from low income families from dropping out of school because they cannot afford glasses, and 3.) Create notice for Nacional Monte Piedad’s charitable work.

Sensus was created as the first comic book in Braille and with traditional drawings, so everyone could read it. Written by a visually impaired comic book writer, it was the first of its kind. The comic books were sold through dedicated and specialized channel (Comic stores), at comic events (Comic-Con), via a travelling pop-up store, and through bookstores and online media. Social media influencers spread the word. With each comic book sale, one pair of glasses was donated to a low income child in need.

National Institute for Blood Transfusion—Romania, #PaywithBlood submitted by UM (Romania)

Romania was in crisis, ranking second to last in Europe for active blood donors. Only 1.7% of the population donated blood, and blood banks were running so low that doctors were forced to cancel operations. Young people in particular were ignoring this important cause, only 0.2% had ever given blood.

Taking place in Cluj-Napoca, recently named the “Youth Capital of Europe,” Untold is Romania’s largest music festival and one of the most talked about events of the summer. Untold was the place where every teenager wanted to be, and they would do anything to get there. Even give their own blood. The National Institute for Blood Transfusion offered one free ticket in exchange for one blood donation. A participant just had to register and donate at one of 42 National Blood Centers. The tourniquet used while giving blood became their festival wristband.

For the first time, young people started donating blood. Almost 2,000 people donated blood in just two weeks – ten times the average summer number. Demand for wristbands was so high, transfusion centers had to extend their opening hours. Since the campaign, 3,192 lives have been saved with blood transfusions.

NIDO (Nestlé), Mother to a Generation submitted by MEC Dubai (UAE)

There’s a generation of children in the Middle East who are struggling with poor nutrition. The situation is so widespread that it’s virtually impossible for just an individual mother to make a difference. NIDO launched “Be a Mum to a healthier generation”, an initiative that allowed mothers to provide nourishment to children by the simple, selfless act of taking a pledge.

On Nidolove.com or social media, she could upload an image of her hand with a heart drawn on it, and 7 glasses of NIDO Fortigrow would be donated to children who need it. The hand represents the caring acts that a mom does for her children, while the heart, a long-time NIDO brand asset, symbolizes the impact that she and NIDO’s love can have to enhance these acts.

People overwhelmingly responded with 1.7MM+ pledges! This is the highest engagement in NIDO’s 70 year history, and a tremendous boost to childhood malnutrition. And despite still being outspent by the competition by 34%, NIDO increased to 96% purchase consideration, gained 35% incremental sales and boosted to 53.3% Market share across the region—all attributable to the pledge campaign.

Rin (Hindustan Unilever), RIN Career Ready Academy submitted by PHD India (India)

Over 8500 users have completed the entire mobile course, and are on their way to greater opportunities. All receive a formal course completion certificate endorsed by Rin and British Council. RIN CAREER READY ACADEMY helped rural women in India develop their social skills as a first step to a brighter future, but the program was also a huge step for womankind.

Stella Artois, Buy a Lady a Drink submitted by MediaCom (USA)

Seven hundred fifty million people around the globe lack access to clean water. This issue disproportionately affects women who spend 200 million hours/day collecting water, which prevents them from providing for their family in other ways. Without access to clean water, Stella Artois would not have its 600-year brewing legacy. Stella Artois partnered with Water.org to create a new legacy, changing the lives of women around the world with “Buy A Lady a Drink” (BALAD). Through BALAD, every limited-edition Stella Artois chalice sold provides 5 years’ worth of clean drinking water to a woman and her family in the developing world.

The dress-as-living-media campaign was an Oscar-worthy success. The activation generated a 25% increase in special edition chalices sales in just two days. For every chalice sold, Stella Artois enabled Water.org to provide five years of clean water for one person in the developing world.

"These go beyond CSR; they represent new business models. The role of marketing is still to create future demand for products and services. Today, marketing also drives new programs for new generations. Marketers must be at the forefront of the business—thinking 5, 10 or even 15 years ahead of the sales cycle.”—Morten Albaek

The criteria for
judging the case studies
for Marketing Makes
a World of Difference.

1. Outline the marketing situation to which the program responded.

2. Describe the critical insight or insights that became the foundation for the program.

3. How was marketing's role central to this initiative?

4. Tell us about key tactics employed and why they may be considered pioneering.

5. How did the program impact people's lives or their quality of life?

6. How did the program positively affect the brand or change attitudes toward the brand?

7. Discuss how the success of the project and how it was measured. For example, did it engender brand growth, impact the bottom line, or create a new business model?

8. Describe how this program may be a template for other markets or exemplify worldwide best practices.

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