#TextGen Episode 9 Interview Bruce Burtch

James Martin
Published on | 
May 25, 2021
#TextGen Episode 9  Interview Bruce Burtch


In this episode, Bruce Burtch joins us and shares his wisdom and vast experiences in Cause Marketing.

For over 30 years, Bruce has helped for-profit and nonprofit organizations develop win-win partnerships which maximize their strategic marketing and fund development success. A nationally recognized cause marketing expert, he designed the most successful campaign on emergency preparedness in the country through a partnership between Pacific Gas & Electric and the American Red Cross, raising over $1Million, garnering over $3Million in earned media, resulting in an unprecedented 1,000,000 people being trained.

In fact, Bruce is referred to as the Father of Cause Marketing.

After spending some time with him and hearing his story, there is no doubt why. Bruce is very generous with his time and shares some valuable insights with us. You can also access the free resources he references at his site bruceburtch.com.

Join us to learn more about Cause Marketing and why it matters so much to our success as nonprofit leaders.


#TextGen Podcast

James (00:09):

Hello, and welcome back to #TextGen. In this episode, we have a special guest, Bruce Birch. Now, Bruce is called ''The Father of Cause Marketing'' by The Cause Marketing Forum. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a pioneer and leading expert in the field of cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing. Recognized as the world's first cause marketing campaign in 1976, Bruce designed a record-breaking cross sector promotional and fundraising campaign that raised 2.5 million for the March of Dimes in a partnership with the Marriott Corporation. That's 1976, $2.5 million. Incredible. Now, Bruce is very generous with his time today on our episode. He's going to go into a couple of things as to how to bring alignment into cost marketing, how to make it work. He's going to provide a resource, a free resource, that you can use to really list out the benefits, both to the non-profit and the for-profit, give us some tips that he has learned over his impressive career as to ways to approach a for-profit to develop a cause marketing campaign, talk about some of the data and statistics to support that. Really, as I said, very generous with his time. Here's Bruce Birch, and look forward to our time.

James (01:17):

Hello. Welcome back to #TextGen. In this episode, I'm super excited to introduce you to Bruce Birch. He is the ''The Father of Cause Marketing''. Now, let me set this up a little bit with an introduction, and then, Bruce, I'm going to switch it over to you and let you do the talking, because you're you're the father of cause marketing year here today.

Bruce (01:34):


James (01:34):

You're referred ''The Father of Cause Marketing'' by The Cause Marketing Forum, and then you're recognized nationally and internationally as a pioneer and lead expert in the field of cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing, which I know there's a lot there to unpack. I want to get into that a bit with you, just marketing a multi-billion dollar annual industry, which is a big deal. I mean, that's a lot of money. And you're called ''The Father of Cause Marketing''. So unpack that. How did that distinction come about? Why do we call you ''The Father of Cause Marketing''?

Bruce (02:07):

Well, it makes me feel really old when I hear that. It sounds like George Washington or something, James.

James (02:11):


Bruce (02:11):

This all started in 1975. I was hired by Marriott Corporation to come to California. I was in Ohio. My job, at 25, was to open the largest project in the history, which was an entertainment complex called Marriott's Great America in Santa Clara, California. Marriott had no name out here. So here I am, 25, trying to start the PR for this program. I thought, ''You know, it would make a lot of sense would be to find someone who had a really strong reputation in our Western region marketing area and kind of piggyback a little bit on their reputation. So I looked at many different non-profits. Marriott, as you probably know, the audience probably knows, is very family-oriented. It started by the Marriotts and a Mormon family.

James (02:58):


Bruce (02:58):

They're very family-oriented. After about 20 interviews, I met with the March of Dimes. There was a real strong alignment there, which is something we can talk about, the importance of alignment, because the March of Dimes was family-oriented - children's diseases. They were looking to raise more money, of course, for their cause. Marriott was looking to raise people coming into their new entertainment complex. So I sat down with Jean, who was their director of chapters west, which is sort of the 17 Western states.

James (03:25):


Bruce (03:25):

And I said, ''Okay, what do you need?'' And he told me. And he said, ''What do you need?'' And I told him. So we formed a partnership. [We] just put all of our cards on the table and said, ''This is what we need'', went right into it with a value of trust. In 1976, when the theme park opened, we were doing a promotion in 67 cities and 17 Western states, which is where March of Dimes has their walk-a-thons.

Bruce (03:55):

At the end of that first year, Marriott's Great America opened with the largest attendance in the history of a regionally marketed theme park. We have Busch Gardens, King's Island, Cedar Point, not like a Disney, which is different. But the March of Dimes raised $2.5 million. That's a lot of money in 1976.

James (04:22):

Two point five million dollars.

Bruce (04:22):

Million dollars. It was 40% more money than it ever been raised in the hitch history of March of Dimes, 40% more for a regionally marketed program. When I stepped back and I said, ''Well, why did this work?'' It worked because we put our goals and our agendas and we were very open and honest and trusting about that. Well, at the time, what's now called Engaged for Good, was called The Cause Marketing Forum. There wasn't even a business of cause marketing in 1976. But when they came along and they looked back over where did this industry come from, they recognize that this partnership between March of Dimes and Marriott was the first cause marketing program in history. So in an article, they dubbed me ''The Father of Cause Marketing''. So we're going back a few years, but that's where the term came from.

James (05:14):

Well, you help bring the benefits of being the father of anything, as you've defined it. I want to hear it right from your lips, how do you define the term ''cause marketing''? I love you to unpack that for our audience and give us a definition here that we can work with.

Bruce (05:27):

Cause marketing differs a little bit from cross-sector partnerships, what we can talk about. But cause marketing is that, it's a partnership between a non-profit and a for-profit, focused on a cause and focused on the greater good. That's really important, that there's a focus on something beyond just the partnerships. Usually, for the for-profits, they're looking to sell their products and services, they're looking to create employee goodwill, they're looking to generate media awareness. So by working with a non-profit, they can get a lot of benefit from that. The non-profit, of course, is looking to raise funding. They're looking to get some corporate relations with other corporations they don't know that their partner may have, they're looking to get employees from the corporation to volunteer for the non-profit. So there's a whole list of things. We've got some areas we can talk about later, but the bottom line is, cards' on the table, fully trusting partnership. It's not about, ''Let's benefit the non-profit'', or ''Let's benefit the for-profits.'' How can we work together for the greater good? That, in my opinion, is what true cause marketing is.

James (06:36):

Yeah. it sounds like a partnership working together, really not just for the for-profit or the non-profit, but really in synergy.

Bruce (06:43):


James (06:43):

Okay. Can you give us an example of a cause marketing campaign?

Bruce (06:49):

Yeah, there's a lot of them, but I'm going to go into my history a little bit. Several years ago, I was the director of marketing and communications for the American Red Cross for the Bay Area. Pacific Gas Electric, which is our large utility here in California, they were very concerned about what happens in an earthquake. Do they turn off the gas? Do they run out of the house? All the things that a utility would be concerned about. The Red Cross, of course, had training about earthquake safety. It had earthquake preparedness kits, it taught CPR. So there was a real serious alignment - and this keyword, alignment - between the for-profit, PG&E; and the non-profit, American Red Cross. I brought the two together and formed what was called Prepare Bay Area. We got a three-year, $1 million grant from PG&E which, importantly, allowed us to hire two full-time staff people.

Bruce (07:48):

So we didn't have to tap all the staff of the Red Cross. We did tap into their volunteers. PG&E provided the funding; American red cross provided the personnel and the training. We did some really outrageous things. I mean, I'm kind of from that right-brain creative, try to balance it off with left-brain practical side.

James (08:16):

I love it.

Bruce (08:16):

For example, we did these mobile billboards. These were on the back of trucks. We parked one right in the middle of market street, downtown San Francisco. If you're normally standing there, if you look this way, you saw the Ferry Building, very iconic building census. If you look this way, you see all the commercial row of market street. We put a billboard that was large enough that if you were standing on one side of the billboard and looked the other way, it looked like the Ferry Building had burned down and the tower had collapsed. It was photo realistic. If you look the other way, all the buildings along market street were on fire or collapsing and cars were turned over.

James (08:55):


Bruce (08:55):

If you took a picture - which media did, it went all over the world - if you took a picture of that, it looked like the Ferry Building had burned out.

James (09:03):

Oh, no. [Laughter].

Bruce (09:03):

Yeah. So the whole concept, we call it ''shock and awe'' before that.

James (09:09):

Yeah. Brilliant.

Bruce (09:09):

Then another quick one in that campaign, because there were so many, is Union Square, which is the major retail area in San Francisco. We went out at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and we'd put a 60 foot by 10 foot wide decal across Union Square that looked like union square had been cracked in half on earthquake. Then we took all the media up on top of the Macy's building, which is right across the street, and shooting down. It looked like the square had cracked in half. There's smoke coming out. We have a picture of a little girl leaning into the crack and her dad's got a hold of her belt so she won't fall into the crack, right? It's so funny.

James (09:48):


Bruce (09:48):

We call the whole thing Super Crack. That photograph for that little girl leaning into the fake crack went all over the world.

James (09:57):

I would imagine.

Bruce (09:58):

While we were doing these kind of ''Shock and Awe'' things, we would set up the Red Cross tents that would give CPR training, sell different equipment, like emergency preparedness equipment, give out all the different things about make a plan, make a kit, get prepared, those kinds of directives. Bottom line, we trained and gave CPR training to over 1 million residents in the Bay Area.

James (10:25):

It's amazing.

Bruce (10:25):

It was the largest emergency training program, non-war time emergency training program, in the history of the United States. That was like, yes, large scale. Cause marketing can work for very small companies and non-profits. But that was an example, again, where we were both aligned with our missions to generate not just knowledge but action towards getting prepared for an earthquake, Prepare Bay Area. It was a lot of fun.

James (10:55):

Bruce, that sounds extremely creative and an incredible opportunity. But you've mentioned alignment now a couple of times. A few times, you said this is important. I want to come back to it. What does alignment mean? Unpack that for us. Why is that important?

Bruce (11:13):

Very good question. It's my number one point that I try to make to anyone that's considering a cause marketing partnership. Alignment, to me, means that it makes sense that you're working together. PG&E with the American Red Cross were aligned. March of Dimes with Great America Family were aligned. You're looking for an organization, whether you're for-profit looking for a non-profit or non-profit looking for for-profit, you want to make sure the bottom line makes sense to the public. It makes sense to the media. That's what I mean by alignment; that basically your missions make sense to each other, but importantly to the general public, because that's who has to support this cause.

James (11:55):

I love it.

Bruce (11:55):

I'll give you an example of really bad alignment, because it was sort of classic. Many years ago, Susan G Komen for the Cure, which is basically a breast cancer organization, formed a partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Think about that for a minute. So they were selling buckets of chicken. They called it ''Buckets for the Cure''. For every bucket that they sold, 99 cents went to Susan G Komen for the Cure.

James (12:26):


Bruce (12:26):

Now, fried chicken, as researched had shown, fried foods can potentially - I'm not a doctor - be carcinogenic and potentially could cause cancer. But here you have a cancer research women's organization fighting cancer teaming up with an organization that sells fried foods. When the campaign came out, the head of Susan G Komen said, ''We're doing this because it could be the largest fundraiser in our history, and it was significant.'' And the president of Kentucky Fried Chicken basically said the same thing. So they're all excited. The public and the media went ballistic because cancer-anti-cancer working together.

James (13:11):

Yeah, it doesn't make much sense.

Bruce (13:14):

The campaign is an example of a classic misalignment. The public looked at that and said, ''This doesn't make sense.''

James (13:20):

Okay. It seems like, Bruce, you would lose trust if you didn't have a good alignment right out of the gate, right? I mean, the public sees that they're able to identify that fairly quickly. Absolutely amazing example of bad alignment, and also why alignment is so important. Now, you mentioned a couple of times like the benefits to the for-profit and then, of course, the non-profit. Bruce, who receives more of the benefit? The for-profit? The non-profit? How does that break down in these kinds of more perfect alignment?

Bruce (13:49):

Great question, James. Most people - and I've trained over 10,000 executives in the area of cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing - most people I've talked with in some form of a professional relationship, think that the non-profits naturally will get more benefit out of these partnerships. Non-profits are getting money and for-profits are feeling good about it, stuff like that. Over about 40 some years that I was in the business full-time, I researched this pretty extensively, and we came up with 31 benefits, 31 benefits, that the non-profit organization can get in a partnership with for-profits. I'll just give you a couple ideas. They can increase their funding, of course. They can connect to new businesses and develop new strategic partnerships. They can receive pro bono services. For instance, a lot of times you don't just get money, but they may offer their mailroom for your mailings.

Bruce (14:48):

They may offer their photographer to do your photography. They may give you postage. Printing is a big one that I always ask for. You would attract new volunteers from the for-profit to the non-profit. Obviously, you can increase your media coverage. There's 31 benefits that I found, I'm just mentioning four or five.

James (15:06):


Bruce (15:07):

What was really interesting, in the same length of time interviewing and working with both sides and doing these seminars and media stuff, I came up with 38 benefits that the for-profits would get. So potentially, a for-profit can get more benefit than the non-profit. A couple of examples of that. For-profit can increase their sales and their services because they're making a lot of noise about, ''If you buy my Dove dishwasher, a dollar will go to environmental causes, especially around disasters with wildlife that get caught up with grease and we'll clean it off'', which is great.

James (15:50):


Bruce (15:50):

It will increase their employee satisfaction by engaging with the non-profit cause. It'll increase their customer brand loyalty because they'll say - and there's a lot of research on this. - they say, ''Look what X company is doing.'' So I want to go buy more product from them. It will increase their shareholder return. There are 38 benefits. Now, when I've talked over these many years, no one believes me at first until I'll actually put up a screen or something to show these things. But the for-profit can actually receive more benefits potentially than a non-profit in this kind of a partnership.

James (16:30):

Bruce, I would ask you to put that screen because I want to see the 31 and the 38. That's incredible. It sounds like, you know, you've got a very impressive list there. Since we're on audio here with some of our audience, how does our audience learn about the different benefits to both the for-profit and the non-profit? Do you have this list anywhere where we can go look at it and see for ourselves?

Bruce (16:51):

Absolutely. I'm not pushing my book, but several years ago, I wrote a book called ''Win-win for the Greater Good'' and pushing it because it's free. If you go to my website, which is bruceburtch.com - and Birch is B-U-R-T-C-H - so go to bruceburtch.com. On the homepage is a picture of the cover. It says, ''Win-win for the Greater Good.'' In there is just enormous amount of information. It's actually a step-by-step guide book designed to take any size non-profit for-profit government or educational organization and develop partnerships. But in there are the 31 benefits for non-profit and 38 benefits for for-profit. But the nice thing about that is that it's free. You click that link on my home page and you can download a 226-page book, absolutely free. The other thing is, on the upper right-hand corner of my website, you'll see a little sign that says ''Resource Center''. If you click in there, there's tons of research. It breaks down those for-profit non-profit benefits. The website is up specifically, because I don't do cause marketing as a business anymore, I just give it away. The website and the book where basically it's there, your audience should take advantage of it. Thousands of people across the country, organizations, are using it. A little tangent here. When you go to make a presentation, whether it's for-profit to non-profit or non-profit to for-profit, use that list.

James (18:27):

Yeah, got it.

Bruce (18:30):

If you're a non-profit and you walk into a for-profit and they kind of say - and I always say, ''Never go and ask for money. You never asked for money.'' They know you need money, right? You go in and you say, ''Here's what I think by working with us, whoever the us is, we can do for you.'' That usually catches the for-profits right off the bat. It throws them back in their chair. ''What do you mean what you can do for us? I thought you just needed money.'' I'll say, ''Well, for instance...'', and then you start going down this list. Let me give you a great example. Patagonia, which is a phenomenal company, offers time off for their employees to go work for environmental causes. They're one of the top organizations involved in cause marketing environmental affairs. They get approximately 9,000 resumes for every one job opening that the company has across the country.

James (19:33):

That is insane.

Bruce (19:33):

Nine thousand resumes. Why is that? It's because they let their employees go and work for causes, right?

James (19:42):


Bruce (19:42):

Employees come back and go, ''My gosh, Patagonia, just let me go for four weeks to go climb a mountain'', or ''clean up a river'', or whatever it was. It's obviously something that was good for the environment. I feel good about working for Patagonia. And if you feel good about working for Patagonia or any company, you don't want to leave. If you don't want to leave, that means that the company doesn't have to hire and go through that whole process of re-training people. So it has an absolute bottom line effect for the company. But I still love the fact that for every one job opening or one internship opening at Patagonia, they get 9,000 resumes.

James (20:23):

Yeah. That is incredible, Bruce. I love that you lead with the discussion with the benefit of the for-profit in the book. Now, you mentioned the book. Actually, I have the book and I was looking at your website, so I'll put a link to it in the description of the notes here and on the podcast so everybody can get right to it. So I highly recommend it. As you said, it's free. So I know it's priced perfectly. You mentioned Patagonia, but here's some of the praise you got from the CEO of Patagonia. He calls it the blueprint for organizations of any size, from any sector to build highly productive partnerships. But I also saw in your website, the President of Starbucks coffee even has a praise. I know we're not pushing the book so much here, Bruce, but do you mind if I read what he said as well, from the president of Starbucks?

Bruce (21:11):

Go on. [Laughter].

James (21:11):

Okay. So he says, ''A must read for any organization. You can prove the magic and it happen when a partnership is focused on creating their greater good.'' Then Joe Walters, one of the country's leading authorities on cause marketing. I've run into Joe as well. He says, ''America has Christopher Columbus; cause marketing has Bruce Burtch, a man of many firsts, like the Great Explorer.'' Bruce, does that make you feel old when you get compared to Christopher Columbus like that? It's an incredible place.

Bruce (21:39):

Oh, yeah. I feel like I should have some wooden teeth like George Washington did.

James (21:42):


Bruce (21:42):

I welcome the praise, of course. I do. A little bit of an ego. But what that means is that these types of organizations - Starbucks, or Patagonia, or lot of people, PG&E, they recognize the value of partnerships.

James (21:58):

Yeah, absolutely.

Bruce (21:58):

The recognize the value of it. The key here is focusing on the cause. That's really critical, is that you focus on the cause.

James (22:07):

Yeah. It would seem like with that alignments, and those benefits to both sides clearly stated, and a partnership has built really for the benefit of both parties involved really creates that. I know we use the word synergy way too much in the business world. With my business degree, I've tried not to use that even school.

Bruce (22:24):

The S word.

James (22:24):

Yeah, exactly. But it does really create that alignment, and that's actually powerful. What else is important in developing a successful cause marketing partnership? We talked about alignment. We've talked about the benefits clearly stated for both sides and making sure that you lead with that. As you mentioned, they already know you need money. What are some of the other important things that we need to keep in mind as we reflect on cause marketing, Bruce?

Bruce (22:51):

Well, two quick things. One is that the organizations need to focus on the cause. For instance, PG&E is a utility. The Red Cross is a service organization. So if there's a famine or a flood or an earthquake or a fire, the Red Cross runs out. I've been warning people running out. They're not the cause. The cause are the people that are affected by that. This is important, that if you are thinking -- non-profits have a problem with this. I don't mind telling they have a problem with this, but they think they're causes. They're not causes. Who they serve. Special Olympics serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities. I've worked with Special Olympics in San Francisco. Those individuals involved in Special Olympics, that's the cause. When you focus on that, when you get your employees out on the track and they're running alongside the Special Olympians, then you see the magic that happens when you focus on the cause.

Bruce (23:48):

I like to put that out, James, first, that a lot of people say, ''Well, I need money. I got all this great stuff.'' No, you need to help people and that will attract more partners. Then the next thing is trust. Trust becomes just imperative in any kind of a partnership. First thing, of course, I mentioned was alignment and focusing on the cause. What came up with that very first partnership with Jean and I at March of Dimes and Marriott was, I said, ''Jean, what do you need?'' He said, ''Bruce, what do you need?'' What can we do? And this is the line. What can I do in all of my power and influence, me speaking for my organization, to help you meet your business objectives; and what can you do, and all your power and influence, to help me meet my objectives?

Bruce (24:38):

When you put those cards on the table, there's no hidden things. It's like your agendas' out there, your needs are out there. Then you start working together. When you start doing that, you develop trust. You know, that organization is thinking about, of course, they're going to benefit. We've talked a lot about that. But when they start thinking about, ''Maybe we'll come up with a promotion, maybe we'll get our employees involved''. When they start thinking about what they can do to help you, they're going to help themselves.

James (25:07):

Got it.

Bruce (25:07):

So that concept of trust is enormously important in any kind of a cross-sector partnership.

James (25:14):

It makes perfect sense, Bruce. It sounds like keep clarity on what the cause actually is, the benefit of what we're cruising for, to the why we exist, right? Then the benefit, as you mentioned already. But even beyond that, helping the for-profit and non-profit build trust and alignment early on. I love how you just put everything on the table and say, ''Look, this is what I can do and this is what I need.''

Bruce (25:38):

I mean, it really works in the larger world, right? In all relationships. I think one of the big things - I don't want to get into politics - but one of the big things is, there's a lack of trust going on in this country right now. I think it's because if you sit around a table and you say, ''Okay, I have this belief and you have this belief. Let's throw our beliefs in the center and let me learn about what you need or you understand, and I'll learn about what I need and what I understand'', that's where the trust begins. Then all sorts of things can change for both of you.

James (26:07):

Sure. Yeah. I absolutely love it. That's an outstanding example of really building a trust early on by just laying everything on the table and having those cards and expectations laid upfront. Who's the best person to contact? When anybody in our audience wants to start a cause marketing campaign, where do I go from here or who do I contact, Bruce?

Bruce (26:26):

Good question. If you're the non-profit, first of all, do not go to a foundation right off the bat. Foundations are really not set up to do cause marketing cross-sector partnerships in most cases. We're in community foundation, Levi Foundation. So there are some great foundations out there.

James (26:45):


Bruce (26:46):

Go where the money is. The department within a for-profit that's in charge of community outreach and sales PR is marketing. It's the marketing department that is in charge of selling their products and services. It's the marketing department is the first door that you can open. It's very interesting. From our research, we found that there is between 101,000 times more money in a marketing department's budget than there is in their foundation's budget.

James (27:20):

One hundred and one thousand?

Bruce (27:22):

A thousand times. I did research on this and worked with Gap years ago. They spend hundreds of times more money marketing the Gap clothing line, even though they have an outstanding foundation. But the foundation just doesn't have that kind of goal or that kind of money. So you go where you can walk in, as we said earlier, and say, ''Here's what I can do for you, Gap'', or local drug store. It doesn't matter. Any size organization. That's the first place to go is the marketing door.

James (27:55):


Bruce (27:55):

If you're a for-profit, first, you want to look at the organizations that are best aligned with you, right? Then you want to go in and find usually the director of marketing within the non-profit. Sometimes, like with the American Red Cross, they will have a cause marketing person. Look for the open doors. My dad used to say, ''Go through the open door and not the soft spot in the wall.'' I love it.

James (28:23):

Yeah. [Laughter].

Bruce (28:23):

So you look for the open door. The open door in the nonprofit world is sometimes is development department because they're the ones in charge of money. But it's usually, if they have a marketing department, and most non-profits do, so it's kind of marketing to marketing, because you're both trying to sell your organizations to the public. So that's where the alignment should be set up.

James (28:49):

That makes sense, Bruce, I appreciate that clarification. That helped. Now, does it work with any size company, cause marketing? What size company are we looking to approach if we're a non-profit?

Bruce (28:59):

Absolutely. I know a lot of my examples are PG&E and Red Cross and blah, blah, blah. You can be a local drug store. You can be a local clothing company. I went down to Stanford a couple of years ago and I gave a presentation similar to this, to their entrepreneurial startup program there. Here are all these young people that are starting designing business plans for businesses that they're going to do when they graduate from Stanford. You're talking about early startups. One of them was doing a cleaning system for ears. It was really, really cool product. I write it. The two partners, the two women that were putting this together, they said, ''Well, Bruce, we can't give any money away. We haven't even started a company.'' I said, ''You're missing the point. If you make cause marketing or cause relations as part of your fundamental tenants of your organization right into your, ''This is what we do'', you provide a big why. One of why's we do it is, ''We want people who have problems with hearing to be able to hear better.'' So form a partnership with an organization - maybe not an organization around deaf, because deaf is taking hearing to the extreme - but an organization, again, that's aligned with you. As you make a dollar, if you can give a 1% of that or 2% of that away, you got to give a couple of pennies. If you make a thousand dollars, a million dollars, now you're talking some real money. The idea of building that cause consciousness - I love that term, cause consciousness - into the philosophy of your company. Like I said, from a startup to IBM, everything in between.

James (30:46):

Bruce, as a founder of a tech startup here in San Diego myself, I absolutely appreciate that. I think it gets into our DNA and our culture. I don't think we get big and then start giving; we start giving and then we get big. I think it's the order of things and how the universe works really. So, I absolutely love that. I was hoping you'd say that because I didn't want to wait till I was a Patagonia before I could start getting involved, because that feels like forever. So I appreciate that.

Bruce (31:13):

I'll tell you a real quick story. When I was a public researcher for the Olympic committee doing these kinds of programs. I was meeting with a CEO of a major organization - I won't mention it, but it's pretty well known in Los Angeles - and I'm in this big, fancy corporate office, downtown Los Angeles. I'm pitching him on why it was good for this company to work in the cause marketing program with U.S. Olympic team. When I was done, he looked at me and he said, ''So Bruce, what do you want to do with your life?'' And I said, ''I want to do well while I'm doing good.''.

James (31:46):

I love it.

Bruce (31:49):

And he leans back - I'll never forget this - and he starts to laugh at me. I'm 28. He's laughing at me. He goes, ''I've never seen anybody do that before.'' [Laughter] Now, that term is ubiquitous all over the world - ''Do well by doing good.''.

James (32:07):


Bruce (32:07):

But until 1977, in that meeting, it had never been put out there before. But that's the point is, like you said, build it into the DNA of your organization. Do well by doing good, no matter what size you are.

James (32:25):

Bruce, it seems like to me, as you've mentioned, this has become more and more prevalent in our society and in our marketing. It's just a way, as a consumer, we look for products that are sustainable, that are believable. We want to find alignment in our own passions as consumers. But what does the research say about consumers' response? I know you've done some research on that as well, but what what does the research say on consumer response to cause marketing?

Bruce (32:49):

There's been a lot of research by Edelman, by Cone Communications. My own company did some research. I'll just pull up a couple of fun facts here. Ninety-two percent of moms and 81% of all consumers want to buy a product that's associated with a cause; 93% of moms and 80% of all consumers are likely to - this is critical switch brands if your brand is associated with a cause, but the brand they might normally buy or they're looking to buy is not associated with a cause. Now think of that if you're a sales manager. You align with a cause and 93% of your major consumer wants to switch to your brand? I mean, that's huge.

James (33:36):

That's huge.

Bruce (33:37):

Eighty eight percent of consumers want brands to support social and environmental causes. They want these companies to be conscious of social and environmental causes. This research goes back several years, but it's probably more prevalent today. This is, as we were talking with Patagonia, 70% of employees like to work for companies and will volunteer if a company supports a cause.

James (34:07):

I love it.

Bruce (34:07):

That's what draws them to a company. And what keeps them at a company is when they feel their company is not only involved in causes, but allows them as an employee to get involved. So this is just three or four points, James, but research is pretty clear: cause marketing works.

James (34:24):

Yeah. It sounds like you've really answered the question of why it's become so successful. But beyond the consumer response and the alignment we're talking about, what closing thoughts do you have as far as why cause marketing has been so successful for us?

Bruce (34:41):

As you mentioned, we've talked about a lot of different ways in which it does benefit. But I have a basic philosophy about cause marketing. I believe that there's nothing in business today that provides as much economic and social benefit on as many levels to all of your stakeholders, all of your customers, everyone that you engage with as a strategic partnership between a non-profit, for-profit - I'm going to add two more - education, or governmental sectors. I don't think there's anything in business that even comes close that when you bring these partnerships together, you build alignment, you build trust, and you work towards your common good of doing good, if you will, for the causes. There's no sales campaign, no quick slogan, no anything that I've seen in my career of over 50 years now that comes even to what these partnerships can create. So that's the bottom line of what can happen when you build successful partnerships.

James (35:45):

I love it, Bruce. I really appreciate how you've laid this out. I just want to remind our audience that they can go to bruceburtch.com. Again, the link will be in the description. It's Bruce, B-U-R-T-C-H, dot com to receive a free copy of your book ''Win-Win for Greater Good''. Bruce, after talking to you, your title ''Win-Win for Greater good'' makes a whole lot more sense, win-win. That's what we're looking for.

Bruce (36:06):

Thank you. That's what it's all about. And the win-win can win, win, win, win. I did a partnership with four different sectors. Well, I've done several of them. Four different sectors, all involved in a partnership.

Bruce (36:18):

Yeah. Well, Bruce, I love your enthusiasm and I appreciate that you have boiled and distilled all this down. You seem like a very giving soul to be able to build out the list of 31 and 38 and then put it in a book and distill it down. I know our audience, if they're interested in learning more, can reach out to you through your website. There's a video I saw on your website as well that kind of explains a little bit more about some of what you've talked about here, so I would encourage people to go hit the website there, bruceburtch.com. Any closing thoughts or anything else as we wrap up our time here on #TextGen?

Bruce (36:52):

Thanks, James. Basically, I want people to realize that this is not hard. You know, I've talked to a lot of executives, "Oh, Bruce, I got to do this, I got to do this.'' When you really show them the benefits that they can receive, all their stakeholders, all their employees, all their customers, all their media, cause marketing is not hard. The bottom line is, it's fun. We crack San Francisco's four and a half. Come on. You can have a really good time with us. So I just recommend that people get creative, they have fun, and they don't look at like this dead serious, ''We got to make more money here.'' Have fun with it. It will work.

James (37:32):

Sure. Lean into it and go forward. Win, win, win, win, as you said. Well, Bruce, I thank you so much for your time today on #TextGen. As you know, our podcast is really all about activating and mobilizing people. We get our name, Rally -- RallyCorp actually -- on how do we activate people to move them to mission? As I survey the web and as I look at resources and thought leaders like yourself, I'm looking for people that really help us to inspire audience, to look for ways to activate people and to mobilize them and move them into action. I love your cause marketing. As a marketer myself, it resonated with me and I just absolutely have enjoyed the ''Win-Win'', and I recommend, again, to the audience to download that resource. Thanks again for your time today, Bruce.

Bruce (38:12):

It's been an honor for me to be with you, James, and be with your audience. What you're doing is very important. I'm very pleased to be a part -- a little part of that.

James (38:21):

Good. Well, bruceburtch.com, everybody. Thanks again for joining us on #TextGen, and we look forward to seeing you on our next episode. I have a great day.

James (38:29):

Well, that's a wrap for our episode on #TextGen with Bruce Burtch, the father of cause marketing. Let me remind you that his resource is available at bruceburtch.com, his book ''Win-Win for The greater Good.'' I'll be sure to include a link to that in the description so you can go access that. I really appreciate what Bruce had to say about making really the attitude of giving and the mindset of being about a cause early in a startup or even a company, so it works for all sizes. As a startup ourselves at RallyCorp, we just really appreciate having that in our DNA, from the onset. That's really, really incredible word from Bruce and very encouraging. I found our time together very, very helpful. Again, thank you, Bruce, for your generosity and for your gift to our community. I look forward forward to our next episode with you and wish you the very best and thanks again. Have a great day, everybody.


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