The March edition of Sponsorship Marketing Council Canada (SMCC)’s Breakfast Forum saw a packed house in the bar section of Toronto’s Real Sports Bar & Grill yesterday. Held monthly, the Breakfast Forum ignites discussion on different topics surrounding sponsorship and partnership; this month bringing cause marketing to the forefront.

Host and moderator Mark Hierlihy was joined by three cause marketing experts. Francis Dumais of Elevent presented SMCC’s The Market Watch content, and was then followed by case studies from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities’ Landon French and Food Banks Canada’s Tania Little.

All three speakers presented incredible content leveraging their unique experiences with cause marketing campaigns and activations, but there were some key takeaways that stood out over others. Francis engaged the audience with impactful statistics and a number of examples of powerful campaigns, namely Nike’s Equals Everywhere commercial.

Standout points from Francis:

  • 50% of people will pay more for a product if they know the brand is involved with a cause.
  • It is not enough to take a public stance on an issue; a brand needs to live and breathe that stance every day.
  • Relevance, authenticity and accountability are key in cause marketing campaigns and the digital world has provided consumers with the tools required to track “brand good.”

Landon focused his presentation on the impact Jumpstart has been able to create for children and their families since the charity’s inception in 2005. To date, Jumpstart has disbursed $127,761,480, which translates to over 1 million children placed in sports. Through retail, events, and celebrity ambassadors, Jumpstart has been able to foster growth both regionally and nationally.

Standout points from Landon:

  • People care about where their money goes, and they care about their communities; This is why Jumpstart works as a national charity, but with smaller local chapters.
  • The majority of money donated to Jumpstart comes through retail channels, meaning even today, digital does not always have to be king.

Tania’s case study presentation was the last of the morning but certainly captivated the audience, focusing on the partnership between Food Banks Canada and French’s, and the amplification of that partnership over the last three years. A major point of Tania’s case study was that Food Banks Canada works tremendously hard on identifying and meeting their partners’ goals, and is prepared to act quickly when opportunities arise that have the potential to take those results against objectives to the next level.

Standout points from Tania:

  • 91% of consumers say they would switch their brand of choice if a competitor supported a cause.
  • Expect the unexpected and be prepared to act on it! Stay current by leveraging breaking news and innovative ideas.
  • A multi-channel, multi-brand, multi-partner activation has the power to lead to multi-year and multi-million-dollar partnerships; integration is key.