Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good causes good for business

In a previous post, The Cliff brought you the story of bar owners Tommy Timmins and Kevin Devin, who are devoting eight Fridays in July and August at their uptown bar Madison's to raising money for eight different uptown charities.

As the post said, it was Timmins' late father, George, himself a bar owner in Queens, N.Y., who taught his son that reaching out to the community is good for business.

Professional marketers call that "cause marketing." The idea is that businesses linking to charities resonates with customers, who make a conscious decision to support your do-gooding business. So the community gets served by the business and, consequently, the business grows customer loyalty.

That is the topic of a dinner/panel discussion Wednesday hosted by the Charlotte Chapter of the American Marketing Association at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. Five local leaders in cause marketing will share how the concept can become a part of a company's strategy of doing business.

There's a charge for the event: $20 for CAMA members, $35 for non-members, $28 for charity leaders. It starts at 5:30 p.m.

"Our goal is to provide business leaders with the education, resources and success stories to show that doing well by doing good can have a major impact on a company's top line and our community's bottom line," said CAMA President Mark Little.

The group will keep the "cause marketing" conversation going at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille the following Wednesday, July 22, at a discussion -- this one's free -- between marketing professionals and business and non-profit leaders. That event will run from 11 a.m. to noon.

"The concept is a proven strategy," said Sheila Neisler, a Charlotte marketing professional and CAMA member. "We've got so many wonderful business people engaged in not-for-profits. They want to give ... And one of the many benefits is that getting involved with a charity as a company builds morale within the business.

"That is critical for any business, especially in this economy."

For more information about both CAMA events, click here.