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Cause Marketing

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What: The Puerto Rico Little League team made some waves out of the Caribbean region, continuing the sport’s legacy on the island.
Why it matters: Through the dollars brands can spend through cause marketing, dollars which done right, can be amplified well beyond a traditional marketplace.

Last weekend the birthday of one of Puerto Rico’s most revered figures, Roberto Clemente, was celebrated across Latin America. This week his lasting legacy has provided its latest example of the vibrancy of baseball in his native country, as the Radames Lopez Little League team, representing Guayama, continued its positive play as the surprising Caribbean entrant in the Little League World Series (@LittleLeague).

Now it’s not that unusual for Puerto Rico to break through to Williamsport; what is unusual is the storytelling that went on as this team, post Hurricane Maria, often trying to assemble with little supplies or even electricity, several of whom had lost their homes and gone without some essential supplies for months, made it undefeated through its regional and on to the grandest brand stage, not just Williamsport but ESPN (@espnas well.

These kids from Puerto Rico have an amazing story and have succeeded in cutting through the clutter with the eyes of the baseball world on them.

The team, many members with their hair dyed blonde like the stars of last year’s World Baseball Classic Puerto Rico team, have quickly become a shining light on how the power of sport can inspire and engage those casual fans who may think the issues from the massive storms last year are a distant and completed memory.

Yes, it’s a feel-good story, but how does that translate into business? Through the dollars brands can spend through cause marketing, dollars which done right, can be amplified well beyond a traditional marketplace. We have seen the scores of brands that have sought to activate through the platforms of ESPN during the Little League World Series, and while many watching across the country may be casual fans tuning in to watch some elite kids, tying some of those brands to cause, one which is still playing out throughout the Island Nation with some fresh goodwill ambassadors now telling their stories, is a great opportunity.

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Harrie Bakst

While we may think of companies looking to jump on the bandwagon and the buzz, especially traditional baseball brands like Nike (@Nikeor Franklin (@FranklinSportsor Under Armour (@UnderArmour), the ability for cause-related brands to amplify their message surrounding these young, telegenic faces and stories can go much wider. Telecommunications companies like Verizon, who have both big philanthropic and sports marketing budgets, can find a great tie to help continue to give back to the efforts in Puerto Rico by leveraging the cause celebre among the islands newest stars, so long as the mix is one of aid and assistance.

“We see brands all the time tied to causes that are ongoing, and they are able to leverage and inflection point to drive awareness and dollars when the spotlight is turned on,” said Harrie Bakst co-founder of WCPG (@wcpgco), a company whose mission is to pair brands, athletes and causes together for a great collective spend. “These kids from Puerto Rico have an amazing story and have succeeded in cutting through the clutter with the eyes of the baseball world on them, even if they advance no further. If there are savvy brands who see Puerto Rico as a key market, and now better understand the efforts there are not yet complete, the time would be right to work with their group. It could be a win well beyond some games in Williamsport for all.”

An effort Clemente would be proud of, in the land he loved and in the game that delivered so much for him, now with a new generation taking the next step.

Doral, FL based cruise ship giant Carnival Cruise recently introduced a social impact travel brand called Fathom. Fathom will operate as a standalone brand, the 10th global brand in the Carnival Corporation. Fathom’s first destination, starting in April 2016, will be the Dominican Republic, a country known for its spectacular beauty but also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 USD a year and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Portada Stephen Seabolt, VP of Marketing at Fathom, about the launch of Fathom and the role of social impact travel.

Portada: What insights did you get (research) that motivated you to launch fathom?
Stephen Seabolt, vice president of marketing, Fathom:
“Through the research we did with a variety of customers, we found many people hungering for a different type of travel experience. We discovered a sizable group of people who want to make a lasting, positive impact when they travel, but they don’t know where to begin or how to create that type of trip on their own. Tara, president of fathom, addresses this pretty well in the press release: “During the past 10 years, in countless conversations I have had with people eager to serve others and make meaningful societal contributions, there has been a common theme – people struggle to know where they fit in and often people have challenges finding trusted, easy ways to make a difference,” said Russell. “fathom exists to address this desire and to create enduring, life-changing impact, both in the communities where fathom operates, and in the lives of the travelers who embark on one of our journeys, allowing for unique impact experiences before, during and after the trip.We also heard many customers in research talk about the importance of community. When they travel, they want to be part of a like-minded community who shares their goals for lasting social impact. And they want to have meaningful interactions with the locals in the community they visit, to learn from them and work alongside them.”

The Hispanic guest is important part of our customer set, especially when you consider key markets for us such as Florida, Texas and California.

In what parts of the world is impact/cause marketing most effective?
S.S.:
“We believe that impact travel could be effective and beneficial in many communities throughout the world. It has less to do with the geography, and more about the local community context. The Dominican Republic has great beauty, yet also has real need, with 40% of the population living below the poverty line. However, the country has a strong infrastructure for impact, with several community development organizations that have a long history of success working alongside the community to create programs that result in lasting transformation. Our lead on-ground Dominican impact partners, Entrena and IDDI, have deep roots in the Dominican Republic. Their long-established programs and strong community connections in the northern region of the country enable us to understand the specific needs and come alongside them to address the needs.Many communities across the globe have these ingredients as well, and have strong local organizations with a track record of successful community development. By partnering with these organizations, and working with the local community to identify the priority needs where our travelers could be most beneficial, we could effectively implement impact travel in many countries.”

What role does the Hispanic population play when it comes to Carnival Corporation’s marketing strategy?
S.S.: “The Hispanic guest is important part of our customer set, especially when you consider key markets for us such as Florida, Texas and California. We have been marketing to our Hispanic customers through traditional media and expect to more outreach through Hispanic media in the coming months.”

Note: Omnicom’s PHD is Carnival Cruise Media buying agency.However, at this point the new Fathom brand does not have a media buying agency. “Their advertising/creative agency is Quo Vadis based in Atlanta, but they are doing very limited media buying at this time and don’t plan to purchase any advertising space of significance until they have a revenue stream (probably 2016):, a spokesperson at Fathom tells Portada.

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