Corporate Eye

Cause Marketing Boosts Brand Marketing on Facebook for Kraft

Want to create a Facebook app that people actually notice and add to their profiles?  Include a cause marketing message with the application.  Even better, tie the Facebook user’s action to add the application to their profile directly to a donation or benefit for the charity.  In other words, give the charity something in return for the user’s action thereby indirectly rewarding the user and making him or her feel better about himself or herself.  At least that’s what Kraft has found to work.

Let’s face it.  If you’re on Facebook, you probably receive invitations to add applications to your profile all the time.  I think I have over 50 invitations to add applications sitting in my Facebook inbox at this very moment.  I just don’t have time to look at them all, so I ignore them and eventually go in and mass delete them.  Truth be told, the problem of too many Facebook application invitations used to be worse than it is now, but it’s still too much.  However, corporations know there is value in connecting with consumers through social networking sites like Facebook, but they’ve found little success with Facebook applications so far.

As it turns out, Kraft is one of those companies that has struggled to find the right way to connect with consumers on Facebook.  According to an article in BrandWeek, its Kraft Recipe Assistant application that cluttered users’ accounts even more with daily cooking tips, was added to only 152 Facebook users’ profiles.  However, Kraft’s latest attempt to learn the secrets of marketing through Facebook applications has shed some light on the elusive medium.

Over the holidays, Kraft launched a new Facebook application that promised users when they added it to their profiles, Kraft would donate six meals to hungry families via the Feeding America charitable organization.  In less than two weeks, 25,000 Facebook users had added the application to their profiles equating to 1.4 million donated meals.  Kraft set a goal of donating 3.2 million meals through the application (see the ad pictured above).  The plan seems to be working so far.

There is no doubt that consumers feel a heightened sensitivity to people in need during the holidays and during an economic downturn, both of which were top-of-mind when the new Kraft Facebook application launched.  There is also something to be said for the emotional trigger that cause marketing touches on among consumers, and there is perhaps even more to be said for the emotional trigger of fear that a person feels when he or she doesn’t want to be labeled as the person who didn’t add the Kraft application to feed hungry families to his or her Facebook profile.  It’s a stigma that cause marketing such as the Kraft Facebook application plays upon quite cleverly (whether that’s right or wrong ethically will be left for a different debate). 

The point of this post, which focuses on branding, is that there does appear to be ways to generate awareness and active participation in branded Facebook applications.  Cause marketing is just one of the first ways that has been identified and proven so far thanks to Kraft’s experience.  Let’s hope it’s not the last.

Your thoughts?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Great article. I know many companies are great at contributing to good causes, but it’s really wonderful to provide a mechanism like this to allow average people to make a difference. I find this sort of the thing even more appealing than the annual United Way drive that most employers have. Way to go Kraft!

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