CSI and Marketing better together


How many times do you see incredible CSI initiatives by leading organisations and notice a disconnect when it comes to the marketing of their products and services?


It is very hard to take a brand seriously when they are doing good initiatives and yet superficial promotions that have no significance or impact and relevant to a few.


Let me give you an example without naming any specific brand.   On the ground, a brand is teaching a community how to fish, so they can sustain their own lives by giving them the skill of farming.  This brand then buys tomatoes, onions and lettuce from the community at a competitive price and distribute this through restaurant chains.  Big Thumbs up!


Marketing then needs to propel the business forward commercially and come up with a campaign/promotions to drive sales.  We then tend to see, the What and How, but never the Why?


The campaign in most cases will be competition driven and the prizes seem meaningless and completely disconnected from the promotion and the good work the CSI Initiatives teams are doing on the ground.


This is what we see most of the time:


Buy our product, enter the competition to stand a chance to win a hamper and SMS your keyword WIN to 31234 (R1.50 per entry)


Here is a few considerations to take:


  1. Why would the consumer care?
  2. Does the prize do any justice to the effort the consumer needs to take to enter?
  3. Does it align with the CSI Initiative and can the prize further enhance the overall brand values
  4. This is going to cost the consumer airtime to enter their competition and chances are they will not win.
  5. Statistically if the prizes are something consumers really want, consumers will enter up to 2,000 times at R1.50 , hoping to win?  This in many cases are not communicated effectively and seems completely inconsiderate and create a completely different image of the brand when they get their cellphone bill at the end of the month?!  This should be communicated effectively.  Many brands prefer not to mention it, as it makes the engagement look better when you had 100,000 entries as suppose to 20,000 unique entries.



Why not do this instead:


Buy our product, enter your bar code or unique number by dialing 134*123# for FREE (Communicate One entry per person)


By entering you could win Solar Heating installation for you home and for a charity of your choice.  We will also donate R5 per purchase to Farming Skills Development in rural areas and you can follow the impact we are making on our website.


There is something far more powerful by giving consumers a voice, allow them to co-create with you and give them a sense of purpose when they are supporting your products.


The revelation is that many of the prizes we offer to our customers are not appealing, and it will have far more weight if you use the “carrot” to make an impact.


A human insight is that we all believe that we have a purpose on this planet.  We are all seeking to solve problems within our own lives and those around us and brands need to empower us to embrace the spirit of Übuntu” by making a difference when consuming their products.


I urge CSI Departments and Marketing Departments to start more collaborative initiatives and co-create with our communities to push the human-race forward.  When these things are done in isolation from one another we are compromising the brands power to make an impact.


I close off with my favourite African Proverb:

IF you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

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