(CSRwire) BOSTON, MA. - February 25, 2009 – MS&L, one of the world's leading communications firms, today announced the launch of its Social Activism Marketing specialty, a bold approach that blends the power of corporate social responsibility and cause marketing with the penetration of digital tools to spawn social movements that move messages, product and profit on behalf of companies and brands.
The new specialty will be launched at an evening event in Boston on February 26 featuring cause marketing experts who will explore the power of social activism. Attending the event will be Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, which spearheaded Obama for America's extensive online fundraising and peer-to-peer networking initiatives, and Eleanor Dowling, editorial and community leader of changeagents.com and a key player in the success of Timberland’s Earthkeeper Heroes Program. Gensemer and Dowling will join MS&L's CSR and marketing experts to explore the renewed focus on cause marketing in the context of President Obama’s spotlight on community service and the increased corporate interest in connecting to a higher purpose.
MS&L’s proprietary Social Activism Marketing (SAM) Optimization process includes four stages of social movement that corporations can utilize to develop unique cause programs. The SAM process takes into account the current economic environment, research on the relationship between corporations and service, and the power of relationship management via digital tools. MS&L will help clients identify the intersection of corporate social responsibility and cause marketing to facilitate social movements, drive influence and maximize the reach of a particular program.
"We consider 2009 the year when values and activism will come together to transform communications and marketing," said Scott Beaudoin, senior vice president and director of cause marketing at MS&L. "Our methodology for Social Activism Marketing pinpoints the best ways to hyper-engage consumers and influencers in support of a powerfully relevant cause, producing maximum business results and social impacts for the sponsor."
A unique relationship between corporate values, activism and reputation has emerged, influencing the launch of MS&L's SAM specialty. Proprietary research from the MS&L Worldwide Global Values study, conducted in May 2008 in partnership with GfK Roper Public Affairs, underscores the ripe opportunity for companies and brands to leverage consumer activism on social issues and their unprecedented access to information about corporate behavior.
The study of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that:
* 72 percent believe a company or organization can have “values” just the way people do;
* 85 percent believe a company can be financially successful by behaving in “a responsible way;”
* 56 percent of describe it as “very important” to them to know about the values of the companies with whom they do business;
* 77 percent almost always or sometimes pay attention to company’s values when deciding whether to give it their business; and
* 59 percent said they can a lot or some about an organization’s “real values” through online information.
"It's clear that the concepts of value and values are rapidly merging in the minds of consumers," said Jim Tsokanos, president of MS&L, North America. "People want to be engaged with companies that share their values. Our Social Activism Marketing specialty will help organizations capitalize on the growing expectation that profit should be pursued in a responsible way locally, nationally and globally."
The launch of this new specialty builds on MS&L’s innovative CSR work in the consumer, corporate and healthcare areas. In 2008, MS&L was honored as the top agency in CSR by Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine; won Cause-Related Campaign of the Year from PRWeek in 2007 and Best Use of the Internet honors from PRWeek in 2006 and 2007; and is currently a PRWeek finalist for Cause-Related Campaign of the Year. MS&L works with companies such as Sunkist Growers and Procter & Gamble on ground-breaking cause programs that empower individuals to contribute to social causes in their communities and around the world.
MS&L is a leading global communications firm and part of MS&L Worldwide, a network of communications brands and consultancies with 54 offices in North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia, as well as an extensive affiliate network. The agency specializes in using research, insights and technology to create and execute powerful communications strategies that are critical to client success. With a unique combination of advice, advocacy and action, MS&L delivers measurable business results for many of the world's largest companies and most successful brands.
MS&L Worldwide (mslworldwide.com) is a member of the Publicis Groupe (Euronext Paris: FR0000130577), the world’s fourth largest communications group, and a global leader in digital and online advertising, media consulting, and healthcare communications. With some 45,000 professionals in 104 countries, the Groupe's activities cover advertising through three global advertising networks: Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as through its two multi-hub networks Fallon Worldwide and 49%-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty; media agencies with two worldwide networks ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group; and marketing services, including digital and interactive communications through Digitas, relationship and direct marketing, public and media relations, corporate and financial communications, multicultural communications, and event communications. The Groupe is also the world leader in healthcare communications. Web site: www.publicisgroupe.com.
For more information please contact:
Sara Donaldson, Media Relations Manager, North America