Corporate Rebels | Joost Minnaar

Summary of: Corporate Rebels: Make Work More Fun
By: Joost Minnaar


Venture into the exciting world of ‘Corporate Rebels: Make Work More Fun’ by Joost Minnaar, where the evolution of corporate philanthropy and the rise of strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) are intricately explored. This book summary will introduce you to the various approaches towards CSR, including cause promotions, cause-related marketing, corporate social marketing, and community volunteering. Delve into a plethora of inspiring success stories of companies, such as American Express, Pampers, and ConAgra Foods, who have contributed to the well-being of their communities while reaping the benefits for their businesses.

Corporate Philanthropy Evolved

In the past, US corporations engaged in philanthropy by merely giving away money to non-profits. They avoided controversial issues and didn’t tie their contributions with their business objectives. However, this has changed since the 1990s. Nowadays, firms make long-term commitments and integrate giving programs with their overall strategies. Additionally, companies are now addressing social issues relevant to their products or services. Senior executives and boards work together to make decisions regarding charitable contributions.

The Evolution of Corporate Philanthropy

Companies have shifted their perception of philanthropy from being obligatory to strategic. Social initiatives have been proven to bring benefits such as increased sales and market share, strengthened brand positioning, and enhanced corporate image. This has led to the establishment of a corporate social norm to “do good,” with firms aligning philanthropy with issues related to their core products and markets. Involving multiple internal departments in selecting charitable activities and choosing concerns important to customers, employees, and the community is also crucial. This new model of corporate social responsibility has become increasingly common, and companies are reporting on their social responsibility initiatives more frequently.

Corporate Social Responsibility Explained

Corporate social responsibility, also known as corporate citizenship or philanthropy, refers to a company’s voluntary actions to benefit society or improve community well-being. These actions can include cause promotions, cause-related marketing, corporate social marketing, philanthropy, community volunteering, and socially responsible business practices. Often, social service campaigns combine these initiatives or use all of them.

Cause Promotion for Branding

Cause promotion can effectively increase public attention, donations, and participation. With this outreach strategy, corporations can use publicity, advertising, event sponsorships, and websites to build awareness of an issue and persuade people to donate their time and resources. Selecting a cause relevant to a company’s products and values will benefit the company by strengthening its brand, increasing store traffic, and boosting customer loyalty. It is crucial to choose a cause that can be supported over the long-term and one that customers and employees can commit to wholeheartedly.

Fighting Global Warming, One Sweet Whirl at a Time

In 2002, Ben & Jerry’s collaborated with Dave Matthews Band and to launch “One Sweet Whirled.” As a response to global warming, the initiative promoted a new ice cream flavor, a concert tour and CD, a website, and public relations. The campaign garnered over 53,000 donation pledges, 63,000 letters to Congress, and more than 12,000 new members on

The Power of Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns

Corporations can raise charitable funds through cause-related marketing (CRM) campaigns, which donate a percentage of revenue to a specific issue or program. Such initiatives rely entirely on consumer response and show the optimal strategy to attract charitable donations. A CRM campaign usually involves donating a set amount or percentage of product sales for a specified period. For a successful campaign, the nonprofit CRM partner should have a large membership base, the product should link naturally to the cause, and the incentive should be easy to comprehend. While the CRM campaign raises funds for the nonprofit partner, the company also enjoys benefits like attracting new customers, enhancing its brand, and reaching new markets.

American Express and cause-related marketing

American Express’s campaign in the early 80s revolutionized fundraising through cause-related marketing by pledging a donation every time customers used their credit cards and for every new card application. The campaign resulted in a $1.7 million donation, a 27% increase in card use, and a 10% boost in new credit card applications, setting a new precedent for companies to do well by doing good.

Unleashing the Power of Corporate Social Marketing

A social marketing campaign can improve public behavior to promote health, safety, and environmental protection. Corporate entities can partner with nonprofits or public sector agencies to fund, market, and distribute their product. Such campaigns generate increased sales and promote the company’s values and image while benefiting society. These campaigns work best when targeted behavior has a natural connection with the sponsoring company’s core product. The nonprofit provides expertise, credibility, and extended reach into the community, while the corporate partner donates funds, marketing, distribution, and volunteers. Joining forces for social marketing campaigns can create a tremendous impact on society.

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