Syncing Brand DNA and Cause

RockCorps Logo

Stephen Greene, RockCorps CEO and one of its six founders, called in from London for our interview today. He’s there setting up a partnership with the mobile carrier Orange to introduce youth to the concept of volunteering and activism through the power of music.

The collaboration builds on RockCorps’ successful programs with U.S. brands: teenagers volunteer for four hours in exchange for a concert ticket. Tickets cannot be bought or won, only earned through giving back. RockCorps works with local nonprofits across the country, A-listers in the music industry and corporate affiliates to engender an experience that is larger than its parts, and which offers up volunteerism as a new passion-point for youth.

Some highlights of our conversation:

  • A self-termed Social Business, RockCorps is a marketing platfrom for its brand partners with the distinction of addressing social issues. It’s an LLC and receives all funding from its brand partners.
  • Stephen’s advice for integrating social impact and business from two perspectives (I use Nike as a brand example): Third Sector (cause or nonprofit) Perspective: figure out what Nike needs that you can offer and learn to speak Nike’s language, rather than pushing your message. You’re working to help Nike meet its needs (publicity, customers, image) while still tackling the social issue about which you’re passionate.When you introduce a cause to Nike, meet with the marketing staff rather than community relations. Go after the people who have the budget to promote Nike through a Nascar campaign and convince them that you’re going to create a really hip marketing platform that will win them a greater audience.

Brand Perspective: It’s critical to assimilate Nike’s aligned cause into the brand’s personality and DNA. A marketer’s job is to determine aspects of the Nike brand are under-communicated to its core audience and then identify partners who can effectively evoke or communicate this message.

Here’s the audio from my full conversation with Stephen. It’s about 25 minutes.

Download CauseCapitalism-RockCorps.mp3


Comments are closed.