Successfully Engaging Customers with a Cause

Case Study at the Media Convergence Forum from Liz Cahill, VP of Marketing and Communications of Lee Jeans

13 years ago Lee recognized women were the top consumers of their jeans. And at the same time cause marketing was starting to take hold. Lee studied the causes that women really identified with and breast cancer was a clear winner. Lee wanted to do something because over 44,000 women a year die from breast cancer each year in the US. But they wanted to give the consumer the ability to make a difference. So they started the “pay $5 to wear jeans to work” on the first Friday of every October (aka – breast cancer awareness day) and wanted to create Lee national denim day. Over the last 13 years they raised $75M for breast cancer research.

At the beginning of the program they were breaking ground – now it’s seems like a “sea of Pink” – So welcome to Web 2.0 it’s no longer about pushing information out – it’s about consumers generating conversations.

Some Highlights:

  • Hub was http://www.denimday.com
  • They made sure the site was a real online community for men, women and companies
  • You sign up, create a “team” and tell your story as a way to recruit and harness UGC
  • They started building outpost sites on MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube – tapping into existing communities – making it extremely seamless with denimday.com
  • They made sure it is searchable and found at the top of Google and Wikipedia page and it is updated all the time. That’s when the messaging really started to spread like widefire.
  • They added celebrity ambassadors like Ellen DeGeneres and allow folks to connect with their ambassadors.
  • They also used The Office TV show to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and got a 60% conversion rate because of that program off of YouTube.
  • They harnessed blogs and message boards – “be very careful if you are trying to sell them – must be a very genuine conversation” Went to breast cancer blog sites – tried to give relevant information and how they can join in National Breast Cancer Awareness day.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus – tapped into a whole group of country music fans.

Tips and tricks of the Lee Jeans program

  • Empower participants
  • Embrace the transparency
  • Communicate regularly
  • Tag everything
  • Ensure consistency in the look and feel
  • Do your homework do not “pitch” bloggers
  • Be prepared for commentary

How to quantify value from cause marketing

  • We can see a direct correlation and high share of wallet
  • Over the last 13 years – the brand that cares for me – is one that you recommend to others!

Do a Social Audit

  • Must be done continuously – have people monitoring daily on various type of social networks as well as the blogosphere
  • What are the conversation being held about the brand and where
  • As well as Denimday – what is being said

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