Frontrunner’s meetup series, ‘CrossLink’ launched on June 6 with ‘Cause Marketing for Social Brands’.  Michael Fasciano presented on trends in the space (featured in the embedded presentation.)  Edward Symes followed by screening 15 minutes of his recent documentary, ‘Los Medicos’ which follows the story of volunteer doctors in Guatemala.  The seminar concluded with a panel discussion that also featured Tim Fogarty, Chief Strategy Officer for Organic Spread Media.

During the panel discussion a number of provacative questions were raised about Cause Marketing:

1. What are the inherent risks of cause marketing?  If you want to do good, just do it!  Why do you need it to be validated by advertising.

2. Engagement mechanisms commonly used by cause marketing, such as likes, voting, texting and other emerging digital behaviors are tapping into forms of communication that are gaining widespread adoption, but do not yet have a standardized social meaning for every context.

3. How do marketers select the causes that associate their programs with?  Do certain causes connect with specific demographics better or worse?

4. How does cause marketing ensure a sense of authenticity when it’s used for advertising purposes?  Is it okay that causes are being co-opted for self-interests?

What do you think?  Please feel free to comment below – let’s keep the conversation going!