Skip to main content

7 Ways Brands can help with the world's 1 billion disadvantaged Children - Ad Age October 21

Marketers have a unique ability to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable

 Credit: Listen Communications Ltd
Credit: Listen Communications Ltd


There are more than 1 billion vulnerable and disadvantaged children living in the world
today, among whom 640 million lack access to shelter, 400 million have no safe drinking water and 270 million receive no health services. COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges children face, including poverty, climate change, disease, war and exploitation, and has caused their numbers to increase by an estimated 20%.


The good news is brands are not powerless to help our most vulnerable population. They have a unique opportunity and ability to make a positive impact in the lives of children around the globe. 


Elevate the problem

The tens of thousands of children’s charities that make up the sector are all trying to address just a fragment of the global problem (e.g., malnutrition in Bangladesh or teenagers dropping out of school in Chicago). Their communications are fractured, ad hoc and tiny. The sector is unable to communicate the size and severity of the problems.


Brands can help by elevating the problem to the national or global level. Brands’ customer base, geographic footprint and media presence make them perfectly positioned to increase exposure, and get the word out about these dire problems and the wonderful solutions already proven to work that should be replicated or scaled up.


Support a sector, not just one charity

Individual charities are limited in how they can communicate to donors and the public.
They fail to get to scale and have only a single story to tell. In order to get the best ROI
for your cause-related marketing, embrace an entire sector and get to scale by
supporting many different solutions. 


Children face many problems and therefore have many different stories to tell. Find an
aggregating communications platform that celebrates those that are proven, scalable
and replicable. Supporting a sector is also much safer than choosing a single charity
with which to associate your brand. 


Listen to the children and stay authentic

No one is better positioned to talk about the plight of children than the children
themselves. Campaigns that carefully film children telling their own stories are authentic
and much more powerful than those in which a presenter or ambassador talks


Look for campaigns that aggregate stories and that are listening and responding to the
experiences of children. Our Listen Campaign has identified 75 projects that are
successful and ready for further support and attention now.


Keep everything positive

Choose a campaign that recognizes the problems children face but doesn’t dwell on
them, instead focusing on proven and replicable solutions. Consumers love to celebrate
and be part of the solution.


Partner with stars and creative artists that share your cause

Stars like Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, and Rihanna are
vocal activists and donors to children’s causes. Partnerships with stars and creative
artists can help your brand amplify the cause even further. 
But associating with a single artist—like associating with a single charity—won’t get you
to scale. To punch through and have a major impact you need to find a campaign that
brings many stars together.   


Use your marketing dollars to maximize the benefit to your brand and the cause. 
The best cause-related marketing campaigns can provide an ROI of 400% compared
to traditional advertising, plus it can elevate the cause. 


They are a win-win, a way of doing well by doing good that consumers enjoy. Brands
that support authentic campaigns get support from consumers. 


Enlist your employees

Brands have more to offer than their marketing muscle and CSR funding. Don’t overlook
the influence your employees can have in supporting children around the world. Engage
your employees in your support of a cause by providing many different ways they can
participate: Sharing content, recruiting friends, creating new  content, entering
promotions, giving ideas, as well as just donating.         


They can become an internal community of supporters. Companies that run cause-
related internal campaigns are proven to retain their staff much longer.  


At a time when the world feels beset by challenges, brands have an important role to
play in promoting solutions to the problems faced by 1 billion vulnerable and
disadvantaged children. They can do this and get massive ROIs on their marketing
dollars if they choose campaigns that get to scale by working at a sectoral level,
aggregating many different projects and charities and partnering with many different
stars and celebrities in order to break through the media clutter.


Link to original: