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SALT LAKE CITY — Local company Cause Brands is revolutionizing how businesses conduct philanthropic endeavors by introducing innovative and unique marketing strategies. From helping put on the 2014 Dream Press’ Dreamathon to Cotopaxi’s Questival, Cause Brands has been crucial in helping companies and individuals find, pursue and promote causes they are most passionate about.
The idea of Cause Brands was born a few years ago when founder Scott Windes was running his own boutique agency, which he decided he wanted to take in a different direction. Windes wanted to focus more on nonprofits, but not necessarily by just working with charities. Instead, Windes wanted to help businesses do more cause marketing themselves, helping them to find their company purpose while also connecting them with charities. He believes that giving back is a crucial attribute for good business.
“We try and find the right cause for the brand or the company. We try and help them find out what cause they are passionate about and then we find the charity partners or programs that they can support,” Windes said.
I think consumers and the media right now are a little bit hesitant, or don't have 100 percent trust in companies that are doing cause marketing, or ones that are giving back. People are a little scared that if they do attach a cause to their business that it is just a marketing tool and their heart is not in it. So we try and make sure that that is not the case when we are working with people.
Windes notes that he has particular causes he cares about but tries to be unbiased when steering people towards the things they care about. The whole process of helping businesses find what causes they care about has to be an authentic one.
“I think consumers and the media right now are a little bit hesitant, or don’t have 100 percent trust in companies that are doing cause marketing, or ones that are giving back,” Windes said. “People are a little scared that if they do attach a cause to their business that it is just a marketing tool and their heart is not in it. So we try and make sure that that is not the case when we are working with people. This isn't just a way to get more customers but something that they truly care about and continue to do in the long run.”
Cause Brands has worked with several local and national companies over the past couple of years. Windes helped run the social media campaign for Kong, a pet company, in which the media strategy focused around motivating people into taking better care of their pets. Another local company that the agency helps with is called Yiva, which makes a raspberry all natural fertility supplement to help couples who are struggling with fertility.
“Yiva is having some great results in helping women who are struggling with fertility, both in making sure that they give them the products, and the information they need to overcome that,” Windes said.
One of the agency’s more well-known campaigns was when it worked with Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand, kick-starting the company with a music festival and helping put on Questival, a 24-hour team adventure race in Salt Lake City. Cotopaxi’s primary focus is to “alleviate poverty” in developing countries by giving a portion of its profits to developing countries.
“Every single product they sell gives back to a charity. They have multiple causes. They have small orphanages, schools they support and clean water initiatives in different parts of the world. They don’t have one singular cause that they support. Each of their products supports a different cause,” Windes said.
Another big client of Cause Brands is the United Nations Foundation. This foundation’s primary aim is to reach its millennial goals to end poverty by 2030. This particular group is a charity, and is not for profit, Windes said, but Cause Brands helps run a lot of campaigns the U.N. is invested in, known as “influencer programs.”
“Influencers are thought leaders in a particular field. They are people who are already vocal and active in supporting these causes, everything from politicians to CEOs to people in the entertainment industry. So, they are people who have pretty large social media followings,” Windes said.
Windes’ team is also currently developing a technology platform of its own called “Crowddriving.” The idea behind it is to inspire everyday people to take action for a particular cause. He said that a cause he is particularly passionate about is inspiring others to make a difference. The company built a platform called TimeMachine allowing anyone to create a social to-do list and then share it with followers.
“So, if you have say, 1,000 followers on Facebook, then you can create a campaign within our mobile app, and say ‘here are 10 ways to support my cause,’ ” Windes said. “You can then have your followers complete those actions and take action on behalf of what you care about. I want to give people the right tools so that they can make a difference themselves, or they can build a following, and that following can make a difference.”