Uncategorized Jul 21, 2023

There are distinct and different ways of partnering with a company, and therefore, an array of different terms (jargon).

If your organisation wants to partner with companies, it’s vital your Board understands the different terminology as they have funding & legal consequences. If YOU are the changemaker tasked with winning corporate partners, you must know the differences, so you can enter negotiations with authority and confidence.


Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with the 4 Purses: the four purses within a corporate, company or brand that may hold resources, expertise and cash for non-profits & social enterprises. Each purseholder has a different motivation for partnering with a non-profit or social enterprise, hence why there are so many techniques and terms. If you’re unfamiliar with the 4 Purses, download our free Infographic here, it’s a gamechanger in understanding the corporate sector.

Let’s dive into the largest and most lucrative purse, the Marketing Purse. Here you’ll find several techniques and terms including Brand Aligned partnership, Co-Branding, Cause Related Marketing, Sponsorship, Licensing and Cause Related campaigning.

Brand-aligned partnership

This essentially means a company (or more commonly a brand) aligns itself with a cause or charity, in the public domain. Most commonly the two brands have similar personalities, values, vision, and societal goals. In essence the cause ‘aligns’ itself to the company or brand, and vice versa. This is sometimes called Co-branding. The word ‘alignment’ refers to public visibility, but it also means that there IS alignment between the two. Confusing? Sure is! Companies and brands often collaborate in this way, think Uber & Spotify, McDonalds & Coca Cola, Lego & Disney. It’s all about trading off each other’s strengths & reputation, reaching new markets, cross-promotion to fan bases and customers. Of course, ANY kind of partnership between a company and a charity/cause, non-profit or social enterprise should be well aligned, otherwise it lacks integrity, credibility and may not resonate with consumers – indeed a misaligned alliance could well attract negative publicity and damage both brands in the process. It’s vital to know that a brand-aligned partnership between a company and a cause is NOT philanthropy, is NOT Cause Related Marketing and it’s NOT Sponsorship.

It's NOT philanthropy because philanthropy cannot be actively marketed. If a philanthropic ‘donation’ suddenly becomes a company’s latest social media sensation, then it’s no longer a philanthropic donation and the ATO will have something to say about it (potentially issue a fine). Because if a company is claiming the tax benefit on a philanthropic donation, it cannot derive any kind of commercial benefit (which a marketing activity most DEFINITELY IS!).


A brand aligned partnership that I’m especially proud of brokering some years ago is Kleenex and Guide Dogs Australia, based on a shared brand icon – the Labrador puppy. It ran for 12 years, featured on-pack & instore promotion and tv advertisements, and generated over $2.6m of untied funds to help train guide dog puppies.


Cause Related Marketing

Cause Related Marketing (CRM) is a brand-aligned partnership with a publicly stated financial contribution. It might be expressed as ‘10c is donated to charity x’ even though this isn’t legally accurate (for the reasons explained above). Having been around for three decades, it’s a well-known technique, that’s making a comeback. CRM is primarily about differentiating a brand and driving sales. For any non-profit that wants to generate substantial untied funds as well as benefit from a major boost to their brand awareness, CRM is a great technique. But you must know the value of your brand before entering any kind of CRM arrangement, otherwise the corporate or brand will dictate its value (set the amount of money you will receive for the use of your precious brand).  You can value your brand at our upcoming Brand Valuation workshop in August – more info here

I’m writing a series of blogs featuring prominent Cause Related Marketing partnerships, coming soon.

We hope this was enlightening and helpful. Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2, where we’ll explore Sponsorship, Licensing & Cause Related Campaigning - even more lucrative opportunities from the corporate marketing purse.


Hailey Cavill-Jaspers



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