Editor’s Note: At CMF, we’re always anxious to hear feedback from our conference attendees. Given the fact that cause marketing is now a global affair, we are thrilled to share this international perspective from one UK-based attendee.
I’ll be honest – when David Hessekiel invited me to the Cause Marketing Forum, I was contemplating the worth of making the flight from London to Chicago. I’ll admit it – I was more than hesitant.
Now looking back at those two non-stop days, I wish I’d learnt about the Cause Marketing Forum 10 years ago!
What struck me was the openness of the attendees. Questions were asked with sincerity, and answered honestly and happily; an absolute transparency that we simply don’t find in Europe.
While our continent boasts charities who brilliantly inspire retailers and consumers (and I’m honoured to assist with that) – I would categorise our third-sector as a ‘community of charities’ – organisations who share warm, yet guarded, relationships.
CMF bought together what was clearly something special. It’s what I’d describe as a ‘family of charities’ – organisations willing to appropriately share with one another, to help one another, and be trusting of each other. This wasn’t a conference to take from another – this was an opportunity to give.
Every presentation I saw was brilliant (even the ones which I suspected would be a little light on dazzle). A large proportion featured a style that we’re simply not used to in Europe: emotive, yet rich in content. Bold, yet unpretentious.
Anyone who attended Adopt-a-Classroom’s Bob Thacker’s presentation (on Unleashing Creativity) will agree with me that it’s impossible to approach cause marketing with the same old assumptions we walked in with. UNICEF’s Caryl Stern’s speech developed an inspiring and affirming context that we couldn’t stop dissecting amongst ourselves.
While Europe can claim a more developed approach in utilising promotional merchandise in a cause-marketing context (for example, educating consumers and raising vast funds through retailer promoted till point products), the American sector’s spirit of collaboration is an essential lesson.
Count me in for CMF13.