Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a new series highlighting cause marketing campaigns from around the world called ‘Global Voices’. We hope our team of international contributors will shed insights into cause marketing in their home country and inspire you to expand your own purpose-driven horizons.
Company: Procter & Gamble India
Nonprofit: Round Table India, Save the Children India, Others
Date Launched: 2005
Total Donation to Date: Over $4.5 million
Type of Campaign: Transactional
Author: Namit Agarwal, India
CMF Global Voices Correspondent Namit Agarwal says that Procter & Gamble’s “Shiksha” program is “arguably India’s best and longest running cause marketing campaign.” Here he offers a description and analysis of this long-running initiative.
Access to quality education is one of the major challenges facing the underprivileged in India. Despite continual efforts of the government and development agencies, the percentage of out-of-school children remains high. Gender disparities limit access to schools for girls. Lack of proper infrastructure and limited capacity of teachers further adds to the issue.
In 2005, India’s largest consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble (P&G), launched a cause marketing campaign called ‘Shiskha’ (which means “education”) to address this critical problem in India.
Through customer research, P&G India identified education as a top concern and thus designed this campaign to allow customers to support the cause with the simple act of purchasing P&G products. In 2012 P&G India made a minimum donation commitment of about $150,000 (Rs. 10 million) irrespective of sales. The donations were attributed to the sale of large products packs of Tide, Ariel, Pantene, Olay, H&S, Rejoice, Vicks VapoRub, Whisper, Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, Gillette Series, Oral B, Duracell and Pampers over a three-month period.
Funds collected through this campaign are directed to nonprofit partners, each of which focus on a critical approach towards education. Round Table India is P&G India’s key charity partner. Save the Children India, Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA) are other Shiksha parthers.
“The coming fiscal year represents the 10th year of P&G Shiksha. Our plan continues to be to enable more children to access quality education by building & supporting schools across the country. P&G’s signature corporate sustainability program P&G Shiksha has to date assisted over 420,000 children to access education by building & supporting over 220 schools across India, in partnership with a number of NGOs,” says a P&G India spokesperson.
In the last nine years of the Shiksha program, P&G has made a cumulative donation of over $4.5 million (Rs 270 million) to its NGO partners.
This is arguably India’s best and longest running cause marketing campaign. In my view the strengths of this campaign are visibility, transparency and long term commitment.
Visibility: P&G India leverages its media and PR prowess to promote the Shiksha campaign. Shiksha television ad campaigns run across various TV channels. Point of sale communication at large retail stores and local retail outlets are also used to create customer awareness. Shiksha has been supported by several eminent Indian celebrities and P&G India employees participate through hands-on volunteering. The campaign has also been fairly active on social media; the P&G Shiksha Facebook page has over 290,000 followers.
Transparency: The company has done a commendable job in being transparent about the donation pledged and specifically references the impact it has made over the past nine years. It clearly communicates to the customers which brands are part of this campaign and that the donation is valid only during specific months. That said, the only missing piece in this campaign is pinpointing for the consumer the amount of money each sale generates. A communication that shares, ‘For every P&G product you buy, a donation of Rupee 1 will be made towards Shiksha’ would have increased transparency even further. It’s difficult for a consumer to connect with the campaign without knowing his/ her exact contribution.
Long term commitment: Nine years and running – this shows the long term commitment P&G has towards the cause. Working with multiple NGO partners to address the issue from multiple approaches gives a wider perspective. The impact achieved was only possible because of the long term commitment.
The Indian Parliament has very recently made it mandatory for large companies to spend at least 2% of their average net profits (made during the three immediately preceding financial years), in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. This Bill will certainly catapult the CSR spending of companies in India. Most large companies already are spending close to 2% or even more in some cases. What the Bill also does is brings CSR to the mainstream. The Indian government has also issued CSR guidelines for companies – fortunately for P&G, Shiksha fits in quite well.