Content Collaboration for Causes


The Case for Co-Branding...

Taco Bell and Doritos… Uber and Spotify… Redbull and GoPro… Nike and Apple…

Collaboration continues to be a powerful part of the marketing toolkit, and has become a staple for companies (and individuals) to raise product and brand awareness. In social media, co-branded video has had a huge impact, according to Travis Chambers, founder of growth & video agency Chamber Media (and Forbes 30 under 30). “In the YouTube world, collaboration is the best tactic someone can use to build their brand. By working with others in similar niches, both parties can gain some of the other’s followers.”

However, when it comes to social causes, co-branding/co-marketing often goes no further than joint sponsorship. Why? There is no absence of interest in supporting social causes; according to GivingUSA, Americans donated over $427B to U.S. charities in 2018, 68% of which came from individual contributors while corporations and foundations together generated over 22%.

Brand support for social causes continues to grow each year, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), and while the growth of digital content consumption with each generation provides a forum for brands to build their impact identity, established market-driven rules are hard to break, observes Eric Nee, Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (published by Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society). “Cause-marketing has a long history, with plenty of examples of an individual for-profit company aligning its brand with a non-profit or a cause. But companies in the same industry are reluctant to publicly partner (think Nike and Adidas). They may find common ground on supply chain issues (fair trade, etc.), but not much beyond that.”

Creating a Collaborative Environment...

Corporate organization structure may also play a part in the collaboration disconnect. The separation between marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in larger companies often limits CSR’s involvement in brand/marketing strategy, let alone involvement in collaborative efforts.

Marc Pollick, CEO of