Communicating shared purpose in audience-led creative campaigns

Raw London's Founder, Ryan Wilkins and Business Director,Rob Jelly, speaking at the Corporate Charity Partnerships Conference in October 2022

This is a summary of our session at the Strategic Win-Win Corporate Charity Conference on Wednesday 12 October 2022.

It’s probably not breaking news that consumers are putting their wallets where their values are. In fact, they’re increasingly starting or ending relationships with brands based on how they’re treating the environment or positioning themselves on social and political issues.

Research from Aflac’s CSR report tells us that 64% of consumers expect brands to be positive contributors to society. Additionally, 77% are more motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place.  

In terms of marketing and communication, why is this so important?

Philanthropy increases brand loyalty 

Well because it’s also proven that philanthropy increases brand loyalty. This is especially true of younger customers…

A survey by Nielsen reports that consumers under the age of 40 like to give back through how and where they shop. So, if a brand can make that process effective and straightforward, it gives them a compelling reason to continue patronising that brand over the longer term.

It’s vital for brands to have an authentic CSR strategy and effective partnerships to enable them to deliver. We know that, we’re all ‘onnit. But nearly as important as the ‘doing’ is the ‘telling’ – for both brands and partners. And giving them the “what” and “why” on the channels your audiences’ are hanging out on.

That’s where we come in, and why we’re so excited about the potential that corporate/charity partnerships have to offer.

Great partnerships open up a whole new world of creative and branding possibilities. And well-designed campaigns can increase brand awareness, loyalty, and employee engagement – and open up valuable new income streams for charities.

If you’re a brand or charity on this journey, here are 5 tips to help you launch meaningful creative campaigns. Many of these come from our Charity and Brand Partnerships Relay event earlier this year, which you can watch in full and on-demand here.

1: Invest time to get to know each other.

The best creative campaigns are built on research and insights that unearth the less obvious.

A great example of this came from Mind and the early stages of their partnership with ASICS. Following an introduction from Mind’s Head of Physical Activity, both teams realised that Mind and ASICS shared the same goal – “to promote the benefits of physical activity on our mental health.”

For more on this campaign, check out our Relay event; Charity and Brand Partnerships: Building authentic creative collaborations, where you can hear from Sarah House, Senior New Corporate Partnerships Manager at Mind.

2: Find the story at the heart of your campaign.

A golden thread tying creative together is always present in the most successful and authentic partnerships.

WaterAid and their partnership with Andrex really nail this one. Their joint initiative Toilets Change Lives helps transform the lives of thousands of people by constructing new or renovating existing public toilets in Bangladesh.

This simple but powerful proposition and vision that makes it super clear to everyone what their goal is, and how, as a consumer, you’re helping fund tangible solutions. And this proposition is present through all of their creative executions, from packaging to PR to TV – above and below the line. Enabling them to create that consistent golden thread throughout the campaign. Again, watch our Relay event to hear direct from WaterAid’s Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager, Celeste Mottahedin-Fardo.

3: Leverage universal human truths in your storytelling.

Whether it’s fun or happy memories, stories of parenthood, emotive health journeys, love and relationships, even something more taboo (within reason of course), these are all rich avenues to explore.

This was definitely true for one of our biggest projects this year, as the new digital agency partner for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Working across three strategically integrated campaigns, we provided insight that showed by challenging previous stereotypes. The work allowed Macmillan and their corporate partners to reach audiences, particularly men, who till now had been difficult to engage with.

By using emotive real life questions and authentic stories, it’s meant greater engagement, such as on social channels like Twitter. Whilst providing more interactive collateral for partners to use in fundraising. And even inspiring interest across traditional media, with Talksport radio hosting a weekly show for men to talk openly about their health.

4: Know your audience – listen, learn and respond.

Our advice is to make sure the campaign strategy is audience first. Think about your shared demographics and what you know about their behaviours – are there obvious crossovers?

This was key in unlocking the challenge and idea for our campaign, Climate Giants, for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). The idea behind this campaign is to bring to life new research from WDC’s partnership with Deloitte and LiveWord Studios at COP26. The research shows that whales play a vital role in restoring our ecosystem – making the issue about the climate, as much as about whale conservation.

Our challenge was to bring this to life in a way that meaningfully engaged new audiences. So we stepped away from WDC’s traditional audience, to instead target a ‘climate conscious’ audience – those with climate anxiety and starved of a solution. And ‘Save the Whale. Save the World.’ emerged.

As a result of this insight-led approach, the campaign:

  • Gained six new corporate partnerships in the first few months.
  • Raised £400,000 in the first three months.
  • Earned 80,000 organic engagements & 1.8 million impressions online.

It’s also been nominated in the CSR, fundraising and not-for-profit at Cannes Corporate Awards, and gained a whole host of new supporters for WDC – with many more plans to come.

5: Be curious, be brave and, most of all, be ambitious.

Taking a bold approach to creative can make more impact for both sides of a partnership. 

A really good example of being bold is Movember’s partnership with Pringles. What has Pringles got to do with mental health, I hear you ask?

Well, Kellogg’s and Movember have a shared purpose around starting conversations with friends and family. What we love about this creative approach is how bold the Pringles brand have been by allowing Mr. P (that’s his name) to shave his iconic moustache. You can just imagine that meeting between the campaign team and the head of brand guidelines…

But it’s that flexibility and willingness to get involved and have a bit of fun that provided both parties with such a visual and hugely PR’able story that got picked up by media all over the world. It resulted in nearly £150k being donated to Movember by Pringles. 

Rachael Conroy, Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager at Movember and Kate Prince, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Kellogg, shared behind-the-scenes insight of their brilliant partnership campaign at our Relay event; Charity and Brand Partnerships: Building authentic creative collaborations.

Another recent example that we love is Asda’s The Real Self-Checkout campaign (below). Here, Asda and partners Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel! highlight the fact that regularly checking your chest and being aware of the symptoms and signs of breast cancer could help save your life. 

Crystal ball time!

How can apply all of the above and communicate shared purpose in the real world today?

Here are just some of the audience and creative trends we’ll be seeing in the year ahead… 

The rise of streaming and gaming.

Forbes reported streaming raised over $83 million in 2020 – and the appetite continues to grow. Having launched Mind’s latest fundraising campaign, #StreamforMind, we know that 2023 will show the continued rise of gaming and live streaming.

Being a passenger isn’t enough in this space. Any success in using gaming or streaming will depend on how you approach the streaming community, how you find and speak with streamers/gamers and how you enlist the power of influencers.

Developing a compelling streaming or gaming concept could even open up opportunities to engage your staff to interact or fundraise with charity partners.

Brands need to be ready (and open) to leverage new channels.

We all know the power of social media, but do we know enough about using the right channels in the right way?

Reports show that Gen Z make 60% of Tiktok users or as much as 90% of users on snapchat, whilst their use of Facebook has declined over the past 2 years…

Applicants giving their checkout voice the best shot on TikTok to win 10k clubcard points with Tesco.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that Tesco’s recent TikTok based competition to “find the next voice at our check outs” has become a viral hit. Its success is best shown in their views and interactions – 36.5m and counting!

What’s interesting to us is the campaign is totally unbranded, granted the winner receive 10k clubcard points, but by engaging users in the correct way on this platform, Tesco are part of a social conversation.

Applying this type of approach in a potential brand/charity partnership campaign could be a really interesting proposition.

Sustainable production starts with the creative idea itself.

Less of a trend and more becoming a prerequisite is sustainable production.

As a B-Corp, this one is really important to us. There are plenty of easy wins that everyone can achieve right now. For example, for the L’OCCITANE brand purpose campaign, we considered sustainable means throughout. This included specified meat-free catering, set dressings made from recyclable materials and using carbon neutral transport for crew and equipment.

Whilst all of these actions help, fundamentally, we believe it has to go deeper. Sustainable production should be built into the creative idea itself. 

Why are we still watching a shampoo commercial in which the lead drives a fossil fuel car? Why isn’t she riding a bike, or driving an EV? In our industry, it’s important to show the right sustainable behaviours and choices in our storytelling.

Thomas Kolster, Goodvertising Guru

How to apply sustainable production in real life.

A sustainable approach doesn’t need to restrict you. In fact, there are some really exciting technologies and innovations happening in production right now.

For example, we’re using virtual production for our next DRTV campaign for a global aid charity, like the one pictured below. This is a great alternative to traditionally flying a crew and equipment around the world!

Download our free guide to sustainable production.

We have loads to say on this issue so, if you’re interested in what we’re doing to make our productions more sustainable, and what you can do too, download our free guide below.

Communicating shared purpose in your corporate charity partnerships

As you can see, there are plenty of avenues to explore to creatively communicate your shared purpose, and we hope we’ve inspired you!

If you’d like to talk to us about an upcoming campaign, give us a call on 020 7831 6060 or email

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