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Alan Gonsenhauser, brand identity, corporate social responsibility, CSR, Lauren Woodman, NetHope, SiriusDecisions, TRANSFORM

Tech & Marketing Can Improve Lives: Brand Implications for CMOs

Alan Gonsenhauser, Research Director of CMO and Marketing Executive Strategies at SiriusDecisions, recently attended MassTLC’s TRANSFORM event and was inspired by keynote speaker, Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope. Alan sees a clear imperative for CMOs to connect their organizations’ social responsibility goals with their brand identity. Alan elaborates on this in the post below.


  • Modern technology significantly improves people’s lives – and often saves them
  • Nonprofit organizations need help with marketing and positioning to better understand and serve their personas
  • CMOs must re-think how they envision and connect their brand identities with social responsibilities

As a CMO, have you recently thought about how your organization makes the world a better place, as well as the implications to positioning your brand and driving brand reputation? Considering how your organization contributes to our global ecosystem and humanity is an important moral and strategic question. Additionally, it has become a key Millennial need as they seek to join organizations they can feel passionate about.

Connecting an organization’s mission to improving humanity may be easy in the healthcare and education spaces, but what about the high-tech organizations that speed up the Internet and communications, data transfer, analytics and security? Or financial services orgs that may be financing technology, business startups, sustainability or transportation? I would offer that all organizations must have a clearer vision of how they contribute to our world, and do a better job of integrating this into their corporate brand identity and employee lifecycle marketing through social responsibility programs aligned to their vision for the future.

I recently enjoyed a thought-provoking presentation by Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope – a global nonprofit non-governmental organization that has the tagline “Changing the world through the power of technology and collaboration.” Lauren offered three technology and marketing areas that improve people’s lives, along with some examples:

  • Connectivity. Increased Internet speeds, productivity and communications bandwidth provides many human benefits to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, which has a population of more than 238,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers. The camp was recently re-wired, which gave network partners a threefold increase in speed at 25 percent of the prior cost. Faster speeds and bandwidth enables and accelerates communications, education and telemedicine to these communities.
  • Big data and analytics. The effort to fight the Ebola crisis in West Africa was greatly enhanced by the presence of Internet connectivity, highlighting where medical help was present and needed vs. being ignored, thus saving countless lives.
  • Improved audience-centricity. Nonprofits must improve their understanding of key audience personas (e.g. refugees) and their real needs to create better beneficiary-centered programs. For example, camp directors at a Syrian refugee camp tried to feed nearly five million refugees lentils and beans, which were not part of their diet. After taking the time to better understand their typical diet, Safeway stores were opened that offered fruits and vegetables to meet the refugees’ needs.

Does your organization assist with technologies to improve speed, ease of communication, data storage, education and analytics? As a CMO, have you considered how your products and services connect down the value chain to improve lives and create a vision that connects with your brand?

As the examples above highlight, Internet and communications technologies, big data and analytics are saving and improving countless lives, especially for the neediest in our world. CMOs should envision how their organization’s products and services can connect with philanthropic causes to improve lives. Moreover, nonprofits could benefit learning to adopt an audience-centric approach. Understanding audience needs and preferences can be translated directly into better services.

As a CMO, it’s time to align your organization’s social responsibility strategies with your business strategies and strongly articulate that value into your brand identity. I also recommend that you consider sharing your expertise on a nonprofit board that would love your help!

Read the original post and other articles by Alan on the SiriusDecisions website.

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