It’s Better to Give Than Receive
By George Anderson
In the commercialized orgy that has become the American holiday season, many have seemingly forgotten the adage: “It is better to give than receive.”
According to some retail industry watchers, this year’s holiday season is different as the images of the personal devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Asia
and other events have made consumers and marketers more aware of how much we possess and how little others have.
Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, told USA Today, “Holiday 2005 will be remembered as the year of giving to those in need. Retailers want consumers
to feel good about buying and helping others.”
David Hessekiel, president of the Cause Marketing Forum, said the move by American businesses to support charities has gained impetus in recent years. “The disasters have demonstrated
what companies will do. But the upswing really goes back to the public perception of corporations and corporate leaders falling from a low perch after years of scandal. Many corporate
leaders woke up to say, ‘We have to turn this around,’ ” he said.
Among the retailers combining commerce and causes this holiday season are Best Buy, Brooks Bros., Kay Jewelers, Talbots, Target and Wal-Mart.
Best Buy formed Toys for Teens in conjunction with the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots program. Bins are set up in stores for consumers to leave gifts at stores. Customers also have
the option of making a monetary donation at the checkout.
Talbots donated $1 for every dollar purchased in its stores for the first weekend in December to Save the Children. The retailer promised to contribute a minimum of $50,000.
Wal-Mart, off the heels of its great publicity related to Hurricane Katrina, has joined again with the Salvation Army to promote its Red Kettle efforts. Last year, the company
helped raised $17 million for the group.
Moderator’s Comment: Are consumers more interested in cause related retailing than in the past? What are the keys to be successful when a business aligns
with a cause or causes? –
George Anderson – Moderator