What do Patagonia, Dr. Bronner’s, Etsy, TOMS and Warby Parker all have in common? They are all companies that have integrated social purpose into their business models. More businesses are now looking for guidance on how to be purpose-driven in a meaningful way, and an upcoming local event will focus on meeting this demand.

The San Diego Chapter of the American Marketing Association (San Diego AMA) is hosting the 18th annual San Diego AMA Cause Conference on May 19. The conference, to be held at Crowne Plaza in Mission Valley, brings together for-profit and nonprofit professionals at the largest cause and social purpose marketing event on the West Coast.

This year’s conference focuses on “Accelerating the Purpose Revolution.” Featured keynote speaker Aaron Hurst is a leading expert in the fields of purpose at work and social innovation, and has become a leader on employee engagement and retention. He argues that in today’s economy, value lies in establishing purpose for employees and customers through serving needs greater than their own.

The conference will also feature Bethany Joy Clark of TOMS, global brand ambassador for one of the world’s most inspirational brands. Clark will share the TOMS story of purpose-driven growth, a prime example of how giving is good for business.

Frank G. Scarpaci, conference organizer and president of VIANOVA, emphasized that recent research shows that in today’s purpose economy, consumers want brands to have a purpose that goes far beyond profits. “The dramatic shift in consumer expectations of a company’s role in society has been strongly influenced by millennial consumers,” said Scarpaci.

“Millennials want to do good and make the world better, and they recognize the power behind the dollars they are spending. They want to see more companies serve humanity, not just the bottom line,” Scarpaci explained. “The San Diego AMA Cause Conference is for businesses that do want to make a difference and engage with consumers in a meaningful way by having a social mission. Connecting with today’s consumers requires a thoughtful and authentic approach to cause marketing, and our conference will provide insight and tools to help attendees meet those demands.”

This year’s San Diego AMA Cause Conference will provide insight for beginners, including brands and nonprofits looking to start a cause marketing partnership, as well as advanced cause marketers who want to learn about the latest trends from industry thought leaders. The conference will be divided into tracts for every level of attendee.

According to Chris Carter, San Diego AMA Cause Conference co-chair and San Diego Food Bank vice president of communications, marketing and public affairs, cause marketing is making a significant difference for good in San Diego to help those in need. “Cause marketing is a win-win-win-win for all stakeholders,” said Carter. “Brands are allied with a cause that engages both their employees and consumers. The nonprofit benefits by direct support for its mission coupled with greater awareness in the community. And, most importantly, the nonprofit’s service population receives desperately needed vital services and support.”

San Diego Food Bank launched a point-of-sale cause marketing partnership with Vons, CBS 8, San Diego Gas & Electric and Sycuan that resulted in over 285,000 pounds of food being donated by Vons’ customers for the Food Bank’s summer food drive which raises food for families with children living in poverty who stop receiving free school meals over the summer months and face hunger at home.

At the Cause Conference, attendees will learn about many more case studies like this, as well as finding and partnering with the right nonprofit or brand, engaging a media partner to support your cause, best practices from socially conscious businesses, and much more.

Affordability is a key focus for conference organizers, particularly for nonprofit attendees, with the cost for full conference access at $149 for nonprofits. To learn more and register for the San Diego AMA Cause Conference, visit causesd.org.

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