Photo Maresa Smith/Stocksy |



Many brands are tying themselves to charitable causes in order to win consumer affection, but is it a good business strategy? Author Anne Bahr Thompson and USC marketing professor Adlai Wertman provide insights and answers.

Run Time: 30 minutes

Cause-related marketing has been around for a long time. It happens when a business or brand goes to market with a product or service and a promise to support a worthwhile cause. These tactics can include promotional offers linked to charitable giving or more integrated approaches such as the one-for-one model made popular by Tom’s and Warby Parker. The question is: how successful are these programs at driving sales for the marketer and for driving good deeds for the public.

In episode #08, we chat with author Anne Bahr Thompson, whose new book Do Good, dissects strategies to tie brands to purpose and social mission. We also sit down with Adlai Wertman, who heads USC’s Social Enterprise Lab. He provides deep insight into ways companies can earn a profit while also having a meaningful social impact.


Anne Bahr Thompson

With more than 25 years of experience as a global brand strategist, Anne Bahr Thompson is an accomplished researcher, writer and speaker, and the pioneer of the strategic framework of Brand Citizenship®. A former executive director of strategy and planning and head of consulting at Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, Anne founded Onesixtyfourth, a boutique consultancy, to integrate cultural shifts & a social conscience into brand development. Her writings have appeared in Economist Books,, The Guardian, Brand Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and many other publications.

Anne’s new book, DO GOOD: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit, is available in stores and online now.

Adlai Wertman

Adlai Wertman is the David C. Bohnett Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business. He is the founding director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at Marshall—a University-wide center focused on educating and supporting USC students, faculty, staff, and community members on using business models to address global social, environmental and health challenges. Among numerous programs, the Lab also recently introduced a one-year Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship - the first such degree offered by a business school in the United States.

Prior to joining the faculty at Marshall, Adlai spent seven years as president and CEO of Chrysalis—the only non-profit in Los Angeles devoted solely to helping homeless change their lives through employment. Prior to Chrysalis, Adlai spent 18 years as an investment banker in New York and Los Angeles.

Adlai is an advisory board member of REDF and the Sydney Harmon Academy of Polymathic Studies, as well as a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, the USC Center on Social Innovation and the USC Casden Institute. He has also served as a commissioner of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Fund. Adlai is a frequent speaker on the issues of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Adlai was a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and a Wexner Heritage Fellow. Adlai earned his BA in Economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his MBA in Finance, Public Policy Management and Strategic Planning from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Also In the Show

We reference a very funny video created by Bobby Moynihan and Grant O'Brien. We think it perfectly sums up the issues and craziness of the latest cause-marketing fads.

Show Credits



The Findings Report theme song was composed by Daniel Munkus

Other music heard in this episode:


  • Transcription: Lydia Ward
  • Production Support: Amanda White


comments powered by Disqus