A small stone tossed into a still pond can create waves that travel far. That's the concept behind Project Ripple, a collaborative-cause marketing campaign that helps raise awareness of and money for The Coca-Cola Company's EKOCENTER project. And it can help you connect with customers with a strong social conscience.
What Is Project Ripple?
Last September, The Coca-Cola Company partnered with colleges to launch the program, which benefits EKOCENTER communities. Pilot programs for Project Ripple went in at foodservice locations at New Jersey's Seton Hall University and another couple of colleges in the Northeast. Collectively, the schools raised more than $10,000 and both chose to direct the funds toward water initiatives. Through the nonprofit Global Water Challenge, these funds will be used to build rainwater harvesting systems to provide clean water access to more than 1,300 children in two schools in the Rulindo District of the Northern Province of Rwanda.
As a concept, Project Ripple is simple: 2 cents is added to the price of all single-serve Coca-Cola beverages. Consumers can opt out of paying the additional amount. Money that is raised is donated to the program. The Coca-Cola Company, the local bottler and the university then have the opportunity to match that donation, up to a capped amount. Students at the schools were given the option of choosing whether they wanted the money raised to go toward women's economic empowerment, safe drinking water initiatives or projects that enhanced the well-being in EKOCENTER communities in Africa.
"Participating in Project Ripple is an easy way to respond to that trend, helping you show support for a cause, engage customers in something meaningful and build stronger relationships."
"The EKOCENTER model is unique in that it is founded on social enterprise, meaning it combines the best of philanthropy and business in an operating model that is carried out together with Government, NGOs and other private-sector partners. Project Ripple is really an extension of this thinking. Our business benefits, the university benefits, our partners benefit, but, most importantly, underserved communities benefit," says Simon Bartlett, Director Partnerships & Marketing EKOCENTER at the Coca-Cola Company.
How Project Ripple Can Help You
Simon says that today's consumers — particularly millennials — are discerning about the brands they buy and associate with, and their choices are increasingly influenced by companies and brands with a social angle. According to the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of those polled said they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environment impact. Among millennials, the results were higher: 73%.
Participating in Project Ripple is an easy way to respond to that trend, helping you show support for a cause, engage customers in something meaningful and build stronger relationships.
Initial results from the Project Ripple pilot were very positive. At one college more than 66% of students had a "somewhat more favorable" or a "much more favorable" opinion of The Coca-Cola Company and the foodservice provider, once made aware of EKOCENTER and Project Ripple.
"By making people aware of the good that we are doing through the EKOCENTER program, and then giving them the opportunity to contribute, we believe that this can help grow our business and also help support communities in need," Bartlett says. "In short, we can do good business while doing good."
And so can you.
For more information or to get involved with Project Ripple, contact Simon Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.