PRWeek: You were previously at Procter & Gamble for 11 years. How did that position prepare you for a move to the agency world, particularly in the cause branding space?
Craig Bida: As a marketer at Procter, I worked with a number of agencies at any given time, working to develop great partnerships and shared objectives to identify ways to solve problems and come up with creative solutions. The other piece, I'd say, is consumer focus. Procter & Gamble is legendary for its focus on consumer and consumer insights in the marketplace and it understands what motivates people and what they're passionate about as individuals. Over the past couple of years, I've done a lot of work in the cause area on the Duracell business, where I was very focused on connecting the brand with passions, interests, and causes that mattered to the people who were purchasing that product. That, and just the great experience of working on some of the world's leading brands has been great preparation for the work I'm doing here now.
PRWeek: And what are your goals for the new position at Cone?
Bida: One is to continue to deliver the world-class executions and thinking and strategy for Cone clients. It's also to take down some of the big challenges in the world. If you've spent time in an emergency room or in a poor neighborhood or working with folks who have health challenges or thought about climate change, the world is full of great challenges and things to take on. I want to focus on driving innovation and working to create scale and drive impact in society.
PRWeek: What trends are you seeing in the cause marketing space? Are there any issues you're excited to tackle?
Bida: I think there is such a groundswell of interest in cause that is happening right now. If you look at the number of folks who have expectations out there about companies being involved, 83% of Americans, recent research shows, would like to see more products, services, and retailers they use supporting worthy causes. So people have high expectations. The other I've found is technology. The way that people are interacting and communicating with each other is changing and evolving. There is a continuing deepening interest in cause among people and then really interesting ways for people to connect and to share their experiences as they participate in them.
PRWeek: What projects are you working on?
Bida: We've had some recent accolades for some projects, like Connect a Million Minds effort, which is underway with Time Warner Cable, focusing on education and creating thinkers and problem solvers among the younger generation. The Stirring Up Wishes work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Betty Crocker. We seek to connect brands with lasting and enduring causes, the really big interventions that help build brands over time. The ability to create a corporate responsibility platform for companies that looks at their entire impact in their world and the stakeholders that matter to them, whether it's environmental, employment, governmental issues, and then try to create cause branding efforts that really activate them and bring that to life for consumers. That's a focus area for me as well.