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TitleUSD Hosts Conference on Increasing Market Share through Social Branding
Date9.14.09
ContactLiz Harman
Contact E-mailharman, at sandiego.edu
Contact Phone(619) 260-4682
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Starbucks and Bono’s Product (RED) to Participate

Can businesses do well by doing good, especially in a tough economy?

The second annual Summit for Peace and Prosperity through Trade and Commerce at the University of San Diego Friday, Sept. 18 will explore how companies can not only survive but thrive by demonstrating their commitment to environmental sustainability, initiatives to alleviate poverty and other social issues. “Increasing Market Share through Social Branding” is the conference theme. The event  takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.

"During this economic crisis consumers are viewing some industries, that were motivated by greed and now receiving bail-outs, as being responsible for people losing their homes and jobs," said Professor Denise Dimon, director of the Ahlers Center for International Business at the University of San Diego.  "Companies being identified with positive social and cultural well-being can stand out in the marketplace and gain an edge on their competitors."

According to the Natural Marketing Institute, by 2010 the U.S. market alone for LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) goods is expected to reach $420 billion.  With more awareness of social responsibility, customers want to be associated with "doing their part" when making purchasing decisions.   This is especially important in an economic downturn when consumers are looking to stretch their dollars to receive greater value.

At the conference, global firms including Starbucks will join the smaller start-up, World of Good (mother company of World of Good by eBay), who gained eBay’s attention in addition to gaining market share, media attention and a loyal consumer base through their social branding and marketing strategies. Dennis Macray, Director of Ethical Sourcing and Global Responsibility for Starbucks and Priya Haji, CEO of World of Good will discuss “New Directives of Big Business: Sustainable and Ethical Supply Chain.”

Also joining the conference will be Colin Brady, the COO of Product (RED), which was founded by Bono from the rock band U2 to create a business model that would generate a sustainable flow of money from the private sector into the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Brady will discuss “Innovative Incentives of Social Branding.”

Besides Starbucks, which has increased the amount of FairTrade certified coffee it serves and is taking steps to improve their coffee farmers’ standard of living worldwide,, other participating firms include OneHope (formerly Hope Wine), which donates half of the profits of every bottle of wine sold to a specific cause.

The conference, hosted by USD’s Ahlers Center for International Business and the San Diego World Trade Center will explore the benefits and challenges of social branding. Does it add value to a company or is just a fad? How is a new generation of consumers heightening expectations for corporate social responsibility? And do the efforts of companies contribute to the development of peace and prosperity around the planet?

This event is open to the public and free of charge.  A networking lunch will follow the event.  To RSVP for the event, register for the networking lunch and for more information, please visit www.sandiego.edu/ahlers/peace. The cost of the networking lunch is $25 or $15 for students and faculty of any San Diego university.

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