Sony Marketers Engage Corporate Support for Refugees


Last autumn the International Refugee Trust (IRT) was one of five causes that gained support from the marketing team at Sony Mobile with developing strategic marketing plans.

Over the last year we have been working with groups of corporate marketers to engage them in supporting our causes through our Pimp My Cause Challenges.

We were excited to follow up with IRT to see how they have been getting on with implementing the ideas and strategies that were developed with their Sony team in last year’s Challenge.

IRT has a small and dynamic leadership team in London that coordinates their international development work and raises funds to help forcibly displaced families around the world to rebuild their lives. They signed up for the Sony Mobile Challenge because they wanted to find new ways to engage support for and raise funds for their StepUp programme.

StepUp is one of their key programmes and it focuses on helping subsistence farmers in northern Uganda to rebuild their homes and help their families out of poverty. The programme is based on providing training and opportunities in four areas: sustainable farming, sanitation and health, starting small businesses and community leadership.

Sony marketers support refugees in Uganda

IRT’s donor engagement strategy had been successful in the past, but like many of our causes it relied too heavily on an aging population. Their Sony team helped them to analyse the StepUp programme to see what potential donor groups it could appeal to.

With its successful long-term focus on self-sufficiency the Sony group felt that the StepUp programme would appeal to businesses looking to engage in CSR activities with charities that are providing tangible results.

The Sony team helped Katie Kurilecz, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at IRT, to develop a strategy to engage west London businesses (near IRT’s offices) in supporting StepUp. Their plans included a direct mailing campaign, in which a packet of seeds could be sent to businesses to interest them in how families in Uganda are learning to rebuild their own lives through training in better farming methods.

Katie said, “Jo, our team leader from Sony, helped me to better understand how to get attention in the B2B market. I now ask myself with each piece of communication “What do we want to get out of it?” and “What does the other person what to get out it?”. This has helped me to make our messages clearer and stronger.”

IRT’s Sony team was uncommonly dedicated to helping their cause and they have continued to support IRT’s work long after the official Challenge ended.

The Sony team also recruited support from their agency partners HeyHuman. The creative team from HeyHuman helped IRT to refine their message and develop new visual methods of telling the StepUp story. Katie is currently working with a graphic designer through Pimp My Cause to implement the storytelling ideas that were developed.

Katie said, “I don’t know where we would be today without the support from Sony.”

Although they feel their marketing has come a long way in the last year, IRT is still looking to make further improvements and if anyone is interested in supporting them with their digital communications they would love to hear from you. Please email anna@pimpmycause.org if you are interested supporting IRT.

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