Y&R launches new agency practice focused on social impact

3 Apr 2017

Y&R Inspire Change Fueled by New Proprietary Research

NEW YORK — Y&R announced today the launch of a global social impact practice, Y&R Inspire Change, geared towards both nonprofit organizations and brands incorporating social purpose strategies. The new practice is led by Shelley Diamond, Y&R’s Chief Client Officer, and begins with two current agency clients, UNCF and Special Olympics.

Against a shifting landscape in the philanthropy sector, Y&R Inspire Change will help nonprofits achieve their goals engaging a new generation of potential givers. The practice will also work with corporations to build their social purpose. In addition, it will help both companies and nonprofits build strategic public-private partnerships.

New Proprietary Research Drives Practice Perspective

At a private half-day event at Y&R global headquarters on Friday, March 31, Y&R unveiled new proprietary research as the driving force behind the practice. The new research on brands, consumers and the new landscape of philanthropy presents a picture of the influence of technology and the changing dynamics of engaging patrons today. Technology has democratized philanthropy and donors are attracted to nonprofits and companies that are authentic, provide ways to be participants and are transparent in the ways supporters help make a difference.

Y&R’s research shows consumers have expectations of social good from brands today. However, just over half of millennials say they donate to causes. If each millennial in the U.S. donated $100, nonprofit organizations and other social causes could see a benefit of $7.5 billion in a year.

The research was driven by Y&R’s proprietary brand database and management tool, BAV®.  Using IBM’s cloud-based data discovery tool called Watson Analytics, the Y&R team investigated connections between social media, brand, and business success. Based on research from BAV® and eXploring, Y&R found the following shifts in the landscape of social impact:

  • Business without authentic purpose
  • Passive giving
  • Relevance and empathy without urgency
  • Elitist gala fundraisers
  • Government reliance

  • Authenticity and transparency
  • Active participation
  • Urgency and cultural currency
  • Online fundraisers and crowdsourcing
  • Public/Private partnerships

“Since Y&R opened its doors, we have been helping organizations advance social causes. World War II, however, was the first turning point, when we founded the War Advertising Council that drove the US Bonds effort. We realized how communications could truly galvanize large groups of people around a cause. Launching the UNCF in 1974 was a second milestone, when “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste” helped redefine a social issue and drove massive support. Our new practice deepens our commitment to social causes and using our unique set of tools and understanding of the new generation of consumers and donors to help nonprofits and corporations drive social change in a way that seamlessly bridges the online and physical worlds,” said David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R.

Shelley Diamond, Chief Client Officer of Y&R, continued: “Our research shows that the lines are blurring more than ever between nonprofits and corporations. To succeed today, nonprofits need to think and act more like corporations to grow and innovate, and businesses have a mandate from their consumers to think as much about compassion and purpose as they do about commerce.”

Y&R Event Taps into Prominent Nonprofit and Technology Leaders

The event featured a panel discussion with social impact leaders and technology innovators Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics, Caryl Stern, CEO, US Fund for UNICEF, Dr. Michael Lomax, CEO, UNCF and Randy Messina, Global Public Sector Leader, Watson Analytics. Shelley Diamond moderated the session, where the group discussed their experiences and knowledge of building and reinventing a brand to stay relevant in this new world of giving.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear about and engage with social impact technology solutions from Raiserve, RYOT and IBM.

About Y&R

Y&R is one of the leading and most iconic global marketing communications companies. We operate as a Global Boutique, connecting deep insights from local business needs and consumers with strategies and objectives that travel across borders. United by a global infrastructure and common tools and technology, all our clients have access to people and resources from everywhere in our network.

Y&R has 189 offices in 93 countries around the world, with clients that include Bel Brands, Campbell’s Soup Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Telefonica and Xerox, among many others.

Y&R is part of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

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Jodi Lefkowitz
[email protected]
+1 212-210-4651