The Stevens Group is pleased to present the podcast series that salutes the masters of public relations and revels in their observations, insights and advice to PR professionals. This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR, digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession. Today’s guest is Carol Cone, internationally recognized for her work in social purpose and CSR.
Carole Cone On Purpose, Founder & CEO
Carol is internationally recognized for her work in social purpose and CSR. Carol Cone ON PURPOSE is her return to her entrepreneurial roots and life’s passion: to educate, inspire and accelerate social purpose programs and impacts for organizations and nonprofits around the globe.
For more than 25 years, Cone has embraced a steadfast commitment to building lasting partnerships between companies, brands and social issues for deep business and societal impact. She adamantly feels that today, companies and brands must have a deeper meaning beyond the bottom line.
In her work, she continually brings breakthrough and lasting big ideas to clients to build their business and societal impacts. Early in her career, Cone launched the walking movement with Rockport as its leader, which grew the company three times over in the span of 4 years and led to its acquisition by Reebok. She created the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which grew to 50 countries around the globe and raised $1 billion. For PNC Financial Services, she identified early childhood education as a key aligned issue, which the company has supported nearly 15 years, uniting them with nonprofit partners including Head Start, Sesame, Donors Choose and tens of local grantees to advance this critical issue.
Most recently, Cone conceptualized My Special Aflac Duck, a social robot developed from extensive child centered design to comfort children going through an average of 1,000 days of chemotherapy. The robot evolved Aflac’s iconic mascot, the Aflac Duck, to deepen the company’s engagement with society. With Aflac underwriting its development and donating the Ducks to all children newly diagnosed with pediatric cancer, this innovative idea has been heralded around the globe, from the Tech for a Better World Award and Most Unexpected Product at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, to Time Magazine’s list of Best Inventions of 2018.
Other organizations Cone has worked with include: Action Against Hunger, Adobe, The American Lung Association, Bezos Family Foundation, ConAgra Foods, the Everglades Foundation, Girl Scouts of the USA, LG, Microsoft, P&G, Reebok, Southwest Airlines, Unilever (Dove, Vaseline, Dirt is Good) and Western Union, among others.
She is also a recognized thought leader in purpose, having conducted the world’s first research, then dozens of studies with business executives, citizens, employees and nonprofits, to gain critical insights to inspire organizations to engage with society as wise business strategy. She is a sought-after speaker and media expert, sharing her insights on purpose branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability and CSR.
She was the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Cone, Inc., recognized as the nation’s leading Cause Branding consultancy. PRWeek called her “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of Cause Branding.” Overall, Cone’s signature programs have raised more than $2.5 billion for various social causes.
In 2009, she was one of two US judges for the first PR Lions Awards at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Her book, Breakthrough NonProfit Branding, was published in 2010.
Other career highlights include: creating and hosting Purpose 360, a podcast showcasing the most innovative leaders in social purpose; creating Purposeful Connections, a bi-weekly newsletter; hosting more than 200 interns during her leadership of Cone; building a Habitat for Humanity house as an employee engagement program; and developing “Making Change for Katrina,” a nationwide coin collection program to fundraise for the Katrina disaster. Her most special moment: meeting the Dalai Lama, prior to her speech in Calgary, titled “The Power of Business for Good.” When she met him, he held her hand for 5 minutes. It was about a week before she got the nerve to wash that hand!