March 5, 2013
French jeweler Cartier is boosting its brand appeal by supporting and celebrating women entrepreneurs in the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.
The awards aim to help support women in startup businesses around the world by awarding six women from different regions a support package including $20,000 of funding, one year of coaching, media exposure and networking opportunities. Applications are currently being taken for the 2013 awards and the last day to apply is March 8 at 10 a.m. CET.
“This initiative provides a relevant outlet for Cartier to connect with its female target market by advocating for their success and supporting them throughout the process,” said Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc., New York.
“Becoming an entrepreneur is a difficult endeavor and they need as much support as they can get throughout the process,” she said.
“[Cartier’s] philanthropic approach adds value to the brand because it is able to display its commitment to supporting other industries as well as the community.”
Ms. Strum is not affiliated with Cartier, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Cartier was not able to comment directly.
The initiative was started in 2006 as a partnership of Cartier, the Women’s Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school.
Women interested in applying must hold a main leadership position in an original for-profit business creation that is no older than three years. The application must be filled out online on the Cartier Women’s Initiative Web site at http://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com.
After the initial applications, the effort comprises two rounds of competition before the final selection.
The applicants are narrowed down to 18 finalists for the first round in June. These women receive media exposure and expert coaching.
The finalists then compete again in October when one woman from each of the six different regions is selected. The regions are Latin America, North America, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia-Pacific.
The final six women selected receive additional media exposure, coaching and $20,000 in funding.
The initiative is currently being promoted through its own social media platforms.
The Facebook page has been heavily promoting the awards before the application deadline with daily applicant tips video interviews from winners last year.
The Twitter account, @CartierAwards, has also been sharing the deadline and expert tips as well.
Cartier receives direct contact with the leaders and the startup companies in addition to being a main sponsor, which could help to further boost the brand's appeal.
“[The initiative] also aligns Cartier very closely with these companies as they are in their initial startup phases, where Cartier can align its brand accordingly and find opportunities to synergize and grow together,” Ms. Strum said.
Many luxury brands strongly advocate for charity and humanitarian organizations.
For instance, Montblanc, a maker of writing instruments and watches, refreshed its charity efforts through a partnership with children’s aid organization UNICEF and the new “Signature For Good” collection.
The brand released the special-edition collection that benefited UNICEF at a brunch event on the morning before the Academy Awards. Montblanc took to its digital channels to give consumers the first chance to shop the collection (see story).
Also, U.S. apparel and accessories label Michael Kors upped its philanthropic portfolio through a long-term partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme to help put an end to world hunger.
The brand is pushing the partnership and encouraging donations through a public service advertisement that was released on its social media channels and Destination Kors’ Web site. The PSA includes messages from notable celebrities who support the cause including Bette Midler, Seth Myers, Olivia Munn, Patti Hansen and Karolína Kurková (see story).
Promoting philanthropic efforts can be an effective way for a brand to gain more loyal followers, as Cartier has reasoned.
“This strategy essentially has the opportunity to increase loyalty as well as establish brand advocates,” Ms. Strum said.
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York