Currently reading…

Currently reading…

Thanks to my university buddy, Eva, I received a copy of Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ two Christmases ago and it remained in my bag for in-between destination reads. I’d like to highlight an idea from the book on how Pioneerism lost to Commercialism.

Apple’s iPOD had led the way as a leader in MP3 players, even though it wasn’t the pioneer in MP3 technology. It zoomed past Creative Technology Ltd, the Singapore-based company even though Creative had a 22-month head start in launching their first product – a 5Gb MP3 player. Apple simply won because it told you WHY you just needed to have ”1000 songs in your hands”. ‘Nuff said, right?

It wasn’t until tonight, that while reading that chapter, it suddenly hit me! This concept of ‘Start with Why’ is something I’ve been professing all throughout my career. Marketing, with a cause. In other words, why are you marketing what you’re marketing if there’s no cause attached to it? With a cause, it makes more sense.

Here are some early cases of cause-marketing projects:


  • Actor Paul Newman founded Newman’s Own, a food company where post-tax profits were all donated to charities. He was one of the pioneering social entrepreneurs that many Gen Y-ers may not know of since he left us in 2008 (RIP Paul).


  • The late British environmental and human rights campaigner Dame Anita Roddick, founded The Body Shop in 1976 with a small outfit in Brighton selling just 25 products. In a Guardian article, it was reported that customers were encouraged to recycle packaging (partly because Roddick didn’t have enough bottles at first) and there was a real emphasis on natural ingredients that were ethically sourced and cruelty-free. Now the range consists of over 300 products and there are more than 2500 stores worldwide and sold to L’Oreal. It was a controversial exercise, almost like an indie brand ‘selling out’ to a multinational, but Roddick insisted that The Body Shop would have been like a Trojan horse, changing mindsets from inside of L’Oreal.


  • Tom’s Shoes business model promises this;

    With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One®

    It gives the brand a heart, and creates affinity among those who purchase the shoe. Pretty cool idea – to connect strangers from around the world by what they’re walking around – and the bigger story is a kid who’s never had a pair before in his life, is suddenly able to have a pair. Necessity to one, choice of colour to another.


  • In the Asia Pacific region, cause-marketing is often lumped in together with charitable acts or donations. One such success story is that of Purple Cane Tea House. Founded in 1987, the brand carved a unique position for itself as not just a tea house, but as a cultural stop over. According to its website – Purple Cane organised cultural events and shows providing a stage for literary, music, movies, dances and other humanistic activities. A decade later in 1997, it established its first tea restaurant, which was hugely popular among families! This story showcases a novel means of promoting the art of drinking Chinese tea imbued with culture.


  • Go International Group, has inculcated cause-marketing into its brand values since its inception in 2005. What started as one of the founder’s hobbies, organising and staging music and spoken word performance shows, soon became something adopted and supported by the group as a whole. For over 10 years, the group would have produced in excess of 100 music events from gigs, fundraising concerts, cultural shows to music festivals. We even setup two pop-up music cafes and hosted events at these spots. It was a tiring but satisfying decade of music with hundreds of young Malaysian talents uncovered and showcased. But with every good thing, some things need to be put to rest, and so we let Doppelganger KL Open Mic die in 2014.


What we’ve created as a result of those 10 years, is an events registration and payment gateway for events with a cause. FREE FOR NON-PROFITS! Visit to find out more! Speak to us if you’ve a fundraising idea in mind. We’re always willing to help dream up ideas for sustainable fundraising!

Our philosophy is simple. Create technology that can generate profitability for the group through corporate clients, and give it away for free to those who need it.


2015, after a decade of music, it was time for the other founder to have a turn and since then, the group has been cultivating and promoting fitness and wellness as a part of its brand promise. In 2015, it started exploring fitness and wellness events, and launched AsiaFitnessToday. For three years 2014-2016, we conceptualised and organised our proprietary International Humanitarian Run for MERCY Malaysia to raise awareness and funds about their local and international projects.

Asia Fitness Today has one simple objective, and that is to MOVE ASIA through fitness programs and events.

We’ve figured, we spend so many hours of our days at work. It only makes sense to bring JOY to our customers, to enjoy FULFILLMENT from our careers, and do something GOOD for HUMANITY. These are our whys.  Everyone is different. What’s yours?