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Transformational Gaming: Zynga's Social Strategy (B)
Werhane, Patricia H.; Mead, Jenny; Hartman, Laura P.; Christmas, Danielle Case E-0361 / Published May 17, 2012 / 21 pages.
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Product Overview

The B case of this three-case series outlines how Mark Pincus, with help from his sister Laura Hartman, began to implement his new brand of social strategy. Initial steps included two partnerships: (1) Zynga's YoVille and the San Francisco SPCA; and (2) Mafia Wars and the Huntington's Disease Society of America. A new program within Zynga was created: Zynga.org, which would focus on global problems and ways to address them. Its first project, in partnership with Zynga's wildly popular FarmVille, was a strategy in which users could purchase "Sweet Seeds for Haiti." Through FarmVille, Zynga would contribute 50% of all proceeds from the sale of these seeds to two Haiti-based causes: Fonkoze and FATEM (a microfinance initiative and an educational and school-meals program, respectively). In 2010, Zynga.org continued to evolve, with periodic bumps along the way when Zynga encountered bad press and unfavorable attention.


Learning Objectives

1. Define the traditional conception of corporate social responsibility and distinguish it from social strategy. 2. Distinguish the concepts of philanthropy, charity, volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, and social strategy. 3. Explain why it is vital for each stakeholder involved in a sustainable socially strategic endeavor to have a vested interest. 4. Discuss the role that for-profits can play in poverty alleviation. 5. Identify some of the hurdles that for-profits face in engaging in profitable partnerships or sustainable socially strategic endeavors to alleviate poverty. 6. Describe the role that social networks and new media have played in developing or expanding corporate social strategies for contributing in this arena. 7. Identify several metrics available to which a decision-maker can point to in connection with social strategies using online networking that may affect bottom-line profitability.

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  • Overview

    The B case of this three-case series outlines how Mark Pincus, with help from his sister Laura Hartman, began to implement his new brand of social strategy. Initial steps included two partnerships: (1) Zynga's YoVille and the San Francisco SPCA; and (2) Mafia Wars and the Huntington's Disease Society of America. A new program within Zynga was created: Zynga.org, which would focus on global problems and ways to address them. Its first project, in partnership with Zynga's wildly popular FarmVille, was a strategy in which users could purchase "Sweet Seeds for Haiti." Through FarmVille, Zynga would contribute 50% of all proceeds from the sale of these seeds to two Haiti-based causes: Fonkoze and FATEM (a microfinance initiative and an educational and school-meals program, respectively). In 2010, Zynga.org continued to evolve, with periodic bumps along the way when Zynga encountered bad press and unfavorable attention.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    1. Define the traditional conception of corporate social responsibility and distinguish it from social strategy. 2. Distinguish the concepts of philanthropy, charity, volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, and social strategy. 3. Explain why it is vital for each stakeholder involved in a sustainable socially strategic endeavor to have a vested interest. 4. Discuss the role that for-profits can play in poverty alleviation. 5. Identify some of the hurdles that for-profits face in engaging in profitable partnerships or sustainable socially strategic endeavors to alleviate poverty. 6. Describe the role that social networks and new media have played in developing or expanding corporate social strategies for contributing in this arena. 7. Identify several metrics available to which a decision-maker can point to in connection with social strategies using online networking that may affect bottom-line profitability.