Now more than ever, aligning purpose and value is essential for business success. In an age where social responsibility matters, consumers want to feel good about working with or buying products from companies with similar values and beliefs. In fact, 87 percent of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause. (Cone Cause Evolution Survey)
Identifying and amplifying those shared connections are the pillars of cause marketing. Simply defined, cause marketing is a collaboration between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization or social movement for a common benefit.
Here’s why you should embrace cause marketing.
Consumers want to feel connected to their brands—and cause marketing can make those connections happen. Nearly 95 percent of students say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand’s partnership with a cause, Alloy Media. So, cause marketing can help grow your brand reach. But more importantly, by supporting causes that align with your brand principles, you contribute to the greater good, making our businesses and communities better places to work and live.
Here’s how to do cause marketing right.
1. Be Real.
Today’s consumers highly value transparency and authenticity. Throwing your corporate support behind a cause, charity, or movement that aligns with your mission, product or industry creates a natural, organic connection. To help your audience make the connection between your cause and your brand, clearly articulate your purpose and, again, be real.
PRO TIP. Take stock of your current marketing assets—web, social, emails, blogs—and make sure brand messaging communicates your purpose, not merely your product or service advantage. And practice what you preach: Be sure your brand is adopting socially responsible business practices.
2. Create A Legacy.
You might launch specific campaigns tied to seasons or events. But also consider incorporating a cause-related element or standard into your everyday operations, i.e., offering an eco-responsible product line or donating a percentage of annual sales to a social justice organization. Companies with one-for-one business models like Warby Parker and Bombas are great examples of how cause marketing can positively define a brand while making a substantial impact.
3. Get Social.
Use social media to engage your audience and create a buzz surrounding your campaign or ongoing efforts. Invite people to join the conversation by including a branded hashtag on their photos and posts. Repost their activity and provide related content for your customers to share.
4. Be Clear.
Make sure your audience knows what they are supporting—and what they need to do to participate. A clear call to action is essential.
5. Rally Your Team.
Your employees are the face and voice of your company. If they’re excited about the cause, it’s more likely your customers will be, too.
6. Share Your Impact.
When people give, they feel more fulfilled when they understand the impact their support has made. So, share post-campaign or milestone results—not just dollars earned but next-level details like the number of meals provided, pets vaccinated, or scholarships funded. Sharing details is also a great way to ensure transparency.
If you’d like to continue the conversation about cause marketing or brainstorm ideas about a campaign for your brand, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.