We live in an age of social responsibility. Now more than ever, consumers are taking notice of the companies that support their same values and beliefs—and they’re putting their money behind those brands:
- 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
- Nearly two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Z express a preference for brands that have a point of view and stand for something. Kantar’s 2018 ‘Purpose 2020’ Report
Consumers want to feel connected to their brands. As marketers, we should incorporate cause marketing into our brand marketing plans not only because it makes those connections (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)—but also, because it creates a ripple effect of good will that makes our businesses and communities better places to work and live.
So, how can you make cause marketing work for your brand? To be successful, it requires a balance—one that incorporates benefits for the nonprofit or cause, for the community, and for your brand/company. These tips can help you make the most out of your effort:
1. Be Real. Above all, transparency and authenticity are valued by consumers. Throwing your corporate support behind a cause, charity or movement that aligns with your mission, product offering or industry creates a natural, authentic connection. A well-communicated purpose is essential to helping your audience make the connection between your cause and your brand.
2. Time It Right. As with any campaign, timing is important. Do your research: Tie your campaign to a holiday or community event; or carve out your own window of opportunity that doesn’t compete with other planned campaigns. Always, keep it short: Grabbing and keeping the attention of supporters over a multi-week campaign can be a challenge.
3. Create A Legacy. Instead of a finite campaign, your company might choose to incorporate a cause-related element or standard into your everyday operations, i.e. committing to using paper straws in lieu of plastic or donating one percent of annual sales to a social justice organization. Companies with one-for-one business models like Toms and Warby Parker are great examples of how cause marketing can positively define a brand.
4. Get Social. Use social media to engage your audience and create a buzz surrounding your campaign. Invite people to join the conversation by including a branded hashtag on their photos and posts; and provide related content for your customers to share.
5. 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.
6. Rally Your Team. Your employees are the face and voice of your company. If they’re excited about the campaign, it’s more likely your customers will be, too.
7. Share Your Impact. When people give, they feel more fulfilled when they understand the impact their support has made. Share post-campaign results—not just dollars earned but next-level details like number of meals provided, pets vaccinated, or scholarships funded. This 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.