Social causes have been around for a long time. But the rise in technology, the internet, and social media have made it easier for people to be aware of these issues. As a result, society is now much more interested in being a part of a positive social change. In fact, results of the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study showed that 87% of respondents said they will likely buy more from brands who advocate for something they care about.
Business owners have noticed this, and it would be smart move to get on board and help build customer loyalty. In this article, we break down what cause-marketing is and how you can integrate it into your brands.
What Is Cause-Marketing?
Cause-marketing, also known as cause-related marketing, is marketing that involves a for-profit product or business which then benefits a nonprofit charity or supports a social cause.
Brands align their identities with a specific cause or organization to benefit both parties. This can be through increased social value, greater outreach with the public, and profit.
Popular cause-marketing projects include recycling campaigns for the environment, awareness programs for breast cancer, and donation drives, among many others.
Why Use Cause-Marketing?
- Provides companies an avenue to be socially responsible in a way that’s beneficial for the brand and the non-profit group or cause. Research has shown that up to 90% of customers want companies to show how they’re being socially responsible.
- It can increase sales and improve brand identity. Results of the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study revealed that 85% of respondents said they had a more positive image of a brand or company when it supported a cause they cared about, while 41% reported that they bought a product because it was related with a cause.
- Allows customers to easily support charities. The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study also found that 61% of respondents would try a product they’ve never heard of if it was related to a cause, while up to 80% would switch to a brand that supports a cause when they have the same price and quality.
- Can increase loyalty among customers and employees. Cause marketing attracts and keeps employees. According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, roughly 79% of employees are likely to feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company when the company is involved in a cause.
Here’s How You can Use Cause Marketing for your Brand
Figure Out What You Want to Accomplish
The first thing you need to do after identifying what cause you want to support is to figure out what you want to achieve. You can use this marketing plan as a rough guide on how to identify and plan out your cause marketing project.
When you don’t have a clear goal, it’s difficult to move forward and measure your progress. Some examples of easily measurable objectives you can use are donation drives or fund collection. These two examples are also great for staying transparent with your customers.
By having a solid goal and measurable progress, you can easily keep your customers updated with how much they’ve helped in your campaign.
Inspire Customers and Employees to Get Involved
After outlining your goal and how you plan to achieve it, the next step is to inspire your customer base as well as your employees to get involved.
One way to tap into your customers is to highlight the values you’re promoting through this campaign. Promoting values instead of reminding your customers taps into their own identities rather than nagging them to join.
Another way to involve your customers and employees is to make it simple and easy to take action. Let them know exactly how they can help, and what their actions result in.
For example, campaigns that donate $1 for each purchase will make it easy for anyone to take part and clearly state what happens when they do.
If you’re still considering what cause to support, think about what your community needs. To make a campaign focused on local causes successful, you need to have good community relations.
Media outreach, such as Facebook pages, can help stay connected with the community. Make sure you know the best times to post so you can reach the most number of people.
Another way to think about building community bonds with your customers is to imagine it as an extended form of customer service. This guide provides concrete examples of how your business should be communicating with your customers.
Put Yourself Out There and Be Personally Committed
While your customers might not know what happens behind the scenes, your employees will be exposed to your own personal commitment to your campaign. This is why it’s important to choose a cause that resonates with you.
Being personally committed means not only inspiring your customers and employees to get involved, but also putting in your own time. By doing so, you’ll have a better idea of what your cause needs and how best you can frame your campaign to address these needs.
Examples of Great Cause Marketing Campaigns:
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the internet by storm when it went viral in 2014. The challenge involved people taking videos of themselves having buckets of ice water dumped on their heads to experience how someone with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) may feel.
Chris Kennedy started the challenge to help raise money to research a cure. The challenge went viral, and more than 17 million people joined in on the challenge. More than $115 million was donated to the ALS Association, with 67% of what was raised used directly for ALS disease research.
The It Gets Better Project is a campaign to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth to stay strong as things will “get better.”
The campaign has partnered up with various brands such as UBER, Doritos, American Eagle, and Adobe. The project works by raising awareness, collecting donations, and providing support for LGBT youth in need.
People are also encouraged to take part by taking a pledge against discrimination, and by creating videos for users to see. In the US, over 60,000 have shared their stories, while 625,674 have pledged to help It Gets Better.
Red Nose Day is a campaign started by Red Nose Day and Walgreens to help end child poverty in the US. Customers took part by buying red noses from Walgreens stores and wearing them to raise awareness.
Through Red Nose, along with other fundraising projects, the campaign raised $18 million by selling over 12 million red noses in 2017. Red Nose Day allows customers to easily take part through a simple purchase and does so in a way that’s not only fun and playful but also shareable through social media.
The Buy a Pair, Give a Pair campaign is a project run by Warby Parker and various health-related organizations, such as Vision Spring.
When customers buy one pair of glasses from Warby Parker, the company donates to their non-profit partners to buy another pair of glasses for donation. These non-profit partners also train people in developing nations on how to conduct eye exams and sell glasses, making vision much more accessible to all.
Jumping on the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, #GivingTuesday is the day that people celebrate giving rather than buying. The #UNselfie Movement was born a year later and served as a way for people to share their charitable deeds on social media. In 2017, #GivingTuesday raised over $300 million online and collected up to 2.5 million gifts in donations.
Cause-marketing is a great way to not only be socially responsible but also connect with your customers. Not only do you help a cause, but you also help your brand.
If or when you decide that cause-marketing is a project that you want to get involved in, let this article be your guide. Are you currently doing cause-marketing? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author: Aaron Chichioco is a digital PR / business columnist. He has a vast experience in overseeing daily operations of several online businesses since 2011. He is currently employed with grit.ph. You can follow Aaron on twitter at @Aaron_Chichioco.