In today’s world, having a great product is often not enough to earn customer loyalty. Shoppers are more socially conscious than ever before and want to know what a company stands for before they do business with it. Shoppers care where they spend their money, and they would rather support a business that is socially responsible, than one that isn’t.
From the perspective of the company, one of the best ways to show consumers that they too are socially conscious is to support causes and charities. Sometimes they demonstrate their corporate philanthropy by donating money. However, companies that want to take a larger stand will go one step further. They will form mutually beneficial partnerships to with a non-profit to advance both their needs. This action forms the basis for what is known as cause marketing.
In today’s post, we take a look at cause marketing and offer some tips on how to make your campaign a success.
What is Cause Marketing
In simplest terms, cause marketing is when a mutually beneficial collaboration is made between a company and a non-profit organization.
Through this collaboration, the non-profit can hope to gain increased funding, exposure and a positive reputation by aligning itself with a trusted brand.
On the other side of the coin, the company also stands to benefit from this collaboration. Companies that pair with non-profits commonly see an increase in brand awareness and loyalty, increased sales and the added benefit of a morale boost for staff.
Is Cause Marketing Effective?
In a word, yes. When all things are considered equal in terms of price and quality, 91% of consumers will choose to make their purchase from a company that supports a good cause.
Additionally, it was found that 92% would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit attached, if given the opportunity.
With competition between companies being tight, a campaign such as this can really help a company stand out from the rest (in a good way).
Tips for A Successful Cause Marketing Campaign
Starting a cause marketing campaign is not something that should be attempted overnight. If you want your campaign to be successful, there are a few things to consider before scheduling a launch.
Tip: Be authentic
The most important part of a cause marketing campaign is its authenticity. Consumers can tell when the motivation behind a collaboration is genuine and when it is not.
If you are only doing a collaboration for the money, your campaign will not be successful. When profit is the only motivating factor behind this type of collaboration, sales will drop, loyal customers will feel alienated and your internal operations will suffer because of low employee morale.
So, if you want to take part in a cause marketing campaign, make sure you are doing it to further both your causes.
Tip: Make logical partnerships
While supporting any cause is good for individuals, the same cannot be said for companies. Consumers like and understand logical pairings and a campaign is more successful when a partnership immediately “makes sense” to them.
An example of a logical pairing would be hotels partnering with local animal rescue groups. In this case, the hotel is providing people with a temporary home while they are travelling. They are also providing rescue animals a temporary home while they wait for their forever home. In this arrangement, the hotels benefit by allowing guests to interact with the pets, granting the hotel thoughts of good will and support from their clients. The rescue groups benefit from the increased exposure and the ability to have their animals seen by a larger pool of potential adopters.
An example of an illogical pairing would be Burger King and Mental Health America. Click here to see the YouTube ad. Not only was the pairing straight out of left field, but Burger King also faced strong backlash for linking mental health issues to their mood-themed “Real Meals” ad campaign.
When you are ready to align your company with a non-profit, take a good look at your company’s objectives and goals. Once you know what you stand for, you can then look for a non-profit that supports these goals. You will both be stronger in the end if you start on similar footing.
Don’t: Use the cause to sell a product
As mentioned earlier, consumers know when an intention is not genuine. While it is sometimes hard to vocalize what exactly is off about a situation, they can tell when a message is hollow.
Therefore, companies should never use cause marketing as a tool to sell their wares. For example, while the pairing between Burger King and Mental Health America seems random, there was an opportunity for Burger King to help further the cause and position itself as a socially responsible corporation.
Unfortunately, they missed the mark and instead opted to promote their new line of meals. This fell flat with consumers as it seemed like the company was only using the cause to line its own pockets rather than to support an important issue.
Cause marketing can be a powerful tool to boost your company’s reputation and help build a loyal customer base. It strengthens your position with consumers while helping to further a worthwhile cause. As long as the intent behind the partnership is pure, both organizations stand to benefit from the arrangement.
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