Every month in our calendar year hosts a number of causes and issue-related campaigns. Initiatives that educate the public and generate support for a good cause are becoming increasingly important parts of promoting a business.
“Cause-marketing”, as defined by businessdictionary.com, is a joint funding and promotional strategy in which a firm's sales are linked (and a percentage of the sales revenue is donated) to a charity or other public cause. However, unlike philanthropy, money spent in the cause-related marketing is considered an expense and is expected to show a return.
Businesses have been jumping aboard the cause-marketing band wagon lately, and for good reason. Social responsibility is an ever increasing value in our culture and marketing is taking note of its significance. Consumers who visit your websites and see your advertising want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause.
The number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause has risen to 87 percent, a dramatic increase in recent years, according to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey.
Your company's challenge is to make your socially responsible efforts an undeniably valuable proposition for the cause or group you support, the community and your business. You can rise to the challenge and do so effectively with these tips:
1. Put some heart in it
Cause marketing is most successful when you and your employees are personally connected to and feel good about the help you're providing to your cause. Work with an organization you believe in - what matters most to you, your team and your customers? You'll work harder to make a difference when you're heart is in it.
2. Choose a related cause
An effective cause-marketing campaign often starts with the right affiliation. Look for a cause that relates to your company or its products as you go through the selection process. For example, Procter & Gamble's Olay brand skin-care line partnered with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery with a campaign goal of inspiring women to protect their skin from the sun. PR support yielded widespread broadcast, print and online coverage, helping the program attract more than 9,000 individuals for free skin-cancer screenings.
3. Contribute more than money
Cause-marketing values strive to go above and beyond simply writing a check by donating products or services as well, forming even stronger consumer associations between what you offer and the good work you do.
4. Formalize your partnership
To make your affiliation a win-win for everyone, work with the nonprofit of your choosing to define how it will help your business increase visibility, branding or company awareness. If the organization has a newsletter or other communications with its constituents, negotiate for opportunities to do joint promotions.
5. Mount a marketing campaign
Success in cause-marketing often means motivating an audience to take action, such as making a donation or participating in an event. You can reach and persuade the target group, while also raising awareness for your business and its commitment to social responsibility, by using a dedicated marketing campaign.
Health: Cancer, ADHD, Autism, HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity, smoking
Safety: Fire prevention, poison control, texting while driving
Social: Workers rights, poverty, homelessness, crime prevention, anti-bullying
Environmental: Pollution, global warming, recycling, sustainability