That's more than a call for attention
Cause Marketing is a "type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society." Engaging in cause marketing helps firms increase their bottom line while helping the world at large - a win-win. We live in a world of hyper-aware, socially conscious consumers. These consumers are more likely than the generations before to choose brands based on the causes they support. If a firm doesn't employ some form of cause marketing, consumers may turn to competitors.
However, there is a thin line between cause marketing that will drive people to your brand and away from it. You can follow our do's and don't to make sure you are doing it right.
Do's and Don'ts of Cause Marketing
Do choose a related cause. The cause that you choose to support should have a clear relation to your company - or if it doesn't, then the relationship should be made painfully clear. A great example of this is staples and education. Everyone knows that Staples sells supplies for schools, so the link is clear.
Don't choose a cause that has nothing to do with your company. A poorly executed cause marketing campaign in this sense can hurt more than it can help. Consumers aren't stupid, they will see right through attempts at transparent attempts to profit from a cause. This can create a poor public image of your brand and cause consumers to make a mockery of you on social media.
Do integrate cause marketing into your corporate culture. Creating a strong connection with a nonprofit - or even creating your own non-profit organization - can greatly help your brands image. This connection can be strengthened by sending out press releases internally or by mentioning the non-profit during new employee orientation sessions. Similarly, having senior members of the organization demonstrate this commitment publicly will go a long way to giving credence to your cause marketing ventures.
Don't have short term relationships with a number of causes. If instead of picking a single or a couple of causes that you are committed to, you cycle through causes on a quarterly basis, you will lose credibility. It takes time for your relationship to be known by consumers. Cycling through a number of causes signals to consumers that you don't really care about any of them. It doesn't help the cause or your company - a lose-lose.
Do provide an actionable step. It is important that you partner with a cause that can be addressed. Even if the cause is a big one, such as global warming, it is important that you provide a way for consumers to act on it - even if it's in a little way. This will help consumers associate you with the positive emotion they got when they did a positive action.
Don't just state the problem without a solution. If your marketing consists only of listing the problems with a current issue, it can hurt your brand. Consumers may perceive you more negatively and choose to avoid you.
Do take real action. While cause marketing does have marketing in its name, it's important that your company follows up on this with real action. There are many things you can do such as host events, donate money, donate time, etc. Participating in such ventures will help show consumers that you really care and help grow your brand.
Don't just pay lip service. Consumers will quickly call out companies who say they are committed to something, but don't do any actions to back it up. Worse than this, in some cases, companies will do exactly what they said they were against - picture a PETA supporting company releasing a new fur scarf line.
These are just a few ideas which companies need to keep in mind when engaging in cause marketing. In addition to these, there are many nuances which companies need to be aware of.
At Venuiti, we truly believe in using marketing for good and know how to do it right. Our CEO Thomas Schroecker, along with his wife Shannon and a handful of other passionate people founded Trusted Clothes, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the issues in the garment industry. Using the principles learned through over a decade of marketing experience, Trusted Clothes went from 0 traffic a year ago to thousands of monthly visitors and growing.
Trusted Clothes has over 700 pieces of content from 100 writers and is fully staffed (with HR, Finance, Legal departments and more) with all volunteers. These volunteers were all obtained by using our marketing expertise - by using tools such as Instapage and Adwords. The infrastructure for Trusted Clothes is funded by Venuiti and many of our employees volunteer with Trusted Clothes as well. We are continuing to use marketing principles to drive growth and continue to see great results.
We know how to do cause marketing right. Your company may benefit by engaging in cause marketing. Let's connect so that we can help you help others - while increasing your bottom line.