This pandemic has really placed the health of communities in the spotlight, both the physical well-being of individuals and the overall condition of neighborhoods, businesses, industries, etc.
It’s the reason behind a surge in cause marketing among businesses and brands.
Exactly what is cause marketing and should your business join in? Let’s take a deeper look at what cause marketing entails, its pros and cons, and whether it’s worth your business or brand dedicating time and effort behind it.
What is cause marketing?
Cause marketing falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility.
Typically, cause marketing (or cause-related marketing) involves a for-profit business working publicly with a nonprofit to elevate awareness of the nonprofit’s service while simultaneously gaining visibility for itself.
It also takes place when a for-profit business gets behind a social issue or societal need and supports it through its messaging and/or dedicates part of its profits to those social concerns.
That support, in turn, may provide relational benefits between potential customers who support similar causes and the business hoping to gain favor from them.
What are some examples of cause marketing?
One of the best examples of cause marketing is Bombas, a sock and apparel brand whose mission is to help people impacted by homelessness. One purchase equals one donation. A tally clock on its website runs continuously and updates total items donated.
Wendy’s announced in June that it will donate at least $500,000 to support social justice, youth, and education in the black community, starting with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. They even turned over their social media platforms to TMCF to bolster awareness.
@TMCF_HBCU is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the #HBCU Community. 80% of all students attending #HBCUs attend TMCF member-schools. TMCF offers #scholarships and identifies talent at #HBCUs for employers looking to diversify their workforce! #Diversity pic.twitter.com/q1ffGL1K96— TMCF (@tmcf_hbcu) July 1, 2020
This in addition to its celebrating and supporting adoption.
At the start of the pandemic, several Pennsylvania distilleries switched their operations to produce hand sanitizer to donate to first-responders and health-care workers in their local communities.
What are the advantages?
Most customers would rather do business with a company or brand that supports a worthy cause or its local community, even if that company or brand is more expensive than its competitors.
Consumers feel better when they hear about a company’s profits if that company has a cause it supports with some of their money.
Younger consumers (“millennials”) in particular give a lot of thought to cause awareness when making purchase decisions. More millennials than non-millennials attempt to buy products from companies who support the causes they care about (52% versus 45%), according to this report from Barkley.
This type of marketing, when launched genuinely and effectively, will elevate the opinions of your company and brand. This, in turn, may elevate sales.
Primarily, cause marketing can build brand awareness and place a positive light on your business.
What are the disadvantages?
Your cause marketing must be authentic. If your brand or company appears otherwise, it can trigger extremely negative results that may take years to rectify.
Do not ever use a cause or elevate a social justice for the sake of sales. Cause marketing must be, first, rooted in a genuine conviction. The goal is to create awareness of a cause your brand sincerely supports or a mission it truly believes in championing. Gaining sales can never be the focus.
How to do it well?
What’s the key to good cause marketing? Deliver the right message and the right time.
Your messaging must be compelling, authentic, and relevant. When you choose a cause to support, it should align with your company’s core values. Your employees should believe and support the cause as well. The actions and policies of your company must reflect a genuine commitment to the cause.
Your actions must involve more than just monetary contributions to the cause or nonprofit collaboration you choose. Money is great, of course. Social good comes from awareness and actions. Those actions, too, prove your authenticity.
Need help? Sign up for a free consultation.
Our own cause is to love, encourage, and help the underprivileged youth of Lancaster County. Want to learn more? Please visit Our Higher Purpose.