As the trend toward social responsibility has grown, brands are discovering that consumers expect them to demonstrate a desire to make the world a better place. A Cone Cause Evolution Survey indicated that, when price and quality are equal, 87% of consumers would switch to a brand that supports a cause. In addition, 95% of college students say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that promotes a brand’s partnership with a particular cause. Such a partnership can be a win-win, benefitting both the brand and the cause with increased exposure and awareness.
In this post, we’ll take a look at cause marketing and the many ways brands can benefit from it.
What is cause marketing?
The term “cause marketing” refers to a partnership between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization. The purpose is to increase exposure and awareness for both partners. It’s important to approach cause marketing as you would any marketing campaign. Set goals and map out a strategy to reach them. It’s a good idea to start small and test your idea before launching a full-scale campaign.
Brand benefits of cause marketing
The brand benefits of cause marketing are numerous. In addition to the fact that consumers have come to expect brands to be in partnership with a nonprofit organization, cause marketing is good for your brand in many ways:
- Drives sales. Your “cause” becomes another selling point for your products or services. According to the Cone study, 61% of consumers are willing to try a new product if it’s connected with a cause.
- Gain more customers. As noted above, many consumers will choose a brand that supports a cause when other factors are equal. This is particularly true for women, who tend to be the primary shopper in a household. Mothers are highly supportive of cause marketing.
- Brand differentiator. Particularly when you’re trying to gain market share, supporting a cause can be a good way to compete. 41% of consumers say they have purchased a product because it was associated with a cause.
- Increased customer loyalty and trust. Making a positive impact in the world can, in turn, have a positive impact on how your brand is perceived by consumers.
- Satisfy expectations. Consumers have come to expect more from the brands with which they do business. Supporting a cause is a good way to meet rising expectations.
- Employee satisfaction. For many, a company’s social and environmental responsibility plays a factor when deciding whether to accept a job offer. Most employees who work for a company that supports a cause express a strong sense of loyalty and say they’re proud of their company’s values.
Tips for using cause marketing as part of your annual plan
- Support a cause that relates to your business in some way.
- Ensure that your for-profit values are aligned with the cause you choose.
- Partner with a cause you and your employees believe in.
- Go beyond donating dollars by also donating products and services.
- Work with your nonprofit partner to develop a plan that works well for both your brand and the cause.
Cause marketing has become an essential part of building brand recognition, but it’s important to ensure that your strategy is effective. When choosing a cause, take a long-term view, and consider ways that the cause can be a part of everything your brand does. Your cause marketing campaign should be viewed as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy and should include a dedicated marketing campaign aimed at a specific target audience. As part of your cause marketing strategy, identify internal brand ambassadors who can motivate employees. When done right, cause marketing can be a great way to build brand awareness and stay competitive.