Mar 30 ,2016
Wondering if there’s an “appropriate” way to pick a cause to support?
Whether you’re struggling with the cause you picked for your business and not sure it’s the right one, or you’re preparing to launch a cause marketing campaign for the first time, the same questions still apply. Here is a quick summary of the process we go through when we guide companies like The North Face, Coca-Cola, Nestle and others on choosing great causes.
Can’t I just pick something that matters to me and my team?
Chances are the first options that come to mind may directly relate to causes that resonate with issues being discussed in the media, or even better, issues that truly matter to you. You could go this route, but thinking through a few things first (to follow) will help guide the process for a more informed choice that can help prepare you for success.
Is it possible to pick the wrong cause to support?
Yes, and no. There is no such thing as picking a wrong cause, because sponsorship and charitable giving are good things! However, we prefer finding the best cause. The thing to note here is that giving should come from a deeper place than a marketing strategy, so some deep digging may be necessary to find out what is important to your team. It is also very important to find out which causes align best with your brand. What is authentically aligned with the causes that matter to (or even the needs of) your primary target audiences? Beauty brands could consider body image issues, sports drinks: active lifestyles.
How do we find the best option for us?
Have a brainstorm session with your team. Find out if any causes are important to the team (where do they currently volunteer or donate?) and causes that are authentically aligned with your brand. A cause should resonate both within and without the company, and be a rallying cry for employees, consumers, and all stakeholders. Though national and international causes are great, our research shows that consumers like causes that support activities close to home. Test any chosen cause to see if it can be localized to have impact in local communities.
What type of research should I do?
Thorough research on your organization is an absolute must. Find out if their mission statement is something you can get behind, if you agree with their ethical models, and what other companies they are working with. Check their history and metrics. How far does their money go? How much of their funding goes to the cause versus administration? How good is the team in place, and how strong is their consumer base?
Can I commit long term?
Although a permanent partnership isn’t necessary, any campaign will likely help form a relationship that outlasts the campaign itself. Your brand image, if the cause marketing campaign is done well, will be connected to the causes you support. Is this a cause that will be relevant for some time, and that you will still be as proud of and excited about in the coming years? In other words, is this just a campaign partnership, or a long term commitment?
Will the cause distract from my business?
Good cause marketing campaigns are designed to support the growth of your business by aligning your target audiences through a cause to create a strong brand loyalty. Cone has found that 90% of consumers want to buy products that support a good cause. So, NO, cause marketing is not distracting from your business, it is building it!
Good Solutions Group for example, designs campaigns that help create brand awareness, increase donations or support for causes, and at the same time, help contribute toward sales goals. The “Preserve our Parks” campaign we created for Coca Cola and Stater Bros. raised $2,500,000 for state parks, earned 600 million media impressions, and signiﬁcant increase in all sales metrics: dollar volume lift, unit volume lift, and share of market lift for Stater Bros. during the promotional period.
It’s possible to find the cause that helps drive your business forward, connect with your audience, and make your community a better place. If you need help with any of these steps, contact GSG’s experts.
Mar 24 ,2016
It’s always exciting to see campaigns we’ve worked on get recognition, and some of our recent campaigns got us a spot on Chief Marketer’s Top Shops for 2016! This award means a lot to us because it honors the top 100 agencies across the entire U.S. that focus on promotional marketing. Also, it recognizes us for all three of our specialties:
- Event and Experiential Marketing
- Sponsorship Activation
- Cause Marketing
In honor of this award and the clients who helped us get it, we’d like to recap some of our favorite campaigns that put us in the Top Shops race:
Abuelita – “Day of the Dead”
Remember our Dia De Los Muertos campaign for Abuelita a few months ago? To recap, we helped them distribute over 20,000 samples to kickoff the hot chocolate season just before this special Mexican holiday, by getting Mexican celebrity chef Richard Sandoval to prepare delicious recipes using Abuelita chocolate. The campaign resulted in 47% YOY sales lift.
We coordinated Tommy-Bahama sponsored uniforms for the City of Chicago Lifeguards, leading to earned media (190 million impressions), brand awareness and establishing Tommy Bahama’s support for the windy city. The event was launched at a new Chicago store to help promote two new area store openings.
As the official sponsor of Park Visitor Welcome Maps, GEICO provides families with roadtrip (and insurance) information as they read through a handy map of America’s state and national parks. In order to connect with the RV/motorcycle target audience, GEICO distributed over 500,000 RV guides per year, with 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts being reached at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The North Face
Outdoor activity is near and dear to our hearts at GSG, and this event helped get Americans outdoors for the first time with free camping gear and hundreds of large group camping events. The objective: Increase sales and encourage outdoor recreation. Results: Hundreds of camping events, 78% said they would camp again, 87% said they would spend at least $250 on gear, and over $310,000 donated to state parks for camping event funding.
Nesquik Youth Soccer
We helped Nesquik reach mothers with young children through sponsorship of youth soccer to help switch their reach for sugary sports drinks to carb and protein rich chocolate milk. Driving awareness of chocolate milk as a post-game drink to 77% among coaches and 66% among parents, we’d say we scored major goals.
Connecting brands to target audiences with active lifestyles can be fun, socially responsible and increase brand sales and support all at once. To read more details on any of these campaigns, visit our website. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write to us in the comments section below!
Mar 17 ,2016
Have you heard someone tell you to buy experiences and not things? Why are concerts, cross country trips and personal experiences being valued over physical products? There’s something about experiences that cause us to feel inspired or satisfied. Plus, memories of unique experiences just seem to stick. Because experiential marketing can help tie your product or service to live events, online and in-store experiences with your audience, it’s the perfect time to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Want to know more?
Let’s break this down:
What is experiential marketing, exactly?
A loose definition of experiential marketing is “messaging you can touch, feel or view in a physical space.” Experiential marketing ties an experience component (such as through an event) to your marketing strategy in order to connect to your audience in a way they’ll remember. Why are experiences so important?
Are experiences or products more valuable?
There’s a current discussion today around experiences been perceived as more valuable than products. According to a study fielded by the Event Marketing Institute, “98 percent [of consumers] say a live event motivates them to buy a product. They also share the experience with others—almost half tell someone about a live event while they’re attending”
Another study conducted by Harris and funded by Eventbrite reaffirms that idea and found that that “72% [of millennials] say they’d like to increase their spending on experiences rather than physical things in the next year, pointing to a move away from materialism and a growing appetite for real-life experiences.” Reflection question: Can consumers associate your product to positive experiences? Where are they discovering and using your product?
What Does Experiential Marketing Look Like?
So how can we connect consumers with experiences to make products part of memorable, positive experiences? It starts being aware and truly understanding your brand and your audience, and reaching them in those meeting places that matter. Experiential marketing can include in-store displays, live events and face-to-face marketing. You already know experiences are valued more than products, so make your product part of an experience.
Click over to the Good Solutions Group website for an overview of successful experiential marketing campaigns that paired brands with their target audiences in memorable events. GSG has been named a Chief Marketing “Top Shop” for the 2nd year in a row in 2016, and has been awarded 2 EX Awards for experiential marketing!
Mar 09 ,2016
What is your company doing to help contribute toward the progression of social or environmental causes? If you can’t answer that question, you’re late to the party. Brand participation in social causes is no longer seen as a feel-good charitable act. It may be the reason consumers are choosing to switch brands.
According to a study released last spring by Cone Communications/Ebiquity on the issue of corporate social responsibility, today’s consumer would likely point to the latter: a brand known more for its social responsibility than for its name. How much more likely? Study findings reveal that “90 percent of global consumers would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price or quality.”
This is an opportunity for brands to communicate the values that are inherent to their company, any social initiatives they support, and the impact of their involvement. Cause marketing initiatives can help relay that information to reach target audiences through results-oriented methods. The suggestion here isn’t to pick a cause and run with it just for the sake of following a successful marketing trend (a trend that is here to stay by the way), but to develop a campaign that is informed by research and interests that appeal to your target market.
It doesn’t stop at becoming involved in social causes either; being able to communicate those initiatives and their results are key to successful cause marketing. An earlier study by Cone Communications indicated that “91 percent [want] to hear about companies’ CSR efforts and progress. However, for that communication to resonate, messages must be honest and clear”. Research also revealed that the preferred communication channels for this information, in ranking order, were product packaging/labels, media, advertising, social media, and mobile.
If you’re playing catch up, begin to consider the following:
- What causes is your brand affiliated with?
- Which are most relevant to your brand and internal values?
- Which do your target audience value most?
Cause marketing experts can help you figure that out to find your starting point before moving on to communicating your causes to your consumer market. For examples of successful cause-marketing campaigns, take a look at how Good Solutions Group helped Coca Cola, Odwalla, North Face, and other corporate brands develop successful, results-driven campaigns that communicate the causes your company cares about.