Can you tell the difference? Is one better than the other?
Whether one is a better option for your brand over the other is for you to decide, but first you should be able to differentiate between the two to evaluate what they entail, and how each can be designed to perform well in terms of supporting business goals and making a lasting impact for your brand. According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, “80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues”. The question is no longer if you should be involved in a cause, but how.
Purpose Driven Brands:
Successful purpose-driven brands are businesses that integrate a cause into their business model so well, that there can be no separation between the cause and brand without changing the very essence of the brand.
With a purpose driven brand, business operations are designed to meet a societal, environmental or humanitarian need. TOMS, for example, saw an explosion of success not because of unique style of superior quality of products, or even a lower price point than leading shoe companies, but because it sought to involve its consumer in a business model that countered what anyone was used to. It made money by giving away shoes, and became a brand that sought more than profit. TOMS set out to provide shoes for impoverished children through a sustainable model they called “one-for-one”. Under this model three primary parties benefitted: children living in extreme poverty were provided shoes, TOMS profited through a sustainable business model, and the consumer, as the driving force, could get a comfortable stylish shoe in exchange for “voting for good” with their purchase. Not only did TOMS take on a humanitarian issue, but it extended the opportunity for direct involvement to their consumers, a generation hungry for social change. In fact, 69% of millennials want business to make it easier for them to get involved in societal issues, and TOMS allowed them to do so by simply shopping for a casual pair shoes. The authenticity of TOMS’ commitment to change doesn’t stop with their own success, and it’s reflected in their commitment to invest in the “next generation” of social entrepreneurs. By continuing to invest their profit in social issues, the brand continues to convey the message that their primary goal is change, not profit.
Brands Supporting a Cause:
Brands that do not have an inherent purpose driven business model can still do good by creating a cause marketing campaign, or a temporary relationship with a cause. The key to a successful campaign is making sure the cause is culturally relevant, authentic to the brand, and consumers can get behind it. CVS for example made headlines when it decided to stop selling cigarettes. As a pharmacy, its mission is to connect people with products that help them on their path to better health. As such, tobacco went against their mission and was removed from their shelves. The corresponding campaign communicated that their mission was more important than profit, and that the company is committed to internal change to ensure that their operations align with their mission.
Good Solutions Group has worked with leading brands to create and execute cause marketing campaigns that garnered strong business results. GSG’s secret recipe for its campaigns consist of three main ingredients: involving consumers, driving business results, and choosing the right social cause. By identifying a cause that is inherently tied to the mission of the brand and is important to its consumers, GSG paves the way to help brands give back to a cause that has the potential to make a lasting impact not only for the community, but within the brand and for the consumers. This takes market research, listening and ability to understand the brand and its consumers well. For example, we understood Farmer John to be a brand that produced quality meats, food that brought families together to share meals. Grilling stations in Southern California beach communities needed maintenance, birthing a partnership that led to increased sales, positive PR coverage, and a service for the community.
Whether you’re an established company looking for some help with a cause campaign or a startup looking to change the world, there are plenty of opportunities to give back, build relationships with consumers and improve business. Contact us for a consultation.