Feb 02 ,2017
Why the sudden interest in causes? The growing interest in social causes is not so sudden, and definitely not temporary.
As the generation that grew up alongside the internet boom as well as the expansion of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and serious conversations about the environmental impact of consumerism, millennials care about how they impact the world around them. They see that big picture change starts with how they spend their dollars. That’s why some retail brands have found success with cause marketing, despite their for-profit models. ‘Doing well and doing good’ is a mantra for millennials.
Social media has made it possible to have direct impact through seemingly ordinary purchases. These purchases make it easy, and convenient for consumers to make an impact. Efficiency is another reason why millennials are purchasing products and services that make it easier to do more. We’ve seen a growing trends in multipurpose tools such as tinted moisturizer and multimedia capable phones, and tools that just make life easier like “the cloud”. Brands must now offer solutions that serve the consumer and impact a social cause at the same time. Millennials require brands to get involved purposefully, simply giving is no longer enough.
Purpose driven brands that integrate a cause into their business model like TOMS communicate their mission instantly, and exhibit authenticity. (Read more about purpose driven brands.)
Why does this lie on the shoulders of brand and not government? Millennials believe “businesses have financial and technological resources to make change happen”, and millennials want to be involved. In return, millennials “reward brands that behave like good citizens with loyalty and positive word of mouth”.
Millennials are already using tools at hand like social media trying to be part of the solution. Viral campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge allowed millennials to do good by participating from anywhere in the world, as long as they posted their videos on social media. “Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average” and 9 out of 10 are likely to switch to brands involved with causes.
Tired of hearing about millennials yet? Get ready to hear more for many, many years to come. Millennials are now the “largest living generation” in America and also represent the largest generation in the labor force. As their spending power increases, so must our attention.
And if just by chance you were planning on sitting this one out while the social cause phase passes on through, we’re warning you now, social causes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, Generation Z (Anyone under 20 years old as of now) shares similar views concerning social causes as their predecessors. Cause marketing now requires long term attention and thoughtful involvement from brands like yours.
Here are some model campaigns doing it right.
Jan 10 ,2017
Now that 2016 is behind us, let’s take a look at campaigns we can learn from going into 2017.
REI “Opt Outside”
As park advocates, any campaign promoting park exploration and encouraging active lifestyles warm our hearts. REI listened to consumers’ concerns over commercialization of holiday festivities, and came up with an alternative: ditch the shopping and head outdoors. Although at first glance this may sound counter-productive for a retail brand, it did just what it intended to do: gave consumers a break from consumerism in favor of reconnecting with the outdoors. REI’s brand depends on consumers’ active lifestyles, and by encouraging people to go outside it can increase their need for more outdoor gear, and helps them to become advocates for our public lands. This campaign has been running since 2015 and consistently sparks media interest and loads of engagement across social media. The “Opt Outside” campaign not only targeted consumers, it also involved one other important group – REI employees. Employees were given Black Friday off as REI closed its stores, and they were encouraged to explore the outdoors and share photos on social media, generating plenty of positive social media activity with people in outdoor spaces representing REI.
Key takeaway: Big picture strategy. Too often brands can get drawn in by the temptation to make a sale, and can miss the big picture: sometimes it’s just as important to tap into culture and be part of the conversation. This isn’t guaranteed to lead to direct or immediate sales, but it definitely helps build brand image and loyalty among consumers, which is much harder to capture than a quickie sale on Black Friday.
Columbia “Gear Up Give Back”
Columbia’s cause marketing campaign donated a percentage of sales to local conservation causes, and also partnered with nonprofits to educate shoppers in stores. Shoppers were invited to “Gear Up, Give Back” and could help raise funds simply by making a regular purchase (no extra donations necessary). The campaign resulted in a significant traffic and sales lift and strengthened Columbia’s relationship with popular local non-profits.
Key takeaway: Bring the cause to your consumers Consumers want to help, but want it to be easy and accessible. According to a 2014 study by MSL Group, 69% of millennials worldwide want businesses to facilitate their involvement in addressing social challenges. Campaigns must not only be tied to a cause, but should make it easy for consumers to take part.
Walgreens “Red Nose Day”
Red Nose Day introduced a lighter side to a heavy cause: children’s poverty. Walgreens made fundraising, well, “fun” and kept it light. Red noses were sold across Walgreens stores for $1.00 (how can you not buy one of these and post a selfie?) making it incredibly easy for consumers to get involved. In addition, featured red products were prominently displayed on a dedicated shelf so that customers could purchase additional items that would contribute more funds to the cause.
Key Takeaway: Make it fun! Poverty is a health issue which is relevant to Walgreen’s business mission to ‘Champion Everyone’s Right to be Healthy and Happy’, but that doesn’t mean the campaign can’t be fun. The comedic twist on things is unexpected and inviting. This campaign did an excellent job at facilitating consumer involvement and engagement, and raised over $31.5 million for the cause.
Our favorite campaigns of 2016 stood out, and taught us something. How can you set yourself apart while bringing your cause closer to your consumers this year? We’d be happy to help! Reach out at email@example.com to learn more.
Dec 02 ,2016
The ability to tell casino online your cause marketing story well largely depends on presentation. Copy is one thing, but visuals are increasingly important in a time where people can scroll past your news story without reading the full headline. Now, with options for videos, albums, carousel ads and live video tools, how do you leverage them all strategically in a way that encourages more engagement with your campaign?
Make People Your Focus
People are expecting for your cause to make an impact. Although photos of banners and event signs can help establish your brand’s presence at events and with increasing awareness of your campaign, people want to see how you are reaching humans. Highlight your team members, your customers, your partners, and their stories. (Make sure to get model release signs for any people featured in your images.)
Let’s see your brand in action! Sharing group photos of your team can’t hurt, but your audience may be more interested in peeking into those moments where your team is doing the work that your website says you’re doing. TOMS produced a video of them making good on their promises and hand delivering the shoes to children in need. The image of giving shoes to children was repeated several times in the short form video (1:01. 1:31: 1:46, 1:53, 2:22) showing their audience that their purchase really does impact people on the end.
Before and After
People want to know how much of an impact you’re making. You may already be presenting this information in your CSR reports but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell the story here, too. Each story has a beginning, a middle and and end. Where was the cause before your involvement and what have you changed? Numbers, testimonials, reviews- there are so many options to how you can choose to communicate your impact.
Become a Cell Phone Photography Pro
Knowledge of composition rules, good lighting, lenses and other mobile camera tricks can help you get the best quality out of images captured with your cell phone. Although you should have a photographer on site with professional equipment covering the event, you should be ready to cover unexpected moments with a camera of your own. Study your phone, special features and apps that can prepare you to capture stunning images in those moments where you’re in the right place at the right time, with only your phone.
Appropriate Image Sizes
Don’t crop your photos into awkward shapes if you need to remove a flaw- take another photo instead. For any campaign images you create for the company’s social media pages, go the extra mile and have them made with custom sizes for each platform. Cover photos that become fuzzy and profile photos that crop out the edges are no good. Work with a designer who can customize branding materials so they looks polished and not temporary. Sprout Social has an image file size chart for major social media platforms that is always up to date.
Source Visuals from your Audience & Geo-Searches
Encourage audiences to share their photos for angles and moments you wouldn’t have been able to gather yourself. By creating a campaign hashtag and making it highly visible at your event, it’ll make it much easier to find photos of your event that people forgot to tag you in. Ask for permission in writing to share their photos.
You can also find photos based on events by setting up a Hootsuite location listening stream to see what people post at your event. You’ll be able to sort by location to see who is posting what where, and when.
Nov 11 ,2016
Direct Online Participation: Cause campaigns are doing an excellent job of posting about current initiatives online, but how many go beyond the “building awareness” phase? How many invite consumers to participate directly in the campaign online, from wherever they may be? Getting audiences involved with a cause on social media can be challenging yet it is very possible. The 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, got audiences to share videos online of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads. By sharing them on social media platforms and tagging and nominating the next participants, the success of the cause was left almost completely up to social media users. Participants recruited the next participant, made time to take action, record and upload the footage, and were responsible for holding each other accountable. Whether participants chose an ice water bath or donations, all forms of participation took place online.
Convenience: Although cause marketing campaigns executed on social media are not likely to be a one-step solution to recruiting loyal supporters, it’s definitely an opportunity to create major awareness about an issue and spark engagement from target audiences. Uber led a campaign to help raise money for animal rescue organizations and attempted to get furry pets forever homes in the same initiative. People could donate $10-30 and get Uber to deliver a puppy for 15 minutes of playtime before sending them off to their next potential adoptive family. #UberPuppyBowl was successful because it created online participation, was easy and enjoyable, and didn’t require any lengthy process or long term commitment.
Strong Visuals: With less than seconds to capture your audience on a scrolling news feed, messaging must be immediately clear and powerful. High quality visuals with relatable content and good composition are a must. Not only that, but they must convey a message your audience can relate to. With video gaining traction and priority within tech giant algorithms, consider investing in video first and photos second. Also, because a big part of cause marketing involves storytelling, videos are better at getting the message across quickly and can lead to stronger emotional connections with audiences. If done well, they can lead audiences reflect on and hopefully identify with the cause. The “Like A Girl” campaign by Always used rhetoric and documentary style interviews to compose this video that went viral and is one of their most memorable campaigns to date.
Tapping Into a Cultural Trend: Remember when social media platforms were used to share photos of people rather than food? It’s been so long since the Instagram foodie movement started that Land O’Lakes thought it was time to remind people that not everyone has a good meal to photograph- let alone eat. The butter company partnered with Feeding America for a campaign which promised to donate 11 meals to people in need for every food picture deleted from Instagram. Audiences surely had plenty of food pics they could delete, and earned 2.75 million donated meals. Not only did this campaign involve convenience and direct online participation from consumers, but it also tapped into the #foodpic trend to challenge something people across social media could easily understand and identify with.
Rather than asking people on social media to leave the platforms to participate, cause marketing campaigns are making it easier for audiences to engage wherever they are, using tools they already know how to use. That’s the premise of a lot of the work GSG does: meeting consumers where they are and meeting their needs by bringing brands and consumers together to tackle causes bigger than all of us. Check out some of our campaigns or give us a call if you would like to learn more.
Oct 14 ,2016
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.
Jul 21 ,2016
While it’s true that some of the hype around content marketing has taken a back seat to current marketing trends such as social media reach, influencer advertising, and mobile application advertising, the success of most long term marketing strategies still heavily relies on content marketing, including cause marketing. Here’s how:
Demonstration of Long-Term Commitment
In order for audiences to be able to understand and believe in a brand’s commitment to a social cause, they have to see consistent cause-driven messages on more than one campaign. Inconsistency can indicate inauthenticity, so in order to gain credibility, your website, social media, newsletters and product packaging should all communicate the essence of your cause marketing campaign. Evaluate every platform available to see how you incorporate a tie in to your cause. Messaging should not cloud the brand feel or main mission, but enhance it, same as a well-chosen Cause should.
Content marketing lets people find the information they want to find easily and readily. The information they seek should be accessible in the least amount of clicks possible, whether they’ve landed on your Instagram profile or are browsing your website. Information about your brand’s involvement in a cause shouldn’t be hard to find. In between campaigns, audiences should be able to easily access information about past events, causes and impact. Let consumers know that your cause is part of your brand mission and make a clear connection to communities they care about.
Using content marketing techniques to strengthen your cause marketing is also incredibly efficient. You are already using effective communications tools (we hope!), so make it a point to maximize your cause marketing messages where you are already reaching your audience. Here are some suggestions:
A. Social Media
If you’re doing social media correctly, you’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who your audience is, when, where and how to reach them, and what content encourages engagement. Social media algorithms take into account content type and presentation, including trending news, keywords, and multimedia elements, in addition to user interest and engagement rates. By applying content marketing techniques such as SEO to social media posts, your web and social media traffic can grow and you can gain more awareness of your cause and impact.
B. Blog Writing
Blogs are still powerful tools for sharing your company’s voice, whether it be about your product, your cause, or statements on current industry events and news. By coupling your blog strategy with your cause campaign, your brand can inform your online audience about your commitment to and impact on the cause. The best thing about blogs is that you are the publisher, so you can decide to share whatever content you want! You can use your blog for releasing a quarterly statement from your CEO with progress updates on cause marketing efforts, teasers on what to look forward to, or even a more digestible version of business news. From marketing case studies of your campaign to event recaps filled with campaign photos, the possibilities are best online casino endless. Don’t forget to add social share links so your cause marketing campaign posts can easily be shared onto your readers’ favorite platforms.
C. Company Newsletters
In addition to being used for more formal purposes like company updates, mini feature stories and upcoming events, newsletters are a great resource for encouraging stakeholder involvement. If the cause you’ve committed to truly resonates with your brand, it only makes sense that the employees, customers and other stakeholders will want to hear of your accomplishments, progress, and even how they can get involved. From recruiting event volunteers to social sharing, newsletters can help reach populations that could potentially be your biggest advocates.
Cause marketing is a powerful tool for building your brand, communicating your cause, and enhancing your brand outreach. Want to learn more? GSG has helped large and small brands build and run cause marketing campaigns. Reach out to learn how we can help you too.
May 27 ,2016
Do you have your strategy and audience defined and in place, but are not sure how to measure success?
The appropriate measuring tools will depend on the objectives you’ve set, as with any marketing plan, but in cause marketing there are a few key things that should always be measured:
During the initial stages of your campaign, the reach metric will determine how many people within your audience were exposed to your new messaging. Increasing awareness among your target audience is the very first step in initiating a deep connection. Work with your marketing agency to determine which types of reach will prove the most effective for your specific brand and campaign.
Odwalla Campaign by Good Solutions Group
If the reach portion of your campaign proves successful, it can facilitate the audience behavior flow from awareness to engagement. This is especially important in cause marketing because interaction and a positive voluntary response from your audience are good indicators of their attitude and willingness engage with your brand.
Example: The Odwalla Plant a Tree campaign drove 35% of all website visits and Facebook fans for the brand during promotion, demonstrating that audiences took initiative to learn more about the brand’s activities.
Business initiatives that are relevant to your audience and are positively impacting communities often drive significant earned media, driving broader reach. Apart from saving you advertising dollars, having a third party such as community papers, bloggers and news networks brings credibility to what you’re doing. This campaign for Coca Cola earned over 600 million impressions worth $2.5 MM, but also, it demonstrated that those that chose to write about the campaign decided it was valuable news for their readers.
Think back to the reason your organization decided to develop a cause marketing campaign. What were some of the attitudes toward your brand that needed to be addressed? Was one of your goals to create a stronger emotional bond with your audience? Were you hoping to increase brand loyalty? Determine your starting point, the audience attitudes and compare it to where you are now to evaluate if your cause marketing is influencing brand sentiment.
Cause marketing done right will support your business goals, and these should be monitored closely during the timeframe of your campaign to evaluate the success of your efforts. Good Solutions Group monitored Dasani’s retail sales throughout the time of the campaign created to communicate Dasani’s evolution into a plant-based bottle, which helped reverse purchase decline at retail from -15% to +76% average, with a high of +239%.
A recent survey by Kelley Blue Book reveals that corporate social responsibility can lead to sales increases for the automotive industry as “Sixty-two percent say they are more likely to purchase a vehicle brand if that brand is promoting a social good campaign.”
Subaru was mentioned as a leading automotive brand with campaigns that maintained long term impressions: “For those who have heard of specific social good campaigns, Subaru had the highest percentage of recollection at 61%”
Our campaign for Subaru aimed to create awareness of the new Subaru Outback model in 2010, and a cause marketing partnership with parks allowed for active lifestyle audiences and park lovers to test the cars at in-park events. By measuring test drives and impressions, engagement and awareness were evaluated to be successful.
Increased Sales is another business oriented measurable outcome to be monitored after your cause marketing campaign. According to the Cone Communications Social Impact Study, millennials are 89% more likely to buy products and services from companies with a CSR initiative. To get any idea of how much effect a cause marketing campaign can have on sales, keep in mind that Good Solutions Group campaigns average a 201% ROI.
A combination of all these metrics and others as needed to evaluate your specific campaign can help keep your efforts on track and evaluate whether your audience is having the response to the campaign messaging that you hoped for.
May 20 ,2016
An organization that truly believes in its cause should seek to ensure that its practices support the cause within the business first.
An article recently published on Inc.com comments on the idea that marketing should be about a bigger concept – a movement. The Small Business Saturday movement is highlighted as evidence that consumers place high importance on business models that impact their communities. A brand name and competitive pricing are no longer enough.
For cause marketers, this information is nothing new, as signs of consumer interest in social responsibility have been growing over the past several years. Now, however, the cause must become part of the business model.
A company that donates to wildlife preservation for example, cannot develop source materials for products that are tested on animals, without risking backlash and loss of trust. Sometimes these conflicts aren’t as easy to spot, making an intentional and thorough review of business practices alongside cause efforts absolutely necessary to identify and address any contradicting messaging in brand image and business practices.
In 2014, a healthy foods influencer from foodbabe.com challenged Subway’s fresh food image and pointed out that Subway bread in the U.S. contained a chemical used to make rubber soles and yoga mats. The blogger Vani Hari says she “targeted Subway because of its image of serving healthy food.” As a brand advocating for a cause, its important to see that business practices are adjusted to enhance and support a commitment to a cause. Subway appropriately responded by creating a new recipe without the ingredient in question, and to better align its food items with its fresh food claim.
This opportunity to respond to issues that are important to target audiences is a big component of cause marketing. At Good Solutions Group, listening to the target audience comes before and throughout each step of the campaign to ensure that programs support and increase in value, transparency and alignment of goals to the consumer-brand relationship.
A sign of a successful cause marketing campaign immediately displays contribution toward reaching business objectives as it did in this campaign for Odwalla that aimed to plant trees across 50 of America’s parks. Odwalla, a healthful juice and food brand, was able to demonstrate its commitment to its environmental roots while delivering 200,000 food samples to its target market.
Beyond marketing, businesses depend on relationships with consumers and other stakeholders, and this move can support initiatives across different department within the organization, such as sales, community relations and public relations. Public Relations Society of America website states that “CSR activities must be aligned with the organization’s core mission, values, and service or product. These activities must work to achieve business objectives and should have measurable outcomes.”
Integration of corporate social responsibility efforts should change your business to make it better, to make your impact stronger, and to build trust and transparency with consumers and other stakeholders. Don’t know where to start? Give us a call.
Apr 08 ,2016
Now that we’ve discussed how to pick a cause for cause marketing, let’s explore the benefits of working with public parks as your cause partner.
First, public parks systems provide the opportunity to connect with a wide range of relevant causes that are here to stay, increasing the longevity of your cause marketing program and the potential for impact. A few key cause messages that parks provide are:
- Health – Promoting health and wellness causes through advocacy for park visitation is a good option because parks provide a free to low cost, accessible option to large populations looking to exercise for health reasons.
- Active Lifestyle – Parks are a great way to connect with athletes, hikers, campers, and all manner adventurous outdoor hobbyists. Parks are the perfect places for biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, rock climbing, running, walking, surfing, and other forms of active exploration, and what’s better than meeting your audience where they like to play?
- Environmental Causes – Allow us to state the obvious- natural spaces and outdoor parks are closely related to environmental causes. From replanting native species and trees to recycling and conscious traveling programs, the cause marketing program options are endless.
- Historical Sites – The parks system is full of historical and architectural sites and monuments that can reach audiences who appreciate history, and preserving tradition and culture.
- Wildlife Conservancy – Wildlife and nature conservancy causes identify with animal supporters and want to preserve the integrity of biodiversity in public parks across America.
According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study, 70% of Americans find companies’ communication about their social responsibility efforts confusing. It is important to communicate your cause efforts effectively and simply, and being able to reach them in a location that ties closely to the cause, such as through the parks systems can enhance your program communication.
Another advantage? With thousands of park options, it’s easy to localize your cause efforts. Research among consumers done by Good Solutions Group shows that 70% of consumers prefer to support causes that have a local impact. With thousands of park locations around the country, you can customize your program around the communities and causes that matter to you and your audience, while still having a national umbrella.
In collaborating with national, state, or local parks systems, your campaigns can impact generations to come. Encouraging relationships between younger generations and their surrounding natural spaces is about promoting enjoyment of the outdoors alongside advocacy for its preservation, which will foster a closer relationship between people, the outdoors, and possibly your brand.
Good Solutions Group is the largest park-focused marketing agency in the U.S. because we’re truly committed to active lifestyles and outdoor exploration, but also, because it just makes sense from a business and marketing standpoint. From an unsaturated market with an opportunity to build authentic relationships with audiences engaged in active lifestyles, to an authentic need to support this cause across America’s communities, partnerships with public parks systems is something that works and that we believe in.
Our experienced team has a successful track record executing cause marketing campaigns like these, for leading brands with programs that include sampling, product placement, signage and more. Find successful campaign examples like Odwalla Plant a Tree, The North Face, and Coca Cola on our website.
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.