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Influencers Can Help Your Cause Marketing

May 02 ,2018

Influencers Can Help Your Cause Marketing

Olivia Culpo helped Stella Artois donate funds to Water.org by wearing a dress made from Stella’s iconic chalice.

Influencer marketing is all the rage right now, and for good reason. Consumers increasingly trust people more than brand advertising, and hearing about a product or service from someone you trust can often make a much greater impression than seeing an ad. Nielsen reports in its Global Trust in Advertising study that 83% of consumers trust information they receive from friends or family as their number one source of information and recommendations. Influencer marketing is expected to grow in 2018, because it is providing authentic, believable, actionable, relevant messaging to very targeted audiences.

When communicating about a cause marketing campaign, we have traditionally turned to PR for earned media placements. While this strategy is still sound, and can provide excellent broad reach, adding influencer marketing to cause campaigns is beneficial as well. There are some key benefits to working with influencers for cause campaigns.

Authenticity

Identifying the appropriate influencers who are interested in your cause is the first step. There are influencers out there for almost any cause you can think of. You can do your own searching for influencers, or use the numerous databases and service that help sift through the millions of influencers to find the right fit for your brand and your cause. If your cause is hunger, finding mom bloggers, or chefs who support that cause is a natural, and it shouldn’t be too hard to get them engaged. Influencers are always seeking relevant content for their audiences and if you give them a reason to share about a cause that matters to them, they are highly likely to engage. And, when an influencer speaks about your brand in the content of your cause campaign, their audience will listen.

Cost

Though most influencers require payment for working with brands these days, if you have a cause that is near and dear to their heart, they may be willing to work with you to spread the word at low or no cost. Identifying with your cause makes the influencer look good too, so don’t be afraid to ask them to help spread the word for free.

Engagement

Ask your influencer to engage their audience. Invite them to an event, give them a code to redeem, enlist them to take action (Ice Bucket Challenge anyone?). This not only gets consumers involved, but helps you to measure how successful each influencer is in creating engagement. Maybe even invite an influencer to host an event, live or digital, to bring your cause to life for their audiences. When influencers get engaged, their audiences do to. Stella Artois teamed up with Olivia Culpo and other influencers to support Water.org. Olivia wore a dress made from Stella Artois chalices to the Oscars, and each time a chalis was purchased, Stella donated funds to provide 5 years of water to those in need.

Think Long Term

We believe the best brand-cause relationships are long term, demonstrating commitment and results over time. The same is true with a brand’s relationship with influencers. Cultivate relationships with key influencers over time, and work with them on many aspects of your brand. When they become brand believers, their audiences will likely follow. In the example above, Stella Artois has also partnered with Matt Damon, the founder of Water.org, and has a long term commitment to the organization, which sees Matt himself appearing in Super Bowl ads for Stella. A good partnership for both parties.

GSG has been creating cause platforms for brands since 2003. We believe in the power of good to create communities for brands that are passionate, committed, and engaged. Contact us to learn more.

Oct 14 ,2016

Purpose Driven Brands vs. Cause Marketing Campaigns

Purpose Driven Brands vs. Cause Marketing Campaigns

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:TOMS one for one campaign marketing strategy of 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.

 

May 20 ,2016

Let your Cause Change your Business

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.

Are you open to Change Business with CSRA 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

Why Supporting Public Parks is a Smart Cause Marketing Focus

trailNow 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.