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.
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.