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Best Cause Marketing Campaigns of 2016

Jan 10 ,2017

Best Cause Marketing Campaigns of 2016

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 opt Outside Cause MarketingREI 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 columbia cause marketing good solutions group marketing agency “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.Walgreens Red Nose Day Cause Marketing Campaign

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 mgrzelecki@goodsolutionsgroup.com 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.

 

Jul 21 ,2016

Why Content Marketing is Essential for Cause Marketing Success

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:

Good Solutions Group Cause Marketing Content MarketingDemonstration 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.

Accessible Information
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.

Efficiency
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

Measuring how your Target Audience Responds to your Cause Marketing Campaign

millennials, generation X, generation Y, baby boomers, generations, marketing audience, target audiencesDo 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:

Reach
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

Odwalla Campaign by Good Solutions Group

Engagement
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.

Earned Media
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.

Brand Sentiment
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.

Business Goals
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

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.

Mar 24 ,2016

The Campaigns that Won Us the Top Shops Award

PROMO Top Shops Good Solutions GroupIt’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.

Abuelita Chocolate Day of the Dead Marketing Event
Tommy Bahama
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.

Tommy Bahama Marketing Campaign Good Solutions Group
GEICO
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.

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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.

Explore Your Parks Marketing Campaign North Face
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.

Nesquik Youth Soccer Marketing Campaign
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 09 ,2016

Corporate Social Responsibility is in Demand, Are you In Business?

 

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.”

Corporate Social Responsibility

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.