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.