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.