Cause Marketing & Branding Overview
We love non-profits! We love for-profits! What could be better than getting to work with both types of clients to help them make the world a better place? A voice for the importance of community engagement and authenticity, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency has always had a soft place in their heart for brands that care and want to make a difference. Let us help you navigate the way to genuine engagement that helps both the community and your bottom line!
- Cause Marketing – strategy & campaign
- Brand Alignment – between for-profit client & non-profit beneficiary
- Cause Branding – strategy & campaign
- Cause Advertising – campaigns
Cause Marketing & Branding Process
Cause marketing is definitely a different animal than traditional marketing. Anyone that claims otherwise doesn’t fully appreciate the nuances required to see your cause efforts succeed. As a past conference chair for the AMA Cause Conference and past marketing chair for San Diego Social Venture Partners, our founder appreciates and celebrates the importance of cause marketing.
When it’s done right, it can literally change the world for the better! When it’s done wrong, it can be a horrible negative word-of-mouth (WOM) disaster. The difference between the two starts with a strong understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and a solid strategy.
When most for-profit companies undertake a cause strategy, it’s usually without forethought. The CEO/founder or marketing/sales team picked a few non-profits to donate to for Christmas and figured “check,” we just showed our commitment to the community, cross it off the list! Wrong. When a for-profit selects a non-profit without performing proper due diligence to see where there are strategic advantages to an alliance, no one wins. The for-profit doesn’t win because the donation of time, talent, or money is literally wasted as part of their marketing efforts when it doesn’t resonate or seem genuine to their target audience. The non-profit doesn’t win because there’s no true relationship or longevity to that donation and the for-profit will likely choose another non-profit next year, so the non-profit can’t count on those funds in their projections.
But, when a for-profit performs due diligence to find alignment with its target audience’s passion, then cause marketing magic begins to happen. Imagine you worked for a satellite communications company that sold to the military, but donated money to a homeless soup kitchen. Where’s the alignment? What if you picked a non-profit that supported active duty military spouses and children with music therapy instead? Then, what if you invited your military clients to join you one a year on a specific day when everyone from your company went to the nearby base with the non-profit music therapy group and joined in a drum circle. If you took pictures that day and wrote a blog post about the amazing families you met and sent out an email to your clients who weren’t able to join, what might their impression of your brand be? More or less favorable than before? When you take the time, as a brand, to show that you really care about your clients and their passions by investing in a non-profit that has a positive alignment, you can transform your relationship with your customers from superficial to engaged. And, as we all know, people buy from people that they know, like, and trust.
Cause Marketing & Branding FAQs
Successful cause marketing occurs when there is alignment between your brand and the causes (non-profits) you support. For example: If your company’s primary client is the military, you would likely choose causes that support veterans in transition or veteran athletes. By aligning your community interests with those of your client, you show your support for them through your cause marketing efforts.
Cause Marketing is most effective when the company (for-profit) supports the cause (non-profit) with time, talent, and money. Time = employee volunteering. Talent = professional service advice pro bono. Money = funds for growing the organization. When you have the three elements together, it’s the perfect combination of engagement between the for-profit and the non-profit at every level.
Imagine your for-profit and non-profit brands had a baby. That baby would be the cause brand. Now, each entity would nurture it. The for-profit would commit to marketing, advertising, and social campaigns to raise awareness for the cause brand. And, the non-profit would lend authenticity and legitimacy by creating a microsite with its own URL and a fund development campaign focused on that cause brand as its own fundraising entity. Then, by measuring the impressions, the for-profit can measure the effectiveness of brand awareness and positive WOM generated. While the non-profit, by measuring donations, can measure the impact of the impressions in terms of revenue and decide if that marketing endeavor was beneficial or not.
A great example is the “Save Lids to Save Lives” cause branding and advertising campaign between Yoplait (for-profit) and Susan G. Komen (non-profit) for breast cancer awareness. Yoplait invested in customizing their product and advertising/marketing campaigns plus donated over $1 million dollars to Susan G. Komen. And, Susan G. Komen was able to get their message out to all of Yoplait’s existing and potential customers (mostly women) for a win-win awareness campaign. And, lastly, Yoplait was able to generate positive WOM with their existing and potential customers to attract and convert customers who felt particularly passionate about breast cancer. Win-win-win.
Cause sponsorship is predicted to reach $1.92 billion in 2015, a projected increase of 3.7% over 2014. IEG Sponsorship Report
89% of U.S. consumers is likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study
69% of global millennials want businesses to make it easier for consumers to get involved in societal issues. MSLGROUP Future of Business Citizenship