Cause-related marketing is a mutually beneficial collaboration between a company and a nonprofit to build goodwill in the community and raise funds for a 501 © charity. It positions companies as good corporate citizens dedicated to philanthropy.
Cause-related marketing is very beneficial for businesses as it also builds relationships, awareness, and competitiveness. Consumers want their purchases to matter and they are demanding that brands stand for some sort of cause.
Allen Marketing Communications, Inc. , a boutique travel and lifestyle public relations agency, shares insights about key trends as it pertains to cause-related marketing.
Being Socially Conscious
Sustainability has been the biggest growing trend. Businesses are being held accountable for how they treat the planet. Knowing their products are made environmentally safe or how their brand positively impacts society is important to consumers.
A study showed that 78 percent of “Americans believe companies should not just focus on making money but also focus on ways to make a positive effect on society,” according to The Balance Small Business.
Consumers would be willing to change their buying habits by switching to products from a more socially conscious company.
Companies Asking Consumers to Make Changes As Well
“Companies have sometimes turned the tables on consumers. They ask for behavior changes, not just the purchase of products,” according to The Balance Small Business.
The focus is on leading healthier lives and staying safe. Companies support a cause by also asking consumers to support the same cause through a behavioral approach.
Along with this trend, “companies have shown interest in engaging with Generation Z as they tend to be more digitally active which allows more ways to communicate with them. Teaching them through fun online interactive programs has proven to be a successful way to connect,” according to The Balance Small Business.
Companies have also awarded scholarships through these efforts. The use of hashtags has also been an effective way to create engagement through social media.
Coming Up With Effective Practices
As the environment for cause marketing has grown, so has the public opinion on what collaboration between a business and nonprofit has not been successful. Through the use of social media, the public voice is heard within seconds when a marketing campaign is not effective.
Good practices in cause-marketing are important as it builds credibility. It is important to provide the general public with information about the 501 © charity and to clearly state how much money will actually be donated to the non-profit. Transparency will help customers understand how their dollars will support a worthwhile charity.
Here are key channels for cause-related marketing.
Omni Channel Communication
It is important for the cause-related marketing campaign to have a unified, seamless message across all forms of communication – media relations, advertising (traditional and digital), social media, email marketing, direct mail and YouTube videos,
Event sponsorhips are another way for companies to elevate their profile as a good corporate citizen. Liquor companies often invest heavily in event sponsorships to secure tremendous consumer visibility -- event signage, sales promotional items, media relations, banner ads and social media outreach.
Concerts, sporting events, as well as charity fundraisers are popular event sponsorships.
Licensing is another way for a charity to raise funds simply by allowing a business to use the charity’s logo on promotional materials to promote the company’s products or services
“This is great because you receive more funding and notoriety through people wearing your logo on a shirt or sipping coffee out of a mug with your mission written across it,” says Nonprofit Megaphone.
Donations through Purchases
When a company pledges to donate an amount of the product price to a nonprofit. It is usually a limited time offer to inspire consumers to purchase a product and a percent.
Major retail chains use the month of October to donate a percentage of their sales to a breast cancer foundation in October since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
They give the public enough information about the charity being helped through emails or pamphlets so consumers can research it. It also tells consumers how much will be donated. Informing the public exactly what is being done is an important tactic to build transparency and maintain an effective practice.
Cause-related marketing is a win-win for companies and nonprofits since it engages consumers to make purchases and have a percentage of sales support a worthwhile 501 © charity.
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By Athanasia Gouvatsos at Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.