Cause marketing has gained more traction amongst companies as people have become more conscious about the environment and a world outside of their own.&#xA0;\n
So, what is cause marketing? Selfish giving defined it as a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual&#xA0;profit.&#xA0;\n\n\nhttp://selfishgiving.com/cause-marketing-101/what-is-cause-marketing-2\n\nhttp://vivanista.com/2010/09/online-cause-marketing-do-well-by-doing-good/\n
A few years ago, the objective was to get more companies to support a cause. Cone Inc. found that 90% of consumers said they would switch to a brand for a worthwhile cause and 79% of people said they want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts society.\n\n1- Source: DYG Scan 2007, &#x2018;From the Pampered Life to the Valuable Life&#x2019;; Cone Company\n\n\n2-Cone Inc.\n
Today, though, cause marketing has become more prevalent amongst brands with a 6.7% increase in cause marketing spending from 2009 to 2010. Now, 2/3 of brands engage in cause marketing.&#xA0;\n\n1- http://www.causemarketingforum.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bkLUKcOTLkK4E&b=6412289&ct=8965443\n\n\nIn other words, cause marketing can backfire on you if you don&#x2019;t do it right.\n\n
With advent of the internet, information has been able to spread amongst large masses of people in an incredibly short amount of time.The reason why there has been such an increase in cause marketing spending is because companies are realizing that people place importance in social issues in their communities. Research has proven that 86% of consumers believe that companies should place at least equal weight on societal interests as on business interests and more than 80% of Americans not only accept cause marketing but also have a more positive image of the brand when it supports a cause they care about.\n
However, cause marketers should be wary of certain practices. There is a wrong way to cause market.\n
If you're a brand that is just jumps on the cause as a PR pull, expect people to backfire on your brand.\n
Both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine have written articles advising that if a company cannot do something substantial and authentic, they would be better off avoiding cause marketing because it may do harm than good.\n
Before you decide that cause marketing is for you, you should make sure you DO YOUR RESEARCH.\n
So, what is the new cause marketing objective?\n
Brands need to find a cause that relates to their consumers and flows with their DNA. And once they found that cause, they should prepare to be in it for the long haul as 61% of Americans prefer to support companies that makes own long-term commitment on a focused issue.\n
In any form of marketing, there should be a continuous balance between the relationship of the brand, the campaign, and the consumer. With cause marketing, the same rule applies. There needs to be a continual interconnectivity between the brand, consumer, and cause. No one entity can stand alone if a brand wants to make a successful campaign. For example, if the consumer doesn't care about the cause the brand is supporting, they will just walk away. Or, if the cause and the brand don't make sense, the brand will find it hard to relate to the cause and support it whole-heartedly.\n
Within cause marketing, I found that there are three different types of brands, a brand that builds a cause-related program, a brand-cause partnership, and a brand that is rooted from a cause. Depending on the type of brand or company you are, the marketing focus shifts.\n\n
Let's talk a little bit about a brand-built program.\n
So, essentially, a brand-built program is when a brand decides to take an aspect from the core of their brand mentality and build a branch program. In other words, the cause is already a part of who they are, they are just putting a bigger focus on it. By doing this, it allows the consumer to have some ownership of the brand core and have more access to the brand. Before, the consumer just said, oh, okay this is who you are. The brand-built program gives the consumer the power to participate in who they are. It creates a closer brand-consumer relation. For cause-related programs, the marketing should focus on having a clear vision and passionate engagement for a few reasons. Because it's a branch, authenticity and relevancy are already built-in to the program. Consumers are going to look for a reason to participate in the program. If you make it easy for them to understand the program's goals, they will be more likely to participate and share. If the brand isn't interested in their own program, no one else is going to be interested. It's important to not only catch the attention of their existing supporters but to maintain that engagement.\n
In other words, we're going from Hey, look, we're doing something good. to Hey, this is already part of our core. We're just going to put an extra focus on it.&#xA0;\n
A good example of a brand-built program is American Express's Small Business Saturday.\n
Just to give you an overview of what Small Business Saturday is: It's a branch of American Express's OPEN card, which is a card that specifically caters to small business owners. AMEX dedicated every Saturday after Thanksgiving to supporting small businesses in local communities. It follows the same idea as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The difference is, this day is dedicated to drive traffic to local and small businesses. People can go to their local flower shop to purchase a bouquet or their local deli to buy cold cuts for sandwiches. Its first SBS was last year.\n
AMEX saw measurable results to indicate its success. By the end of the day, small retailers who accept AMEX cards saw an estimated 27% rise in sales on AMEX cards compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009. The two outlets they focused on were Facebook and Twitter, and they now have 1.2 million Facebook fans and had 30,000 tweets that included hashtags Smallbusinesssaturday and Smallbizsaturday. American Express also had 130 small business advocacy groups, private organizations and elected government officials join AMEX due to SBS.\n
So, why was SBS so successful in terms of cause marketing? Both the parent company and branch program are built off of the same foundation, which has been summed up by Mayor Bloomberg that "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together." Their objectives are clearly listed on both their Facebook page and their website. They drove engagement by giving incentive to both business owners and AMEX users. They financed $100 worth of Facebook advertising to registered business owners, and AMEX users were given $25 to spend at a registered SBS store. They continued involvement by maintaining their Facebook page with status updates.\n
Another type of cause marketing is done by a brand-cause partnership.&#xA0;\n
A brand-cause partnership is when a brand joins an existing cause organization and finds ways to further enhance the existing efforts to build increased awareness to the cause. But, since there are so many partnerships, marketers need to focus on practicing transparency and ensure relevance and authenticity. This way, they can avoid a backlash of fraud accusations.\n
Forbes recently wrote an article with guidelines on an effective cause marketing campaign, and one quote stood out -- avoid being yet another pink product." People are wary of companies joining causes just for the hell of it. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has such a wide range of sponsors from Cartier to Yoplait that don't make any sense that there's even a campaign called "Think Before You Pink" warning those looking to buy brands just because those brands have donated to the pink foundation. Susan G. Komen has done a lot to bring attention to breast cancer awareness, but they over-licensed the pink ribbon and it's diluted their message. It's also caused a misconception that breast cancer is the only cause people should support.\n
An example of a brand-cause partnership that was successfully executed is the partnership between Campbell's Soup Company and the National Future Farmers of America Organization.\n
Campbell's Soup Company has been supporting farmers who grow quality ingredients that go in Campbell's condensed soups for over 100 years. The national FFA organization is a local, state-level, and national community dedicated to support and educate growing generations in the business, technology, and science of agriculture. Campbells and FFA established a partnership in 2008.&#xA0;\n
In the past few years, the partnership has accomplished a lot. Campbell's has not only given $500,000 in donations but has also scoped out and found experienced educators to help with the FFA's educational program efforts. Together, FFA and Campbell's have worked with volunteers to restore 10 barns, plant 5 community gardens, and build 2 greenhouses.\n
The partnership is relevant because Campbell's was already supporting its farmers for years. The partnership with the official, national farmer's organization was just a bigger effort in the existing practice. Also, the partnership only made sense. Campbell's updates its consumers of their efforts with pictures, videos, and quotes on their website and Facebook page. They also make sure they integrate their other core efforts in each part of their website. For example, Campbell's has links to their Seed Cultivation Info page at the bottom of the page about the FFA and Campbell's partnership. By doing more than just donating money, Campbell&#x2019;s shows that they really do care and are passionate about the cause.\n
The last type of cause marketing is the brand that is rooted from a cause.&#xA0;\n
A cause-rooted brand lives and breathes the cause. The cause always comes first. The brand is just a way to enable consumers to get involved in the cause. This type of marketing needs to portray a clear vision so that new visitors can easily understand what the brand is about. It also will make it easier for existing fans to spread the message to their friends. The brand must also be passionately engaging, and must focus on consumer relevance. If you're a cause-rooted brand, you need to decide what type of audience you're looking for and carefully research that audience. This is especially important because the brand needs to be careful not to waste money barking up the wrong tree. If the brand's existing supporters realize how much money is being spent just to gain mass appeal, they may be turned off.\n
An example of a cause-rooted brand is Mend.\n\n
Mend started to support northern Ugandan women who were kidnapped as young children and forced to be wives of oppressive government officials. These women managed to escape the LRA, or Lord&#x2019;s Resistance Army, but were still shunned by the communities they escaped to because of their association with the LRA. These single moms couldn't find jobs or ways to support their families. Mend consists of 12 women who sew quality handbags. The bags are either $75 or $95 each, and consumers who purchase a bag get to know the bag's tailor and also directly helps to support the tailor's family. Their tagline is "Mending the Human Connection" because it brings back the idea that you get to personally know who is making the product you bought.\n
Mend, although is a fairly new brand, has gained some attention in magazines such as Daily Candy and fashion blogs. It has also gained enough attention to sell out some of the 8 different brand styles they have. Each woman has her own Vimeo video about who she is and her story. Each bag has allowed the women to clothe and educate her children.\n
Mend shows a clear vision through its website, videos, and blogs. It encourages engagement and shows passion through a maintained Field Notes Blog and the individual tailor videos. Its primary form of informing its consumers is through videos. The brand continues involvement by encouraging consumers to register their MEND bags online. They also give their consumers sneak peeks into upcoming bag styles and information on upcoming promotions.\n
Since, digital is a major form of marketing today, I thought it would be good to show how digital can really help cause marketing grow.\n
Social media is the digital bullhorn. It's a good way to amplify your efforts across all channels. It's also a cheap and easy way to raise awareness. For example, a brand-cause partnership can bring the cause followers and brand followers together into one supportive group. It should be used as a conversation starter and information platform. However, you shouldn't solely rely on social media to carry your marketing efforts. You should make sure each platform you use is connected in some way. For example, if you have a blog, a Twitter account and Facebook page, include the Twitter and Facebook links on the blog. For Twitter, include a link of your blog in the Website line. You should also ensure that your marketing efforts have some breathing room. With social media, you never know what direction a campaign may take with consumers.&#xA0;The campaign should be flexible enough to adapt to emerging consumer opinions or trends in order to grow into a more relatable brand. Finally, you should avoid the shiny object syndrome. Just like the triangle of relevancy before, you should make sure that the social media you use makes sense to your campaign. You should also find out how your consumers are using that social media outlet to add value&#xA0;to your campaign.\n
Campaigns can use as many outlets as they want, but they should decide which outlet will be a destination page and which outlets will be drivers to that destination. For example, if you want your blog to be your destination page, drive your Twitter followers, your YouTube channel followers, or your Facebook fans to the blog in some way. You can tweet "we just posted new pictures on our blog check it out!" with a link to the blog.\n
Blogs should be the place where you do in-depth updates. It should also keep readers informed on related current events. It's important to find like-minded people to get organic growth and spread of your campaign's message. When you find those like-minded people, you can mention them in your blog, so that those people can jump onto help your efforts. Those people can be influencers to spread your message as well.\n
Twitter tends to be the most conversation resource out of all of the social media outlets. You can have an engaging Twitter account by asking questions and using the Twitter hashtags to promote awareness of your campaign, cause, or brand. For example, Small Business Saturday used #smallbizsaturday. You should also actively draw in followers. A good way to do this, is look at your existing follower's followers and figure out the common thread. If that common thread seems to relate to your campaign, follow them. This way, they can learn about your campaign and follow you back! Twitter can be a place where consumers can boast their contributions or involvement to their Twitter followers.\n
Facebook should have a basic need-to-know-only information page. Anything more than that can lead to a boring information page. The last thing you want to do is turn off or bore a consumer with your social media. Make sure you build a strong and loyal fan base. A lot of brands in the past have found innovative ways to draw in Facebook fans, but they don't know how to keep that fan base. It's essential that you maintain your Facebook page in some way. SBS does this well by posing questions that their fans can answer and reminds their fans to support their local businesses. Even though SBS is a once-a-year event, they continue to encourage small-business-support. Facebook pages should encourage people to post on their individual Facebook pages when, for example, a consumer makes a donation.\n
Videos are a good way for a cause to catch attention. It's the platform that lets you tell your story in the most digestible way. Like Jesse said, "nothing is easier than watching a video." Videos today are fairly cheap and easy to make with cameras coming with our everyday electronics. YouTube channels are also a good way to have a following group.\n
Another aspect of digital is Mobile Giving. Mobile giving has grown significantly, especially since the Haiti earthquake. The American Red Cross raised over $30 million and 14% of those donations were through text message donations. Mobile giving took off because it's easy, convenient, and so immediate. Basically, users are told type in a keyword such as "Haiti" to a 5-digit short code to donate $10. The wireless companies then add that $10 donation to your wireless bill and aggregate all of the donations and send it in full to organizations such as the American Red Cross within 60-90 days. All media formats can encourage mobile giving. For example, a news reporter can just include it in their daily news report.\n\n\nTwitter has us thinking in 140 characters. Mobile giving can become bigger by adding a creativity component to donations.\n\nhttp://www.bnettv.com/?s=mobile+giving\n\nhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34850532/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/\n\n
As mobile giving has shown, mobile is the best "real-time" on-the-spot channel to distribute information. Smartphone apps, if done carefully, can be a useful utility to cause marketing. One thing to keep in mind though, is that not everyone has smartphones, so marketers should also find ways to use mobile that is universal to all cell phone users. Image recognition is also a good way to infuse mobile with any other form of advertising. For example, people can take a picture of a product with their phones and text that image in. Another form of image recognition is a QR code.\n
CAUSE MARKETINGPROJECT MARKETING WITH A PURPOSEDATE CLIENT APRIL 4, 2011 MIR
Cause Marketing“Cause marketing is a partnership between anonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit.” -selfishgiving.com
A few years ago...The objective was to get more companies tosupport a cause. 90% of consumers said they would switch brands for a worthwhile cause. -Cone Inc. 79% of people said they want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts society. -Cone Inc.
Today...Cause marketing has become more prevalentamongst brands. 2010: $1.62 billion were spent on cause marketing with a 6.7% increase from 2009’s $1.51 billion -Cause Marketing Forum 2/3 of brands now engage in cause marketing (up from 58% in 2009) -2010 PRWeek/Barkely PR Cause Survey
Why?“86% of consumers believe that businesses need toplace at least equal weight on societal interests as onbusiness interests.” - 2010 Edelman GoodPurpose StudyCone, Inc’s 2010 Cause Evolution Study: “88% of Americans say it is acceptable for companies to involve a cause/issue in their marketing” “85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product/company when it supports a cause they care about”
Please expect an angry mobwith pitchforks in hand if you support a cause just for popularity points.
“If a company can’t do something substantialand real, better to do nothing than doingsomething and trying to get credit.” - WSJ“Judged by that criteria, cause marketing isn’tany more useful a tool than coupons. In fact, itcould actually be worse. That is, in some cases,cause marketing can actually do more harm thangood...” - Forbes
Before you decide that cause marketing is right for you, do your research.
Brands need to find a cause that relates to their consumers and flows with their DNA.Once they find that cause, they should prepare to be involved for the long haul.“61% of Americans would rather buy from a company that makes its own long- term commitment to a focused issue.” -Cone, Inc.
Brand-Built ProgramBuild a branch program supporting a causeSticks to the core of the original brandBuilds accessibility of brand to consumerMarketing Focus: Clear vision Passionate Engagement
Look! We’re doing This is already part of oursomething good!!! core, but we want to put extra focus on it.
BRAND-BUILT PROGRAMAMERICAN EXPRESS’S SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
OverviewBranch of American Express OPEN cardEvery Saturday after Thanksgiving isdedicated to supporting small businessesin local communities.Follows same idea as Black Friday andCyber Monday.Started last year.
ResultsSmall business retailers that accept AMEX cardssaw an estimated 27% rise in sales on AMEX cardsin 2010 compared to the Saturday after Thanksgivingin 2009.1.2 million Facebook fans30,000 tweets with #smallbusinesssaturday and#smallbizsaturday130 small business advocate groups, public andprivate organizations and elected officials joinedAMEX.
Reasons for SuccessSame foundation: Small businesses “are the backbone ofour economy and the glue that holds communities together” - MayorBloombergClearly listed objectivesIncentive to drive engagement Registered business owners get $100 worth of Facebook advertising financed by AMEX AMEX users are given $25 to spend at a registered SBS storeMaintained Facebook page to continue involvement
BRAND-CAUSE PARTNERSHIPCAMPBELL’S SOUP COMPANY & THE NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION, EST. 2008
OverviewCampbell’s Soup Company has been supportingfarmers for over 100 years.National FFA Organization is dedicated tosupport and educate growing generations inagriculture.Partnership established in 2008.
The PartnershipCampbell’s provided the FFA with: experienced educators to help the educational program efforts $500,000 in donationsFFA members and Campbell’s worked togetherwith volunteers to restore 10 barns, plant 5community gardens, and build 2 greenhouses.
Reasons for SuccessThe partnership is relevant because Campbell’s wasalready supporting its farmers before they joined theNational FFA. Partnering with the official national organization was just a bigger effort.Updates consumers on their efforts with pictures, videos,quotes on their website and Facebook page.By doing more than just donating money, Campbell’sshows that they really do care and are passionate aboutthe cause.
OverviewNorthern Ugandan women who were forced to bewives of the LRA managed to escape.Currently has 12 tailors.“Mending the Human Connection” Women sew quality handbags. Consumers who purchase the bag... get to know their tailor are helping support the tailor and her family
ResultsFeatured in Daily Candy and PMc Magazineand blogs.Some of the bags sold out.Each woman has her own Vimeo video.Each bag purchase has helped clothe andeducate their children.
Reasons for SuccessClear vision shown through its website, videos, and blogsEncourages engagement and shows passion through: the Mend Field Notes Blog the individual tailor videos uses video as a way to learn about the causeContinues involvement by encouraging consumers: to register their MEND bags online with sneak peeks into upcoming styles with info on upcoming promotions
Digital: Social MediaUse social media as a conversation starter andinformation platform.Don’t solely rely on social media to carry yourmarketing efforts.Make sure each platform you use is connected insome way.Ensure that your marketing efforts have breathingroom to mold or adjust to emerging consumeropinions.Avoid the shiny object syndrome.
Blogs should be used as a way to do in-depth updates.They should also keep readers informed onrelated current events.Find like-minded people as a way to grow!
Most conversational resource.Have an engaging Twitter account.Use Twitter #hashtags to promote awareness of thecampaign, cause, or brand. e.g. #smallbizsaturday - AMEX SBSActively draw in more followers Follow your follower’s followers.Encourage consumers to boast their contributions to theirTwitter followers!
Facebook should have a basic need-to-know-only information page.Build & maintain a fan base.Encourage posts on individual Facebookpages. (e.g. when a consumer makes adonation)
“Nothing is easier than watching a video”-Jesse Brightman Fun Shareable Easily digestibleVimeo, HowCast & YouTube videos are fairlycheap and easy to make with our everydayelectronics.YouTube channels are a good way to have afollowing group.
Digital: Mobile GivingMobile giving has grown especially since the Haitiearthquake. American Red Cross raised $30+ Million. 14% was through text message donationsEase + convenience + immediacyAll media formats (e.g. OOH, TV, Print, Online,Radio) can encourage mobile giving.
Mobile is the best “real-time” & on-the-spotchannel to distribute information.Smartphone apps can be a useful utility in acampaign.Warning: not everyone has a smartphone.Image recognition an easy way to infusemobile with any other form of advertising.