Cause Marketing

6 brands leading the cause marketing revolution

Cause marketing: “A type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.”

Businesses of all sizes have been supporting charities for many years. Historically this would typically involve the corporation giving a portion of their profit to a charity, with the organisation rotating the chosen charity each year or hosting fundraising events with employees.

We do it here at Fasthosts, supporting Cancer Research and a local children’s charity called Winston’s Wish.

So what does a good cause marketing campaign look like?

I’ve highlighted a few examples of excellent cause marketing campaigns, which have really helped the businesses in question positively improve the perception of their brands.

Pepsi Refresh

One of the most high profile cause marketing campaigns in recent times is the Pepsi Refresh Project. In December 2009 Pepsi announced that they would be ending their long standing relationship with the SuperBowl and pull their legendary half-time advertising slot. Instead, with the $20 million saved, they set up the Refresh Project which encouraged people to submit their ideas to Pepsi for ways to refresh their communities, making the world a better place. To date over $20m grant money has been awarded.

It was a shrewd move from Pepsi and since then their cause marketing has gone from strength to strength.

Ben and Jerry’s

In my opinion Ben & Jerry’s are one of the world’s leading brands at cause marketing. They communicate it so clearly that we all feel a little less guilty for diving into that tasty tub of ice cream. On their Facebook info page they state that;

“We believe that using business as a tool for social and environmental change is just as important as sourcing the finest ingredients to make our ice cream. So, wherever possible, we source our ingredients from producers and suppliers who share our values. This can mean anything from free-range eggs to sustainably produced dairy, to Fairtrade certified ingredients.”

As a brand Ben & Jerry’s talk to us about their brand values whenever they have a chance. Such as in their cinema adverts. You’ll know they really are “nuts about Fairtrade” and that message is really effectively communicated to their audience

They genuinely believe in supporting Fairtrade and through all of their Facebook apps, Twitter news, advertising and websites they showcase this passion.

Their Facebook description states that “Ben & Jerry’s believes business has a responsibility to give back to the community. We make the best possible ice cream in the nicest way possible.”

They understand that online gaming, particularly Facebook gaming, is growing rapidly with their target audience and have released some excellent apps that combine their ice-cream flavours and promote Fairtrade – Fairtrade Arcade, Fair-ometer, Coconutterly Fair-athon.

The “All About Us” page on the Ben & Jerry’s website just put into perspective how important they treat Fairtrade. You can Sponsor A Cow, view their Recycling policies and Climate Neutral actions.

By having such strong values, and consistently communicating it in all their actions, they really manage to generate customer loyalty and get people talking about their brand. They can focus on fun or political issues and still generate great word of mouth.

In a world where word of mouth marketing has exploded, building a brand that has strong customer relationships is vital. Cause marketing is a large part of the reason Ben & Jerry’s is so successful and builds great relationships with its customers. And as any marketer knows, the better the relationship with your consumer, the longer they will stay loyal to your brand and the more money they will spend.


Pedigree is another organisation that is using cause marketing to really help enhance the perception of their brand with a relevant charity. The dog food company have created a Pedigree Adoption Drive to help raise funds for 90 dog rescue centres around the UK and find homes for those dogs through an adoption page.

The site features success stories and videos of TV presenter, and vet, Steve Leonard travelling to the rescue homes that have been awarded grants.

Body Shop

On my way into work today I noticed that the Body Shop has just begun a new cause marketing campaign called “Give Joy”. They have introduced a Schoolhouse Gift Box product. The paper gift box is made by Get Paper Industry in Kathmandu, Nepal. The more school boxes sold the more money the organisation makes for Get Paper Industry’s charitable organisation to build a real schoolhouse.

This is a great example of not only incorporating the charity into your marketing but also creating a product exclusively for the cause partnership. Typically a large percentage of the revenue from product sales will go to the charity.

It is a great way to introduce a new product to the market, often advertised as limited edition or exclusive. Particularly for more experimental products as it allows you to test new colour schemes, packaging styles and features without alienating your current customers.

Jawbone – Jambox

Charity water is one of the most high profile charities in America and they’ve teamed up with audio device manufacturer, JAWBONE, to release a limited edition JAMBOX. The partnership has given JAWBONE the option of introducing a new colour scheme with 25% of each product sale goes to the charity:Water.

This type of product marketing does particularly well during the Christmas period with it being the peak season for charitable donations many consumers love the ability to kill two birds with one stone and tick something off the Christmas list at the same time as helping a good cause.

Entrepreneur First

For B2B industries there are a number of exciting cause marketing campaigns taking off. One of which is Entreprenuer First. The Government-endorsed Entrepreneur First programme will support high achieving graduates to pursue careers as entrepreneurs through training and on-going support from Entrepreneur First and their partners.

At present, 35 of the UK’s most talented and ambitious graduates have been accepted  on the Entrepreneur First scheme, which will provide them with the skills, tools and potential funding opportunities to launch a successful, high-growth start-up. The budding entrepreneurs who have secured a place on the inaugural scheme will benefit from a rigorous programme of training and world-class mentoring from some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs.

With a number of sponsors and partners backing the project I expect to see some of those businesses incorporating Entrepreneur First into future advertising campaigns.

In the current economic environment most businesses are feeling the squeeze but effective marketing can really help. When executed correctly cause marketing will lead to both parties helping advertise each other and it can open up your business to a new audience. An established local charity will already have a number of contacts with the local press and key influencers in the area. From my experience, charities are excellent at gaining a lot of press from minimal resources, and will often be really happy to shout about the work you are doing with them. Ultimately developing relationship that is mutually beneficial.

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