Combine Your Advertising and Charity Work for Effective Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is a relatively new phrase that you may not be familiar with. Essentially it is an advertisement or marketing campaign that benefits both the company and a non-profit organisation. In the past this would typically a corporation giving a portion of their profit to a charity, however, nowadays brands and charities are working in a much stronger and closer partnership. Non-profits are being aided by businesses to raise awareness, funds and volunteers for their cause.
In my opinion Ben & Jerry’s is one of the world’s leading brands at cause marketing and 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.”
Historically the perception was that corporate giving was “just something businesses should do”. The business would generally have little association with the charity and the charity would be grateful but the strength of the relationship was not as beneficial as it could be for both parties.
Recent studies now show us that when done correctly cause marketing can be hugely beneficial to both parties, increasing customer loyalty and sales whilst raising the profile and income for the non-profit.
How are Ben & Jerry’s effectively using cause marketing?
As a brand Ben & Jerry’s talk to us about their brand values whenever they have a chance. If you saw their recent TV advert (shown above) that 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.
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 “Our Values” page on the Ben & Jerry’s website just put into perspective how important they treat Fairtrade. You can view their Recycling policies and Climate Neutral actions.
By having such strong values and consistently communicating it in all their actions as a business 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 market knows, the better the relationship with your consumer, the longer they will stay loyal to your brand and the more money they will spend.
What can my business do to incorporate cause marketing?
Firstly I should point out that using cause marketing as a direct tactic to benefit your own business revenue will ultimately backfire and is bad business practise. It will be unauthentic to consumers, your business will lose the drive to continue with it, and will waste everyone’s time and energy.
You need to identify what non-profit(s) you want to help and be associated with. This could be one close to your heart or your employees are involved with or relates to your industry.
It is very important that the cause you choose to help is something that you genuinely believe in and are passionate about making a positive difference for.
Once you know who you want to help and why you want to help them then it is a good point to get in touch with the non-profit and find out what they need help with. Do they need to raise awareness of an upcoming event, or a new website, more volunteers, financial backing, press coverage, building materials etc.
After you’ve discovered what they need you can begin to structure your ideas around that and find a solution that ties in naturally with your business. Cause marketing differs from corporate giving as it much more inclusive of the non-profit within the campaign. Sometimes the cause will be the focus of all marketing messages or clearly incorporated within the advertising.
You are not just limited to showing your support for a cause within the typical advertising channels such as print, email, billboards, TV and radio. Start thinking outside the box and make use of the huge range of online tools now available. Here is a great example from Ben & Jerry’s on using Twitter to help support a cause:
Cause marketing is making waves in America with more and more brands recognising the importance of showing their social responsibility effectively. If you can start to include the non-profits you support into your marketing in an authentic way it will help boost brand awareness and affection.
Have you seen a great cause marketing campaign? Let us know by sending us a tweet.
Written by James Hay, Social Media Coordinator at Fasthosts Internet Ltd.