Consumers are demanding more from the companies they buy from, and the bar is high. Buyers are looking for ethical, eco-friendly products, sold by authentic and compassionate brands. In fact,79% of U.S. buyers feel more aligned with brands that demonstrate similar principles to theirs.
Accountability and transparency are key to building this connection with your audience—82%of people say they will hold a company accountable to claims of commitment. Show that your brand is truly working towards ethical standards, not just “cause washing,” or jumping on a bandwagon to increase sales.
Are you demonstrating your brand’s values in tangible ways, and do those values intersect with the issues your buyers are passionate about? You can show that you care by implementing cause marketing—collaborating with a nonprofit organization or charity, or teaming up with a for-profit company for a charitable campaign.
Here are 3 steps your brand can take to implement strategic and powerful cause marketing.
3 Ways to Use Cause Marketing With Purpose
1. Choose a Nonprofit Your Employees Can Relate To
When planning your cause marketing strategy, it’s crucial that you choose the right charity to team up with. A nonprofit that shares your mission and values could be a match made in heaven and allow you to cultivate a true partnership with a common goal. Then, get your team involved and excited—when they feel emotionally connected to a cause, they’ll be more engaged, and better able to explain the affiliation while encouraging others to contribute to the mission.
For example, activewear brand Aerie launched its ongoing #AerieREAL initiative in 2014, which focused on unedited images of a diverse range of models. They’ve since expanded to include partnerships with Special Olympics and Crisis Text Line to promote wellness and inclusion.
2. Donate a Portion of Sales
This is a simple way to give back and capitalize on your annual revenue without a lot of effort on your brand’s part. Choose a specific product or service you offer, and pledged to donate a percentage of the sales or a dollar amount. Most companies aim to donate 1 to 3% of their profits and encourage customers to give while they’re already making a purchase.
Be sure to educate your audience on the relevance of the cause so they’ll be eager to make purchases in support of your chosen charity, and ultimately increase their average order value. Smoothie brand Kenko does this by offering a $50 donation when a customer subscribes to a 60-pack of smoothies.
3. Create Branded Products
Collaborate with your nonprofit of choice to create a branded product, and drive demand by making them available for a limited time. You can increase your company’s exposure with apparel like shirts, sunglasses, hats, and more, while also letting your audience feel like they’re involved in generating change. This will also position your brand as a thought leader and trailblazer while fulfilling your role in corporate social responsibility.
Starbucks Coffee Company took a common experience, like customers getting their name written on their paper coffee cup, and turned it into a campaign in support of mermaids. The organization provides resources for gender-diverse youth and their families, and the campaign promotes inclusion through correct pronoun usage. Tying in Starbucks’ iconic mermaid logo, they’ve created a limited edition cookie, with proceeds going to the charity.
Cause Marketing With Confidence
Align your brand’s actions with your mission and vision through authentic cause marketing. Not sure who you should connect with, and what your plan should include in creating an effective campaign? Let’s talk about it.