The goal of every business is to make money. We all know that. But that doesn’t mean businesses can’t help make the world a better place along the way. Believe it or not, it’s possible to do both.
It’s all made possible through cause marketing. As defined by CauseMarketing.com founder, Michael Organ, cause marketing is a “type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society.”
Cause marketing can take many forms. It can include everything from charities, to fundraisers, and partnerships with nonprofits. But it often goes deeper than that. Effective cause marketing means standing up for causes at every level. Again, it’s not just about money. It’s about awareness and the principles of the causes themselves.
How do you know which causes to support? Here’s where you’ll want to look inward. What does your brand represent? What do your customers care about? These factors will influence not only what causes you choose to support, but how you shape the future of your brand.
If you don’t think supporting causes is something your customers want you to do, think again. According to the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study, the majority of Americans (78%) feel that companies need to focus on positively impacting society, not just profit.
Believe me, cause marketing is absolutely worth pursuing. Here are three reasons why. (Besides, you know, the obvious reason that making the world a better place tends to be a good thing.)
You’ll reinforce your brand. Every brand represents something. Your products, your services, and your brand story exist for a purpose. For example, let’s say you sell nutritional products. Your brand actively cares about keeping people active and healthy. You can put cause marketing into action by supporting causes that align with healthy living.
Committing to a cause reinforces your brand image. It demonstrates to customers that your brand isn’t just all talk. If your website talks about a long list of values, but doesn’t actually show how your brand enacts those values, you run the risk of creating dissonance for your customers.
You’ll gain a competitive edge. As highlighted in the definition, cause marketing seeks to better society and increase profitability. Cause marketing works because customers want to support brands that align with their values. It’s a legitimate competitive edge.
According to another study from Cone, when given the chance, 92% of customers will buy products with social/environmental benefits. On top of that, 91% will actually switch brands purely for the cause, as long as the price and quality are similar enough.
You’ll build trust. Another great reason to try cause marketing? It builds trust between your brand and its customers. Supporting causes shows that your brand stands for something. According to a report from Edelman, 81% of consumers say trusting a brand to do what’s right is a deciding factor in their buying decision.
Trust is one of cornerstones of a healthy customer relationship. If your customers don’t trust your brand, there’s a big problem. When trust starts to develop, so does loyalty. The more trustworthy your brand appears, the more likely you are to retain customers, and keep them loyal for years to come.
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Has your brand tried cause marketing? Sound off in the comments!