Cause based marketing is often defined as the process of marketing a specific idea, cause, or goal, rather than a specific business, product, or service.
There are three domains in which we find cause marketing prevalent.
Established Non-profit organisations, charities and NGOs all use a form of cause marketing to achieve their outcomes.
Sometimes they are also on the receiving end of a good caused based campaign.
This is when a brand aligns with a cause to produce profitable and societal benefits for both parties.
These mutual benefits can include the creation of social value, increased connection with the public, and the communication of shared value, as well as profit.
Bigger brands may also identify a cause and run with this without partnering with another organisation and many small to medium size businesses may get involved with assisting in local communities or sponsoring initiatives.
The key factor in all of the above is that there needs to be a win-win situation for all concerned.
Cause marketing should not be confused with ethical marketing.
The latter occurs when a brand or a brand’s products are produced specifically with empowerment or ethical values as the driving force behind the business model.
According to Marketing-Schools.org, the first known cause campaign was in 1976
Marriot Corporation and the March of Dimes partnered to promote Marriot’s family entertainment complex in Santa Clara California while raising funds for the March of Dimes’ cause – the prevention of birth defects in babies.
The success of this campaign saw others follow.
Cause based marketing in 2020
We live in a global society in the 21st century.
With fast internet connections, an unending stream of media, mobile technology and international brands that have a footprint across the globe, there really is nowhere to hide these days.
Consumers are becoming acutely aware of the inequalities surrounding them.
It was forecast last year that over 40% of the consumer market will be made up of Generation Z and Generation Y (millennials) by the end of this year.
Why is this important?
Gen Z have changed the landscape of consumer social impact and with it brand engagement.
If you want your brand to have significance beyond 2020, you need to consider adding a cause based component to your business model.
If you are marketing goods directly to consumers who are positively impacted by your business model or feel that their support for your brand has a positive impact on their world, they will support you diligently.
Simply put, when a company donates or supports or partners with a worthy cause rather than adding to its bloated bottom line, that company is more deserving of their support.
ALSO READ: Cause Marketing – The New Black Arts?
How to get started
There is no need for a brand overhaul to start a cause marketing drive for your brand.
A powerful campaign relies either on a strong partnership with an existing cause campaign, NPO or NGO and one that makes sense to both stakeholders, or on identifying a need that benefits your consumers or communities and your brand’s purpose.
A good content marketing strategy and a strong campaign setup will also find ways to tug on consumer heartstrings (and wallets) without blowing your entire marketing budget.
But to make a success of your campaign remember these core principles:
- Authenticity: Does your brand or non-profit align with the goals your partnership? This must make sense to consumers to ensure their support.
- Familiarity: When both brands are known and trusted among a consumer group, the chances of their trustworthiness being multiplied in partnership is even greater.
- Branding: Clear and concise brand elements that are identifiable and congruent with all stakeholders and the cause are essential.
- Media coverage: This includes everything from a strong press drive to all media platforms to a well-considered digital marketing campaign that speaks directly to yours and your strategic partners’ audiences.
Need assistance or looking for partnerships to drive a cause marketing campaign?
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More good reads to help with cause based marketing initiatives.
- Purpose-led businesses are gaining relevance says Unilever CEO
- A Cause marketing case study: The Limitless Potential In Self
- Why a Digital Marketing Strategy is critical to your business or organisation
- Coronavirus spotlights the need for businesses to go digital