It is no secret that marketing and communications are changing daily and marketers are constantly challenged to look for new ways of engaging with their audience. The average consumer expects its favourite brands to share a similar set of values to themselves and this is where cause based marketing can make or break a brand. Ethical consumerism is on the rise (increase of 8% in the past fiscal year in the UK and massive R8.2bn is spent on CSI in South Africa each year – that is more than two-thirds of the money spent on press and magazine advertising. Further to that, 29% of consumers say that, where they can, they support companies who actively give back. 11% of consumers say that they make a point of it and 5% will actively work against brands which fail to give back – source)
So, before a customer will pledge their loyalty they want to know what the brand is doing to uplift the community around it. The bottom line is that consumers want answers and they deserve them too.
The authenticy of your brand’s heart has never been more important and doing good is not as simple as it sounds. The cause you have chosen must be aligned with your customer and the way that you communicate this needs to be engaging but humble. You will not win if you do not choose the right cause and neither will you succeed if you do not find the right tone and channels to communicate your “do-good efforts” to your customers. The burning question is, “does your brand make your customer feel better about themselves?”
The world is shifting to a more conscious place, where real things matter like the world we live in, how we are treating our fellow man, how we are treating the planet and what are we putting back into our world instead of taking for ourselves all of the time.
What are we giving back?
People inherently want to do good and give back but they want to do it on their terms.
Insight we have gained along the way has taught us that:
- People want to be part of a group, friends and work colleagues, in other words, they feel pressure to be part of something, to be equal with their peers.
- People want something that is tangible. Something that they can see , so the visual representation for what they have been involved in.
- Giving bite size chunks is a much easier barrier to entry than a large lump sum
- Donor fatigue is real. People want realness and the relationship between the cool fundraiser and the donor is critical sometimes more so than the actual cause.
- People want bragging rights. They want credit for doing something good, it actually causes a chemical reaction in your brain that makes you feel great. They want “Street Cred”
So how do marketers get around this mine field of more socially aware consumers and ethical business objectives and still make cash?
By asking the right questions…
What if we could find a way to tick all of those boxes for the brand from a PR, CSR, Marketing, content creation, media efficiency, return on investment and every other buzz word you can think of and still get the brands audience to benefit, and at the same time still driving sales.
The answer to this is cause marketing……done properly.
In order for this to work. The questions every brand should be asking themselves before considering any cause marketing campaign are;
Why are we doing this?
What is the end goal?
Do we actually care?
How do we benefit?
What is the impact?
The key to any of this is Authenticity, Real stories told by Real people who have been affected by the issue and the Tone. The tone must be personable and actually with very little “brand – force feed awareness grain” to the campaign at all. Being subtle and letting the content and story speak for itself. Being human. Take a look at our last cause marketing campaign for Operation Smile and the Cipla Foundation: Count Down to Surgery
This will provide an opportunity for the brand and their audience to partner together resulting in a lasting and sustainable footprint in the community affected while addressing real business objectives. This is where the real magic happens.
But by what mechanics is this achieved you ask?
By bringing the brand and its audience together and connecting them through a common cause and ideas. Something thats tangible and real. The audience must feel part of the solution and see the fruits of their contribution whether its volunteering, donating or simply making a conscious purchasing decision based on the initiative supported.
It’s a win win situation.
It’s really that simple.
So, how do we change how business works?
How do you get involved?