In today’s world of information overload, brands have to work harder than ever to break through the clutter and resonate with their target audiences. But in an environment where consumers are being completely inundated with messages, why burn hours and resources doing the same thing as everyone else when you can make your marketing message stand out in a different way?
Rather than doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, one way you can take your marketing message a step further is by aligning your brand in an authentic way with a cause that your consumers can relate to. Cause-marketing or cause-related marketing involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a cause or nonprofit organization for mutual benefit.
When properly executed, cause-marketing campaigns not only effectively communicate your brand’s message, they also have an impact on sales. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Unilever, “33 percent of consumers buy from brands doing social or environmental good.” Studies also show that with price and quality being equal, consumers are more likely to buy products that support a cause over products that aren’t. Some will go as far as switching to a new brand affiliated with a cause they support.
We believe that being a good corporate citizen is just as important as delivering the best products and services available on the market. That is why we work hard to serve the public good by investing in programs and partnerships that improve social equity in the regions we live, work and play. This mission not only guides our work as a corporate citizen, but also provides a framework through which our business addresses new markets, technologies and business models.
That said, as attractive as cause-marketing may seem, executing a cause-marketing campaign is a delicate process. Carefully craft your cause marketing strategy using the following steps:
- Do research. Before you decide to enter into a partnership with a cause, it is important that you are as informed as possible about what the cause is and what it stands for. Find out what the capabilities and limitations are and what synergies can make a partnership mutually beneficial. Ask questions to make sure the cause and your brand are compatible. Also, make sure to vet any organization you partner with. Ask for their financial records, or look them up on GuideStar.org to make sure that you are partnering with a legitimate cause.
- Know your brand. As important as it is to know who you are partnering with, it is even more important to be clear about what your brand stands for and how it relates to your cause partner. Having a clear understanding of what your brand represents and your consumer’s expectations will go a long way in creating a partnership that will work well for both you and your cause partner.
- Make it a team effort. When starting a cause-marketing campaign, the partnership between your brand and your cause partner should be felt at all levels of your organization. Make sure that your employees and team support the partnership and are engaged in helping both parties meet their goals.
- Set goals. Partnering with a cause is a long-term commitment. Both partners must set a manageable plan for your campaign together and agree on key milestones and deliverables. Are you trying to increase awareness of your products or service? Are you trying to sell more goods? Are you trying to improve your brand image? Whatever your goals are, make sure to measure how successful your efforts have been.
- Put your whole heart into it. In addition to alignment with your brand and your consumers, the cause you take on must be near and dear to your heart. If your organization doesn’t fully support the cause you are aligning with, then all the work you put in will be for not.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility program invests in scalable and self-sustaining programs that use innovation to meet some of society’s biggest challenges. Our social investment programs focus on three areas where we believe we can add the most value and make a significant and lasting impact.
Human Rights and Gender Equality
Her Rights is a Belarusian non-profit organization working to help build a better, more just world for both women and men. One of the non-profit’s most important organizational goals is to help women protect and promote their rights and interests in order to build a more democratic society based on equal opportunities.
One of the main activities of the organization is to provide free and confidential legal help for women who face gender violence and discrimination. Special attention is paid to the problem of domestic violence: 70 percent of their clients’ are directly impacted by domestic violence. Women from all the regions of Belarus can address the legal helpline, and get legal information and assistance.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) Education
We are partnering with Innovation Station to develop a program whereby rural, underserved communities in the U.S. are exposed to S.T.E.A.M. education.
Through our economic empowerment programs and partnerships, we work to connect underserved people to information and opportunities they need to thrive. Our investments have helped bring young professionals from underserved communities into the Tech sector, providing them with opportunities for higher paying careers than normally available. And we have also moved workers in developing economies toward financial self-sufficiency.
Mikita Mikado is a software engineer, entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc, makers of all-in-one software for better quotes, proposals, and contracts.