Cause-related marketing is a partnership that is made between a business and a non-profit, so that the proceeds from the sales of the first benefit benefit the second.

It is not a low profile anonymous donation, it is a movement that makes public that a company is socially responsible and interested in the causes that are important to its customers.

Therefore, the nonprofit organization benefits both financially and in terms of positioning, thanks to the marketing efforts of its partner.

Importance of Marketing for a Cause

To illustrate the level of relevance of marketing with the cause, let’s see what the latest study carried out by CONE, a company with 40 years of experience helping organizations to impact their social and environmental surroundings, showed.

In addition, there is a growing demand from people for companies to pay society and the environment for the profits that both allow them to have.

This was evidenced by recent studies : 70% of this generation report that they would spend more on brands that support causes.

Considering that millennials represent $2.5 trillion in spending power, the notion of “giving back” can be very powerful for a company’s sales.

The key point is to move from thinking of “winning a little” to believing and acting so that “everyone wins”.

“Organizations need to think about meaningful impact beyond short-term gains.” Says Alex Malouf, Director of Communications for Procter & Gamble in the Arabian Peninsula.

This company has been one of the winners of the Cause Marketing Golden Halo Award , the highest honor for companies that collaborate to generate benefits for companies and society.

This is what Philip Kotler, considered the father of modern marketing, specifies: “Marketing must connect with people in ways that offer solutions to their concerns to make the world a better place.”

A little history

1983 was the year the cause-related marketing concept was first introduced to the masses when American Express launched a campaign to fund the restoration of The Statue of Liberty.

The company donated 1 cent each time someone used their card. The result? The number of new cardholders grew by 45% and their use by 28%.

At the end of that decade, in 1990, Cause-Related Marketing moved $120 million dollars and in 2016 it reached $2 billion dollars. Today, you have the option of running cause-related marketing campaigns with relative ease.

For example, every business big or small has a Facebook page, so you can use the Donate feature to integrate your sales with a good cause.

Benefits of Cause Marketing

  • Add value to society and/or nature

    Without customers and human resources a company dies, without raw material too. A company cannot survive without the support of society and nature. So the biggest and most obvious benefit of cause marketing is being able to return service to the source of wealth.

  • Positioning for both: the company and the non-profit organization

    The non-profit cause delivers “the heart” of a cause marketing campaign, that momentum that will be generated when a customer connects with a product’s purpose. And the company arranges its source of profit and marketing resources to achieve the goal.

    With this mix, a campaign can be generated that enhances the reputation and visibility of both brands.

  • Boosts employee morale

    When an employee’s motivation is salary alone, any offer higher than what they are paid could be a reason to quit. Whereas when there is a connection between personal and organizational values ​​and a powerful sense of work, fidelity has deep roots.

    Cause-related marketing can be an action not only to win from the outside, but also to motivate the staff inside, showing consistency between what they preach and practice.

  • attract good influencers

    One of the biggest bets of the marketing departments of companies is marketing through influencers .

    However, it is not easy to find a link that seems authentic between the interests communicated by an influencer and those of a brand. Cause-related marketing facilitates this fit, attracting people who are truly related to the desired purpose.

    A good example of this was the “Run for The Oceans” campaign , an alliance between Adidas and the NGO Parley, dedicated to cleaning up plastic pollution from the ocean.

    For each kilometer traveled by those registered in the Runtastic application, Adidas donated 1 dollar.

    The goal was 1 million dollars and they managed to raise 2 million for the program that seeks to educate future generations about the current problem that plastic pollution is experiencing in the marine ecosystem.

    And what could go wrong?

    If you do not choose well the organization with which you are going to ally, you could cause immense damage to the image of your company. By this I mean that you pay close attention to whether the values ​​and purposes of both are compatible and congruent.

    An illustrative case of a lack of congruence between the company and the cause was the campaign that Kentucky Fried Chicken carried out in 2010 with Susan G. Komen -a prestigious NGO for breast cancer awareness- to support the fight against this problem.

    Despite the fact that the campaign raised 2 million dollars in the first week alone, opinion leaders from the same cause reacted against it.

    Headlines like: Fried Chicken for the Cure? , evidencing the contradiction of promoting an unhealthy food in favor of women’s health.

    Good examples of cause marketing

    • The Body Shop – a cruelty-free natural cosmetics store – with Women’s Aid , ran a campaign from 2004 to 2008, to raise awareness of domestic violence against women.

      The product associated with the campaign was a mint moisturizing lip balm with the slogan “Stop the violence at home”.

      For every sale of the same and other items in the store, The Body Shop donated $1.9. In total, they raised more than USD $750,000.

      The company also produced a “Survivor’s Manual” for Women’s Help and conducted research on attitudes towards domestic violence, showing that its commitment to addressing this cause was more than a superficial campaign.

    • #DreamBigPrincess : Disney and Girl Up – the United Nations Foundation program that supports teen leadership and empowerment launched #DreamBigPrincess, a photo and video campaign that spanned 43 countries and sought to highlight the aspirational qualities of princesses from Disney to help teens face adversity on the path to achieving their dreams.

      They will help teens face adversity on the way to achieving their dreams.

      For every #DreamBigPrincess like or post on social media, Disney donated $1 to Girl Up. In just 5 days, they reached their $1 million goal.

    • The campaign won the 2018 Golden Halo Award, the highest honor in North America for corporate social initiatives and cause-related marketing, in the category of consumer-activated company donation.
    • Project CAT: Preserving Hectares for Tigers: Discovery & World Wildlife Fund is the name of the campaign to support the global effort to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.

      Donations are made by sending a tiger emoji via text message and then, thanks to artificial intelligence, the donor sending the message receives dynamic responses tailored to their local currency and language.

      In 2017, they received donations from 71 countries and the project had 700 million views. It was the winner of the 2018 Golden Halo Award in the category of best animal campaign.

Tips for marketing with a cause

Here are the top tips from Alex Malouf, Director of Communications for Procter & Gamble in the Arabian Peninsula:

  1. Involves the leaders of the organization : Those who make strategic decisions must be involved and change the consciousness regarding sustainability.
  2. Understand the impact you have had so far : You cannot make a sustainability strategy if you do not know what impact you have had so far (good and bad) on the environment, communities and employees. Any communication about impact must be honest, transparent, verifiable and measurable. Otherwise it is not authentic.
  3. Define your “who” : Who are your stakeholders and what matters to both you and them. Once you know who you want to commit to, start communicating with them.
  4. Involve your team outside and inside : Without that support nothing will work. Employees who have values ​​aligned with the company’s sustainability policy are more motivated and less likely to leave.
  5. Measure, measure and measure : You will need to have indicators to measure progress and income. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.
  6. Understand that people will be happy to contribute to a cause but first they want their own benefit : Make sure you know what the win-win of the cause and consumers is. How to know your client? Since surveys are rarely answered, put yourself in their shoes. If you know well who he is, it will not be difficult to imagine that you are in his mind and to know what he wants.
  7. Attractive design – The balance between text and images is very important! The email design should be optimized for all platforms and be visually appealing. When you create an email marketing campaign or any outgoing email, your content can set the tone, but the design can create an image of your brand in the eyes of the reader. Align your emails with your brand image, and the design should resonate with that image.

Finally, we hope we have planted in you the concern to include cause-related marketing within your company’s plan.

What interests me the most is that you stay with the awareness of wanting to do good business that then returns the service to the environment that sustains its existence. Then remember to look for inspiration and create a campaign by thinking outside the box. The rest, you will learn in the execution.