Cause-related marketing refers to a marketing initiative where a non-profit organization teams up with a business or corporation to support a charitable or social cause. This collaborative campaign allows the company to establish a meaningful connection with the chosen cause(s), benefiting all parties involved.
For example, a company may partner with an animal shelter and donate 10% of their profits from a certain product to the organization. This way, the business can not only make a meaningful contribution, but also benefit from improved brand recognition in the process.
A business that runs cause marketing campaigns would get benefits like building goodwill, raising awareness, optimizing reputation, standing out from the competition, improving company morale, boosting customer loyalty, and public relations. In addition, different benefits to social causes can be an increase in the funds of a non-profit organization, growth in donations because of more exposure, optimized public awareness, etc.
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What is Cause-Related Marketing?
Cause-related marketing is a mutually beneficial partnership between a business and a non-profit organization (NPO) used for promoting sales of the business and the cause of the NPO. Hence, cause marketing creates the benefit for both- the company and NPO, as the non-profit organization will gain financial support, and the business or corporation will enjoy optimized marketing.
Often people are attracted to the business who are socially responsible. Such businesses will be able to receive positive recognition for their brand. Cause-related marketing started in the form of essential donation, which was part of a product sale.
Whenever a customer purchases a particular product, there would be a mention that a certain amount of the product’s cost price will be used for a charitable cause. A lot of cooperating companies use this type of marketing to embrace the importance of social causes.
How Cause-Related Marketing Campaign Works
A cause marketing strategy begins with a strategic alliance between a corporation and a nonprofit organization. The corporation commits to corporate giving, which is often a percentage of the profit from a specific product or service.
This form of marketing strategy serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it helps raise awareness about the social cause endorsed by the nonprofit. On the other hand, it spotlights the corporate brand in a positive light, showcasing its social responsibility and commitment to giving back to society.
To effectively implement this strategy, both parties must align their goals and values, ensuring the cause resonates with the company’s customers. The strategy must be communicated effectively across various channels to reach the target audience, amplifying the impact of the campaign. By doing so, the corporation not only fosters customer loyalty but also aids the nonprofit in expanding its reach and influence.
How to Implement Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns?
Before investing in any form of marketing, it is essential to calculate the budget and means to devise and implement a successful campaign. A successful campaign can lead to generating new leads. It ensures brand loyalty and trust among one’s target market segment.
If implemented successfully, it would help both one’s business and non-profit organization. Hence it is crucial to focus on implementing a marketing plan before launching a campaign.
Step 1 – Identifying the cause
Cause-related marketing should focus on reflecting the values of one’s company or business. Partner with a non-profit organization that is somehow related to the business.
The first one needs to know about their audience and accordingly devise a campaign built around their values. This will help in increasing brand loyalty among one’s customers. Also, With a meaningful purpose, the employees of one’s company will be more than willing to participate.
Step 2 – Determining the contribution
After identifying the just cause for partnerships, one needs to determine how much and what each party contributes. One needs to look beyond the monetary contribution and gifts.
One can help to boost awareness and recognition by contributing in the following means;
- Events for charity
- Direct mail campaign
- Email marketing
- Event planning
- Social media campaign
- Advertising through other modes of media
- Volunteer groups from the cooperation
- Donations for the commodities
Step 3 – Involving the audience
The primary purpose of any marketing campaign is to have a determined response from the audience. With the help of social media or a customized landing page, one can motivate their audience in participating in the campaign in several ways.
Some of those ways are-
- Donating to the cause
- Sharing about the brand through the social media post
- Participating in events conducted by the partners.
One can use customer relationship management software to navigate the right set of audiences for cause-related marketing. The software helps in follow-up and creating a personalized message of appreciation. Therefore the audience will feel more involved in the campaign due to the sense of responsibility.
Step 4 – Promoting in collaboration with the non-profit organization
A campaign will be more effective if both the cooperation and the non-profit organization are promoting it. Both of the partners can enhance their outreach by tagging each other in social media posts. Both parties involved must announce their affiliation through the newsletter, press release, and so on.
One has to take full advantage of the partnership. Strategizing with one’s non-profit partner will help to implement the campaign successfully. One can achieve the goal of creating and increasing awareness and exposure.
What are the Types of Cause Marketing Campaigns?
There are several ways one can design their cause marketing campaign to meet the goal. Given below are some of the ways one can utilize cause marketing;
1. Point of sale
This is one of the most basic of cause marketing. When selling the product, the vendor who is a partner with the organization will ask the customer to make an essential donation for the charity.
2. Special products
There are certain ‘special products that the customer would give to the charity when brought by the customer.
3. Special incentive for donation
Certain companies offer incentives to the customers like coupons, discounts, and so on in exchange for a cash donation.
4. Buy one, give one model
It is a very straightforward approach to creating both commercial and social value of a commodity. Every purchase from the customer results in a donation to the selected non-profit profit organization or community.
5. Digital campaign
Campaigning with the help of digital media helps in creating marketing opportunities for both partners.
Best Practices of Cause-Related Marketing
Below are some of the best practices for cause-related marketing;
1. Working towards the goal
At the time of partnership, both the party involved must be transparent about their goals. This helps in implementing effective marketing strategies. One has to have a clear understanding of the goal to put forward the relevant action to achieve the goal.
Implement marketing strategies or campaigns that will resound with the needs and the values of the target market. The campaign should be unique and urge people to take action.
3. Building a relationship of trust
Besides achieving the goal of the partnership, one should also focus on building a quality relationship with their partner. The effect of cause marketing has a long-term impact. Therefore it is necessary to nurture the relationship of trust to ensure success.
4. Analyzing the campaign
It is important to keep track of one’s campaign progress. It helps in measuring success by compensating for the failures. One can get a deeper insight into their target market.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on Cause Related Marketing.
5 Cause-Related Marketing Examples
Some of the notable examples of successful cause marketing campaigns are-
1. American Express Statue of Liberty’s restoration
American Express is a brand that coined the term cause-related marketing for the very first time in 1983 for describing its campaign of raising money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.
It donated one cent to the restoration whenever any of its customers used its charge card. This way, it raised more than $1.7 million, plus its card use rose to 27%.
2. Billie’s project body hair
Billie is a brand specializing in the sale of razors and other female body care products. The company started, the “Project Body Hair” campaign to celebrate the body hair of women. It started to highlight the issue of female beauty standards.
The campaign focused on the facts of female body hair that exist that generally the razor brands don’t show. The company wanted to change this hairless tradition. Billie’s effort was to normalize the fact that it is okay to have body hair.
It is a campaign celebrating women’s natural beauty. It brought awareness to the audience about unrealistic beauty standards. Hence people started talking about the initiative, which ultimately leads to inculcating brand loyalty among the customer.
3. Time to care with the body shop
In the year 2020, The body shop, a beauty, and wellness company started an initiative, “The body shop”. The company used social media for spreading awareness of the importance of skincare.
Through the hashtag, the initiative was spread across the global platform keeping the community informed. The North American team has partnered with shelters and assisted living communities to donate body-care products. This ensured that everyone would have access to basic self-care products.
4. Leftovers challenge from the mythical kitchen
A well-known YouTuber chef, Josh Scherer, who is the host of Mythical Kitchen, teamed up with various channel hosts to introduce the initiative #LeftoversChallenge. This campaign is also supported by the Restaurant workers community foundation.
The purpose of the initiative is to make food accessible to everyone. #leftoverchallenge urges people to make a creative meal from the leftovers and share it on social media using the hashtag. Also, in addition to that, the creators set up donation links on their posts for the purpose to seek a donation from the audience.
5. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s act for the ocean
The “Act for the Ocean” campaign was started by the Monterey bay aquarium. It aims to educate its target audience about climate change and aquatic life.
The campaign highlights the issue of how aquatic life is being adversely affected. The videos also educate the audience on several ways to help Aquatic life. The company has been expanding its outreach with the help of various social media networks.
Benefits of Cause Marketing Campaign
Efficient marketing is essential for brand awareness for both cooperation and non-profit organization. Non-profit organizations generally have limited budgeting.
Hence having a partnership with cooperation will earn them the necessary means of making their organization known. Given below are some of the benefits of cause-related marketing;
1. Customer loyalty
Both nonprofit organizations and the corporation can expect their outreach and gain customer loyalty via cause-related marketing.
2. Fulfills CSR
Cause marketing campaign fulfills the businesses’ need for corporate social responsibility.
3. Optimizes awareness and reputation
Cause marketing creates a positive image for the cooperation and hence helps in staying ahead in the competition. It ensures improved credibility for the non-profit organization.
4. Increases sales
As per Cone Communication Social Impact Study in 2013; more than 90% of the customers say that they would like to opt for socially responsible companies. Around 89% of the customers say that they like to hear the update on social causes like equality rights, breast cancer, etc that the brands are supporting or offering sponsorship to.
Disadvantages of Cause Marketing
Given below are some of the drawbacks of cause-related marketing;
1. Can be costly
If not managed well, then cause marketing efforts would be a waste of money and time for both parties.
2. Wrong decisions
Partnering with the wrong brands or NPOs would cost one to lose a positive image of their brand.
On a concluding note, it is clear that it is a type of marketing in which businesses align themselves with social causes that are important to them and channel their marketing campaign around that cause.
Cause-marketing will be useful for you if you plan it adeptly and implement it at the right time. You may use it to bring awareness to a cause and show social responsibility along with optimizing your brand awareness, lead generation, and sales.
How effective do you find cause marketing for a business?
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