As many of you know, the key to cause marketing is appealing to your consumers’ emotions. Below is an adapted excerpt from our guide, The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing, by Katya Andresen. In this guide, Katya explains why people act when cause marketing campaigns are personal. Check it out!
A few years ago, Proctor & Gamble launched a cause-related marketing campaign in South Africa called “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine.”
For every pack of diapers sold, a child was vaccinated against tetanus. It was wildly successful, boosting Pampers sales and resulting in 150 million vaccines.
A rival campaign didn’t fare as well. Its slogan was less tangible, not to mention wordy: “1 pack will help eradicate newborn tetanus globally.” Meh.
Unfortunately, as this example from researchers Cynthia Cryder and George Loewenstein illustrates all too well, marketers often talk about causes in intangible terms, and that doesn’t work very well. The vast majority of good causes have messaging closer to the failed campaign. And that’s a very tangible problem.
Why do marketers need to get as tangible as the “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” message?
1. Consumers are skeptical and need reassurance that your company’s cause is effective. Being specific about what you do with your dollars instills trust.
2. Tangibility bolsters the belief that a gift will make a difference. Buying diapers that help fight tetanus globally is less emotionally compelling than vaccinating a baby. Consumers want to know they are making a real human impact, not just a dent in a huge problem.
3. Being concrete makes people care more. As we know from previous posts (How Emotion Trumps Thinking and Why We Relate to Sea Monkeys), people have stronger emotional reactions to an individual or specific situation, which in turn makes them more generous. Research shows people give two to three times more money when an intangible need is replaced with a specific impact.
What are the takeaways for cause marketers?
1. Be very transparent about your impact. If I purchase your product or make a donation, what will happen? How much money goes where?
2. Describe the change that will come about in a very specific way. How can you create an equation that clear?
For more information on the brain science behind why people give, and ways to improve your cause marketing campaign, download The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing.