Ribbons, promises to “do good”, and certifications saturate an already noisy consumer-focused marketplace. Consumers can be overwhelmed—fatigued, in fact—when there are too many messages and they all sound the same.
Cone’s newest Social Impact Study: The Next Cause Evolution explains how companies can break out from the norm by demonstrating impact and showcasing business transparency.
Ways you can do this right now:
- Give charity to your customers. Let them choose a cause of their choice and relate that affinity to your brand.
The rise of social media usage coupled with decline of trust in corporate America gave companies the option to increasingly turn to new online cause marketing initiatives – social good campaigns – to drive consumer interest, link their brands to charity and counterbalance negative PR about social harms that arise as a cost of doing business.
Companies use social good campaigns to create a halo effect for their brand with their customers and thereby “do well by doing good,” as the old adage goes.
Consumers in the age of social media can smell disingenuous cause marketing a mile away. Plus, they now have the tools to broadcast the bad (and the good) with every share, tweet, and pin.
The consequences of poorly constructed cause marketing efforts are played out in real-time online and in the media. Watchdog groups like Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before you Pink project and BuyLessCrap.org’s (RED)ICU(LESS) campaign are quick to focus attention on companies that are perceived to put business goals ahead of social impact, especially as their campaigns relate to pink (or green or cause) washing – the act of making false or exaggerated claims that a product or company is socially or environmentally friendly.
To ward off any cause marketing backlash, clearly answer the following questions before embarking on your next campaign.
The following post was originally featured on Edelman's goodpurpose blog.
Humans are inherently empathetic. Our brains are hardwired to relate to other people’s experiences. When we witness or imagine someone acting, our neurons fire the same way they would if we were undertaking the same action.
That’s why your heart races when your favorite athlete soars toward the basket or why the sight of a mother struggling to save her child from floodwaters causes you pain.
While our hearts translate empathy into helping another person, our brains have another reaction: We’re rewarded with happy feelings, thanks to a dopamine dose to our brain’s pleasure center.
If empathy is a preexisting human condition, and if it feels good to do good, then it should be easy-peasy to be a cause marketer. Take your product, slap on a pink ribbon, and watch people act.
Guess what? It’s not that easy.
Research demonstrates that the closer we feel to a cause – and the closer we believe the company is to a cause - the more likely consumers are to act. So what is the takeaway for cause marketers?
Focus on the personal connections of those who are part of your campaign. If someone at your company has a personal reason your organization is supporting a cause, emphasize it. If you are allowing consumers to choose their own causes as part of your cause initiatives, give them a way to share their personal stories. And make sure your company is choosing a cause that seems a close fit.
A few years ago, Proctor & Gamble launched a cause-related marketing campaign in South Africa. It was called “1 Pack=1 Vaccine,” and 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 so well. Its slogan was less tangible, not to mention wordy: “1 pack will help eradicate newborn tetanus globally.”
Be like P&G! Here are 3 reasons for tangible cause marketing messages.
Research shows that, above all, emotion is what galvanizes people to act.
People support causes because they feel something, not because they think something. In fact, if you make people stop and think, they tend to do less good. So what does research about emotion and giving mean to the cause marketer?
Today, we release a brand new eGuide - The Brainiac's Guide to Cause Marketing by our own COO and CSO Katya Andresen - that explores how people’s minds really work, and what that means for your next campaign. By understanding how people think, you'll learn how to make them act.
By Kate Olsen
The best ambassadors for your cause portfolio are the employees actively engaged in your programs. Equip those employees to tell their personal story about why they care, how they help and what it means to be able to do it alongside other employees. Here are a few suggestions to help your employees share the call to action to get involved and make a difference.
Update your Status: If your company has an employee social network or community, seed a conversation dedicated to social impact, preferably visible to the larger community and not just people opted-in to hear about cause programs. Then invite your employees to update their status every time they participate in a volunteer activity or hear about a cool nonprofit project. Employees can also congratulate peers on completing social good projects and generally spread the word about how to give back.
By Kate Olsen
Small social good actions can be gateway opportunities to engage employees in cause without overwhelming them by a big upfront commitment. Or they can be complementary to other offline community commitments or habitual charitable giving.
Research from the Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide proves that people who engage in micro actions for good are twice as likely to volunteer their time and three times as likely to engage in peer-to-peer fundraising efforts for their cause, among other noteworthy findings. Here are three ways to add micro actions to your employee cause portfolio.
By Kate Olsen
Many companies see global volunteerism as an invaluable component of any company’s cause portfolio, even if the workforce isn’t internationally-based. Global opportunities to give back are particularly important, though, for companies seeking to make an impact in all the communities in which they operate. Here are a few suggestions to help take your employee cause programs global.
Give Internationally: Adding international charities to your employee giving roster allows globally-based employees to support charities in their countries through annual giving campaigns. Global donation options also allow US-based employees to support causes they may care about doing work in other countries.