Are you a marketer or business owner looking to explore different strategies to enhance and expand your digital marketing efforts?
Then, cause marketing might be just what you need.
In a world that’s increasingly becoming more aware and preoccupied with social and environmental causes, choosing cause marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy can truly make a big difference — both to your brand and the planet.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is Cause Marketing?
When we talk about cause marketing, we refer to the business collaboration between a for-profit company and a non-profit organization or institution, to achieve mutual benefits.
Charity or non-profit organizations don’t usually have a huge marketing budget to promote their activities and entice people to join their causes.
Teaming up with a well-known, for-profit brand, then, can help them get their cause better and more widely known, and up their donor funding.
For-profit companies, though, can hugely benefit from cause marketing too by boosting their corporate social responsibility and attracting more customers.
What are the Advantages of Cause Marketing?
Let’s take a closer look at the three most impressive benefits of cause marketing for business owners.
Creates a Lasting Impact on Sales
Research from the Consumer Culture found that over 70% of Millennials — one of the most dynamic and profitable customer demographics around — are willing and happy to buy more for a product or service if they knew that some of the profits went towards a charitable cause.
Similarly, it was also revealed that when it comes to choosing between two brands that offer the same type of product or service, most customers are drawn to the one that shows tangible support to charities.
Fosters Powerful, Authentic Relationships with Your Customers
These days, customers worldwide are getting more and more informed and interested in participating in doing good for the planet and their communities.
This reflects in the way they shop and in the brands they choose.
If your company regularly engages in powerful cause marketing campaigns, your customers will naturally continue to gravitate towards you, which in turn enables you to build solid and authentic relationships with them, while promoting customer loyalty and retention.
Sharpens Your Competitive Edge
As we stated earlier, the majority of consumers, when presented with a choice between two brands offering the same type of product or service, will tend to select the one that has tangible associations with charitable work.
This means that, by building powerful partnerships with non-profit organizations through cause marketing campaigns, you will be able to hugely boost your competitive edge, winning more customers and closing more sales than your rivals.
How Do You Create Successful Cause Marketing Campaigns?
Let’s now discover how to take tangible actions that bring great business results through cause marketing campaigns.
1. Carefully Select the Right Partner and Cause
The first step in the creation of an effective cause marketing campaign lies in choosing the partner and cause that best align with your business.
Consider all the following elements:
- What your business sells.
- Who your customers are.
- What your business values are.
- What your business mission is.
To be successful, a cause marketing campaign should mirror the values that your brand stands for, be relevant to your products or services, and speak engagingly and authentically to your customers.
2. Engage Your Customers on Multiple Platforms
In a cause marketing campaign, the audience is not just a passive spectator — it becomes an active, engaged entity that can make or break the campaign itself.
For this reason, making sure that you keep your customers involved, excited, and committed to the cause is paramount.
There are lots of different ways to achieve this, including:
- Sharing content on social media.
- Launching fun games, contests, and challenges.
- Organizing events, either virtual or in-person.
- Creating a landing page for your cause marketing.
- Involving influencers and celebrities.
- Promoting your cause marketing campaign across several different media and platforms.
- Keeping your customers and followers always up-to-date on how their actions and support are helping your cause.
3. Craft Emotional, Direct, and Persuasive CTAs
Powerful, straightforward, and action-driven call-to-actions are always important for the success of any marketing campaign, but they become vital in cause-related marketing.
CTAs are what, ultimately, pushes your audience to take a further step forward and become actively involved in supporting your cause.
Because of this, you are going to need to craft a call-to-action that is simple to understand, elicits an emotional response in your audience, and convinces them to join you and your non-profit partner.
To achieve this, you could try one, or more, of the following approaches:
- Including a sentence that highlights how the help of each customer will genuinely make a difference.
- Tapping into your customers’ emotive side, whether by eliciting feelings of anger, disgust, or excitement.
- Letting them know, exactly, what they need to do to support your cause — and making it a cinch to donate and spread the word.
3 Cause-Related Marketing Campaign Examples to Inspire You
Lacking ideas for your next cause marketing campaign? The three examples below might give you the push and inspiration you need.
1. Starbucks and Mermaids
One of the most powerful, effective, and authentic cause marketing partnerships to support the rights of the transgender community is, no doubt, the one between Starbucks and Mermaids.
In early 2020, the uber-famous coffee shop joined forces with Mermaids, a charity that supports young transgender and gender diverse people.
First, Starbucks gathered lived experiences of its transgender customers through social media, asking them to share their stories about using Starbucks as a safe place to express their identities by using their new names.
Then, the company contacted Mermaids and, together, the two parties began to work at crafting a visually impactful and meaningful campaign centered on how the use of names is a crucial aspect to empower the transgender community.
The result? A simple, moving, and compelling advert that formed the core of Starbucks’ #WhatsYourName campaign.
In the advert, we follow James — whose given name at birth is Jemma — as he goes about his daily life and his struggles to reaffirm his authentic self.
Until, finally, he walks into Starbucks, where he can be truly himself by telling the barista his name, who proceeds to write it on his mug just as he does for every other customer.
The joy, the relief, and the sense of belonging that the end of the advert communicates is incredibly powerful, without compromising on its authenticity.
2. Lyft and Bread of Life
The coronavirus pandemic represented a significant opportunity for many brands to team up with charities and non-profits to raise awareness on ways to stop spreading the virus, stay healthy, and support essential workers.
Many companies jumped on this bandwagon, but one of our favorites is Lyft’s “LyftUp” cause marketing campaign.
The popular car riding and rental company teamed up with hundreds of local associations and charities that provide essential services to people during the pandemic and offered them free rides to work.
In particular, the partnership with Bread of Life helped the latter ensure that its employees continued to deliver their all-important services towards enabling food safety to thousands of people across the US.
The company announced this collaboration with a simple, to-the-point Tweet:
Millions of people lack access to reliable, affordable transportation. We’re partnering with organizations like Bread of Life to help essential workers across the country get to work. https://t.co/iVrDHYYSWJ pic.twitter.com/QBUfTYVxyn— Lyft (@lyft) October 3, 2020
3. Walgreens and Red Nose Day
Red Nose Day is, arguably, one of the most popular and known charities globally, and it has been collaborating with US chemist Walgreens for over seven years to raise money for children in poverty.
And although this partnership is nothing new or a one-off, the two companies well and truly knocked it out of the park with their 2020 campaign.
As the pandemic still forced people to respect regulations around social distancing and local lockdowns, the entire campaign was moved online.
This was the beginning of Digital Red Nose — a way to get everyone together against child poverty, while at the same time observing the limitations imposed by the pandemic.
For six weeks, customers were able to get their Digital Red Nose through online donations on Walgreens’ website.
After donating any amount of money, customers received their Digital Red Nose filter, which they could then use and share on the main social media networks.
Walgreens further encouraged its customers to spread the love by posting their Digital Red Nose selfies, and by challenging friends, family members, and coworkers to do the same.
When effectively designed and executed, cause marketing campaigns can truly be a win-win for every party involved.
For-profit and non-profit brands can enjoy higher awareness, more customers and supporters, and an increase in profits or donations.
Similarly, the community that the campaign is targeting will also receive a boost in popularity and recognition, which can sometimes prove invaluable when it comes to social justice and environmental causes.
If you would like to further explore the potential of cause marketing, then a lesson in brand storytelling is essential — and we have recorded a super-inspiring jam session on this topic.