How to Get Started with Cause Marketing.
Nearly all successful brands are built upon core values that guide the products and experiences they provide. These values should also heavily influence the marketing tactics and campaigns used by those brands. In fact, it’s becoming an expectation. 69% of Gen Z is more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to a cause.
While it’s easy to talk about those ideals in theory, it can be harder to put into practice. Sales goals, ROI, and real-life marketing objectives don’t always map perfectly to a core value or mission statement. Luckily, there are relatively simple ways to translate your overall plans and campaigns into effective cause marketing tactics.
Going beyond a classic marketing message
Let’s say you’re building a new brand, reaching out to a new audience, or simply looking to increase awareness for an existing brand. There’s a good chance you’ll support that goal with a marketing campaign.
During campaign development, it’s worth going one layer deeper and asking “how can this concept or execution benefit more than our brand?” Meaning, how can we benefit consumers beyond a unique selling proposition?
This isn’t a new question to ask—or idea in general. Nearly every company out there has some sort of corporate initiative to give back. Some, like TOMS Shoes or Warby Parker, started their entire companies based on pledges like “you buy one, we give one.”
But it’s even more effective to practice this in the communities where your brand is active, positively impacting real people who may become regular customers or possibly even brand advocates.
What does all of this actually look like?
The answer depends on what your brand stands for and what it offers people. Your cause should directly align with your brand’s values and personality to create continuity. For instance, a wellness brand like Dove is built on the idea of making people feel better. But its now-famous campaign about self-acceptance and body positivity goes far beyond dry skin. The brand is championing (and investing in) a cause designed to make the world a better place—while building buzz and VERY effectively increasing word of mouth awareness. Reportedly, the cause marketing campaign increased sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion after one year.
There are numerous other brands have taken this approach to heart and taken up causes that resonate with their core audiences. Patagonia, which has a clear tie to sustainability, came out against wasteful fast fashion practices. Ben and Jerry’s issued very explicit condemnations of white supremacy, taking a social justice stand at a time when many other brands espoused very lukewarm rhetoric. This is in line with the company’s social initiatives, which have aided in the brand’s success since its inception.
Whether you agree with the specific causes above or not, it was very clear in these cases that the brands’ core audiences did.
How to get started
If your brand or client is lacking the fundamental brand values we touched on above, that’s a good place to start. But if you need to get something in motion while that’s ironed out, look for obvious extensions. As you’re developing a campaign, ask yourself and your team “how can we do good with this?” every time you talk about a concept. Some natural opportunities should present themselves.
How to put your cause marketing into motion
You have your idea, and we love that. Now it’s time to put it into action. It’s most efficient to roll out initiatives like these at scale while retaining direct connections to targeted audiences. That’s where partners like ITK Collective come in.
We can help create content that educates consumers about your brand’s causes, and put that directly into the hands of kids and parents. Our team manages the process from start to finish, providing guidance, resources, and contacts that maximize the efficiency of your budget.
What’s the end result?
This is one of the biggest benefits of cause marketing. You can achieve just about any objective imaginable. Build brand awareness. Increase product trial. Try out a new product and get real-world feedback. If you can define a KPI, there’s a way to get there.
When 72% of Americans believe it is important to buy from companies that reflect their values, it’s easy to see that now is the time to take action and implement a cause marketing campaign.
Ready to get started? Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you translate an existing campaign into a cause marketing strategy or help you build one from the ground up.