Will Doing Good Do You Well?
by Adwright, 4 January 2019
“Despite their good intentions, today’s businesses are missing an opportunity to integrate social responsibility and day-to-day business objectives – to do good and make money simultaneously.”
The talk today is all about social responsibility – individuals and organisations are increasingly obligated to act for the benefit of society at large. People are more inclined to choose your product if they see that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting important causes. Over the years, the percentage of people that would switch from one brand to another because the alternative brand was associated to a good cause has dramatically climbed to a whopping 87%. And the future lies here when nearly 95% of college students are more likely to notice an advertisement if it shows a brand’s partnership to a cause. The social conscientiousness of younger generations is driving growth in cause marketing. People now show a striking preference for brands they believe to be making the world better, brands that represent their beliefs.
Mutually Beneficial Marketing Relationship
So why not? Essentially, all businesses and non-profits can benefit from cause marketing, it’s a win-win situation. While raising awareness and expanding reach for non-profits, it also indicates an uplift in brand equity and revenue for the company. With cause marketing, consumers tend to have a more positive image of the company and are more likely to buy the brand or even to switch to the brand with a good cause when price and quality are equal.
Not Just For The Big Guys
Many have the misconception that only large companies can afford to adopt cause marketing. Small businesses limited in funds often assume that cause marketing is only for the big guys. But, there are creative ways to leverage the power of cause marketing in a cost-effective, revenue generating manner such as donating a portion of proceeds from a sale to a non-profit so donation only happens when a sale is made.
A Strategy Is Critical
However, having a strategy is critical in cause marketing. With a clear strategy and an integration of this into a broader marketing strategy, small businesses can expect to do well too. If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. Only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify the causes or social initiatives that align with its authentic brand story. Ultimately, a clear marketing strategy should identify your business and social goals. From there, pinpoint the non-profit organisations or causes that fit your goals as well as reach your target markets. Lastly, the execution, the tactics and campaigns that can deliver fundraising dollars in tandem with your business results.
Practice What You Preach
At the end of the day, live up to the causes you support, there is a fine line between cause marketing and exploitation of cause marketing. To date, many brands have pumped millions of marketing dollars into campaigns or advertisements for social causes and while they have helped to inject positive, empowering messages into the public narrative, too often these story arcs are only used when convenient, they are too frequently deployed as lip-service by companies. Companies cross the line to exploitation when brands claim to be stewards for certain causes in their advertising but do not live up to them in practice. There lies real danger in companies that exploit a cause’s message without taking proper action to further the movement. Diminishing a cause into a tagline or hashtag instead of employing a proper mechanism to engage in real hard work will be seen through in due time.
All in all, values-based advertising is beneficial for good but also for profit. It gets people talking and more importantly, sharing. Millennials have grown up with advertising all around them, they don’t care about the products, they care about how your brand makes them feel and whether others are talking about it. With the start of a brand new year, why not make your 2019 resolution to do some good and make the world a slightly better place to live in?
Building a brand is hard work, it takes time, let alone building a socially conscious brand. A long term commitment is essential to seeing results. Before a brand can move forward to incorporate cause marketing, it needs to be sure about who it is, what it stands for and what it believes in. This is where Adwright can help – with over 20 years of experience in helping brands build and develop their stories, we provide integrated solutions in branding, design, communications and beyond to find the brand you are.