Customers care more about businesses that get involved in a good cause than ever before. People want to know what kind of message they are supporting with their dollars before they spend money with you.
Diving in to cause-related marketing campaigns can be a dangerous game, though. Your business needs to find a delicate balance between showing public support for a cause and ensuring that customers don’t think you’re just trying to cash in on a trend.
2020 has been a tumultuous year full of causes that the world population has rallied behind. So no matter what message or cause you think is best aligned with your business, the important thing to focus on is how to properly approach supporting a cause.
Choose a cause you believe in
The first step in showing that your business truly supports a cause is by focusing on one that holds value to the people that power your business. Find a cause that your employees and your customer base are clearly passionate about.
The more your staff believes in the message, the more they will give themselves to the cause. It can become infectious, and that passion can quickly spread to customers if they see your people speaking out, rather than just your brand.
Choose something that your employees will be inclined to share out on their personal social media accounts. The goal is to make sure that authenticity shines through to the public. People tend to point fingers at organizations that jump on bandwagons. And the natural support of your employees will help avoid that stumble.
Focus on a goal for your cause-related campaign
There’s nothing wrong with making money the focus of your campaign. But it needs to be made clear that it is not a for-profit campaign. Find a way that you can direct the proceeds to support the cause financially. And communicate to customers that their dollars are going directly to the cause.
On the other hand, you might determine that your goal is raising awareness. This can be your focus alongside raising funds. But you’ll need to balance these two messages.
Putting the awareness factor first, while mentioning that customers can also show their support through donations, is a good strategy. It shows that you see your business as just one small piece of the puzzle when it comes to supporting the cause.
Talk about awareness as a snowball effect, where it builds and builds as more people get behind the cause. This is a humble approach and it shows that you’re thinking beyond how this benefits your business.
Building your brand’s image
Getting involved in a good cause is great for improving brand perception. Customers remember, consciously or not, brands that are socially responsible.
It can be things as little as focusing on sustainability through reusable products. An effort like this is a small thing that doesn’t need to be shouted from the rooftops. It’s the kind of thing that customers can notice once and not have to be told every time they visit you. They’ll know that your practices align with their interests, which is a fantastic reason to become a repeat customer.
On the other end of the spectrum, some causes are best supported with a robust campaign, during a specific time.
Here at The Post and Courier, our newsroom has dedicated weeks of time throughout August to supporting the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The campaign is titled “We the Women,” and it is a video/podcast interview series featuring 19 influential women in South Carolina.
The goal with this campaign is to use the public platform the Post and Courier uniquely holds, in order to raise awareness of the struggles that women have faced throughout history, and the progress that women like the featured guests have brought about.
Employees supporting the cause
With women that work within our offices that are passionate about the issue, we found We the Women’s marketing campaign to be an authentic and powerful way to raise awareness.
Marketing Graphic Designer Ellyn Morgan plays a key role in marketing out this campaign to our audience. And her passion for the subject shines through in her work.
“I am my own person.” Ellyn said. “I can design a campaign, be paid for my time and decide how my earnings are spent. It sounds wild, but just as recently as the number of years as my mother is old, women were discouraged from entering the design industry.”
Ellyn believes that The Post and Courier is the right organization to support the fight for equality.
“It is important that a company like The Post and Courier support and celebrate this cause,” Ellyn said. “The right to vote made way for the extraordinary women of our time, for all those that are coming, for our newsworthy and noteworthy significant contributions of all sorts to our communities.”
Event marketing manager Nichole Blevins also had an important hand in bringing this campaign to life. And like Ellyn, her dedication to the cause meant that our campaign came from the heart of the company, rather than the wallet.
“It’s important for The Post and Courier to support and celebrate this historic achievement,” Nichole said. “Not only because it builds greater public awareness, but it also underscores our organization’s internal values. Connecting to consumers through shared values helps build a deeper trust in an organization which ultimately results in greater customer loyalty.”
Passion like this is what businesses should look for when putting together a cause-related marketing campaign. When the people that create every aspect of a campaign, truly believe in the cause, it clearly shows through their work. And the end product connects with customers more because they can feel the authenticity.
It’s completely okay to recognize the benefits that a cause-related campaign can bring to your business, as long as you’re putting out the right image to customers and taking the focus away from your image.