How compelling is a cause? Many of us have causes we connect with and because of this we donate our time, talents and financial resources. But how do we view companies that are connected to causes and does it impact whether we buy from them or recommend them? Cause marketing has been in the marketer’s toolbox for two decades now and some recent statistics I’ve seen clearly show its value and why it has had staying power as a smart strategy.
The 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study found that 91% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality. And, Nielsen saw in its 2013 Consumers Who Care Study that 29,000 respondents said companies that integrate social impact into the heart of corporate strategy connect better with customers and inspire more loyalty.
So if you’re considering having your company connect with a cause, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that you can keep in mind:
- Make it known – make the cause and how it connects to your brand, culture and values prominent on your website, social channels, and internal communications channels/vehicles so that your stakeholders know why it matters to you.
- Make it easy – for people connected to your company to donate, volunteer or otherwise support the cause; for example, some companies have made it easy to donate at the register when you check-out at a retail store, or text to donate, or click to donate from a website icon.
- Make it connect – choose a cause that makes sense for your brand, either based on what you sell, or how you view the world, or what you value; for example, Pizza Hut participates in the Annual World Hunger Relief Campaign and Southwest Airlines supports Make-A-Wish because more than 70% of all wishes involve travel. When you pick a cause that makes sense for your company, you make the connection that much easier for your customers to understand.
- Make it count – quantify and articulate the impact of your support of this cause by sharing with employees, customers and partners the ways your financial and/or volunteer resources have helped people in need, changed lives and made a difference.
- Make it last – the Hunger Relief work that I mentioned Pizza Hut is doing has been going on for seven years; brands benefit from longevity with a cause because customers start to expect to hear about a certain cause from that company and the positive story of the cause becomes intertwined with the positive brand image of the company.
If you’ve had success connecting your company with a cause, we would love to hear about it. Or, if you’re trying to figure this out for your business, maybe we should talk. I love to see companies who are doing well, but also doing good.