The term ‘cause-related marketing’ was first coined by American Express to describe its campaign, the aim of which had been to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. The term has become synonymous with any marketing tie-in with a good cause. It is often used interchangeably with terms such as ‘social marketing’.
Cause-related marketing can be defined as a marketing tool that ties a company to a relevant social cause for mutual benefit. It is different from corporate philanthropy which makes specific donations for tax deductions. Companies such as The Body Shop and Ben and Jerry’s have created lots of loyal customers by paying attention to environmental issues and supporting worthy causes. Given below are strategies that a company should adopt to effectively implement cause-related marketing.
Choose a legitimate charity
A company should have a policy of connecting with key causes that are important to their customers and potential targets. This means that long-term planning and a considerable amount of research into what really matters to customers and potential customers are necessary. They should be meticulous in their research to avoid accusations of self-serving behavior.
A company should also keep a low profile when it comes to publicizing its involvement with a charity. In 2003, Home Depot invested in a project called Project Homefront to show its support for US troops in Iraq. They also stayed close to their area of expertise which is home maintenance and improvement. The aim of the project was to provide home repair and maintenance assistance to loved ones whose family members were serving in Iraq. In the first year, more than 1,200 houses were repaired.
Make an impact
Merely donating money can appear insincere. Customers want to see that a brand is actively working with a cause to make a difference. They can encourage companies to volunteer, arrange on-site visits, or ask executives to help in fundraising. The brand should also avoid making statements that sound like advertising slogans like, ‘We help because we care.’ It is about the right things to do and doing them right. City cleanup campaigns can also be extremely helpful in making a positive impact.
Customers today are impacted more by images and videos. The campaign should also include an element that people can experience in the real world. For instance, Unforgotten was an exhibition of art installations. The installations resembled statues of victims of gun violence in their actual clothes. A mobile app was used to identify the nametag on each statue. Scanning the name tag would activate a video of a life that had ended because of gun violence. People could also walk up and read the story of each victim’s tragic end.
Involve the audience
The audience can also be allowed to get involved in the campaign. They can be requested to volunteer at the events or even donate. They could also be encouraged to share their interaction on social media profiles.