Cause marketing — when businesses and causes (i.e., nonprofits) team up — is a popular way for businesses to generate loyalty from customers, and to attract attention from media and investors. General Mills’ “Box Tops for Education” is an example of cause marketing on a grand scale, having helped schools earn $ 400 million since 1996.
So what’s the big deal with cause marketing?
Lots of people have a desire to make the world a better place. And they want to see the companies they do business with working toward the same goal.
In fact, the number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the brand were associated with a good cause has climbed by 87 percent, according to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey. That’s a big number!
Cause marketing is not for everyone, but most businesses can get behind a cause of some sort either through a partnership or through something they’re passionate about themselves.
That’s why this week’s Campaign idea is to run a Campaign in which you support a cause.
Planning a “Support this Cause” Campaign
1. Pick a cause that’s relevant to your brand and audience: There are thousands upon thousands of causes businesses can get behind, but you’re more likely to get your fans involved if you support a cause that is relevant to both of you. This isn’t always an easy task. Take ShortStack for example. A few years back we ran a promotion where we partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. When it came time to decide on the “right” cause to support, we went around and around. We’re a software company, but worried that if we chose something in the tech industry we were possibly limiting our audience’s interest. Instead we chose to go with a well-known charity.
2. Encourage participation, but don’t require it: Give your fans different ways to support the cause. Some people may be willing to donate money and others may only feel comfortable with signing their name and showing their support, or sharing the cause with their friends. If you only accept a $ 5 donation you’ll limit the outcome.
3. Create a hashtag: Creating a hashtag allows your fans to follow your Campaign across all of your networks.
4. Provide information about the cause: Do you remember the MLS Ice Bucket challenge? If you do, you may remember that many people were pouring buckets of ice water over their head and they had no idea what cause it was for. Be sure to tell the story of your cause and provide adequate educational materials so that your audience can learn about the cause and feel more inclined to support it.
5. Add a PayPal Snippet: If you’re collecting donations, add a PayPal Snippet to your Campaign so your fans can donate straight from your Campaign.
Templates to help you build a “Support this Cause” Campaign
Example of “Support this Cause” Campaign:
In the Campaign below, Nerve Centre, a creative media arts centre based in Northern Ireland, has created a petition to respond to the government’s plan to cut in half the budget for an important arts program. While this particular cause is very specific to the Nerve Centre audience and those interested in the arts, their Campaign is easy to follow and provides a variety of useful links where people can learn more about budget cuts and how they can help. They also created the hashtag #SaveNIFilm to track their efforts across their social channels.
Have you done any cause marketing? What successes have you seen? We’d love to see your examples so please share links with us in the comments below.