Is your business socially responsible?

Marketing

18 June 2014

Cause marketing is when a company affiliates their business or products with a cause. We do not just mean writing a cheque here and there to a regular charity but actually incorporating a cause in with your business.

In order to do this as a marketing tool it requires a cause that aligns with your branding and compliments your business. A great example of a business that has done it right is American Express, who invented the term cause related marketing in 1983 by supporting the Statue of Liberty Restoration. The company raised 1.7 million in a period of three months by donating a percentage of their products services, e.g. $1 for each new cared issued. American Express is not the only company to jump on this band wagon, Mount Franklin water have their pink breast cancer bottles, Olay works with the American Society for Dermatological Surgery (ASDS) on the ‘skin cancer takes friends’ campaign and then there is (Red), the cause that was specifically designed to align with brands such as Gap and Armani to help a global fund to fight AIDS.

A number of advantages can come from cause related marketing. Similar to sponsorship, cause marketing can improve recognition of your business and when the association is strong then it can build large brand awareness. It can also affect your businesses brand credibility, as a consumer will see you as caring and socially responsible. A well-designed cause related strategy such as Olay’s affiliation with ASDS can tick all three boxes to corporate credibility: expertise, trustworthiness and likability. Finally, cause marketing can align your business with a brand community. Online community groups are extremely popular in particular causes, even something as small as a community sports organisation. By aligning your company with the correct cause you are seen to be a community member and allows marketers to tap into new communities.

Cause marketing is to give something back to the community and help in the fundraising for a cause. However, it is proven that these associations also affect your business in return. Marketing Magazine states that research studies have found 46% of Australians would buy a new brand if it supports a cause they care about. A strong correlation now exists with an Australian consumers brand selection and a companies ethical and cause related support. American Express saw an increase of 28% of card use within 3 months of their association with the Statue of Liberty Restoration.

Not all companies have been as successful, KFC’s alignment with a breast cancer research organisation was short-lived as the partnership was seen as inauthentic and in poor taste. It may be time for you to consider giving something back to the community, however, to avoid any reputation crisis Italic can help you in aligning with the right cause that will benefit both parties. Start small, sports clubs, research, and schools. Think about whom in your community you could work with to promote and associate your brand with, then contact us to give you some advice.