The recent financial crisis in America and around the world, demonstrated what marketers have long known. When the public is cynical, uncertain, or fearful of the future they stop spending. When looking at cause marketing only as a tool for public relations, it’s possible to miss the point of this type of marketing partnership. Giving to charities has long been a part of most business models, without much direction or interest beyond writing a check. What’s truly the important difference with cause marketing is that it does affect results, and thus creates change. Successful campaigns change communities for the better, increasing the confidence of consumers.
There’s an old saying “doing well by doing good”. The cynical portion of anyone’s mind might reject this idea, but the philosophy of a business entity joining forces with consumers to affect resolution has the unique possibility of effecting rapid change. Rather than simply donating to a cause and walking away, those involved in this type of campaign see gains and profit and increased credibility from the relationship.
Who Wants Involvement
The numbers involved in cause marketing are remarkable. By the end of 2015 most watching the explosion of donations through these campaigns expect to see over $1.92 billion raised worldwide. Considering that a single donation seldom accounts for a tenth of a product’s total price this is staggering. These combined efforts have seen relief organizations reach areas with aid, researchers find promising leads to treat diseases, and communities see greater success in social projects. So successful are these cause marketing projects that when surveyed, those referred to as Millennials by age group want to see more such marketing. In surveys, most customers have specified they would pay slightly more for a product involved in a donation project through cause marketing, over other brands that were not a part of such an endeavor.
Becoming a Member of the Public
Rather than doubting the intent of cause marketing, the average person wants to see more public interest from the companies they do business with, and a third of those responding to surveys didn’t believe business did enough to meet global needs. In looking at such cause marketing campaigns this obviously isn’t the time to pull back on matching donations, or addressing public concerns. In looking at environmental issues, for example, a business will need to do more than merely address concerns about whether a product contributes to pollution risk. Companies who join with customers in donating to environmental causes are viewed as doing more. It gives the business more credibility. This is why such cause marketing is often referred to as ‘credibility marketing’.
Achieving a Goal
Seeing successes with charitable causes or social issues has an immediate effect on the public. Those who see a change for the better are less cynical or fearful of investing in the future, or spending in the present. It’s important to note that much of the public sees immediate success in one on one campaigns. In this kind of marketing when a consumer buys a product, someone in need of relief is given the same item by the company. This demonstrates that part of the attraction for cause marketing is that this is a more goal oriented philosophy.
Darrell Berg-Smith, CEO and founder of The Asian Regional Impact Initiative, http://asianregionalimpactinitiative.org is a professional speaker, author, consultant and social entrepreneur who specializes in advising on Cause Related Marketing programs and Corporate Social Responsibility to NGOs and companies worldwide.
Darrell is also the founder of the Doctors For Cambodia Initiative, http://asianregionalimpactinitiative.org/doctors-for-cambodia which provides scholarships and support funding to medical students through cause marketing mentors with medical professionals worldwide.
He is also the founder of The Asian Regional Cancer Initiative working to upgrade the level of cancer education, prevention and treatment in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. These initiatives maintain their sustainability by arranging cause marketing campaigns with doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals worldwide.