It’s been proven time and time again that doing good is good business. DoSomething Strategic, a social impact consultancy, surveyed 1,908 of its members ages 13–25 about their awareness of various retail and consumer brands’ support of social causes, platforms and issues. The research found that 66% say that a brand’s association with a social cause positively influences their overall impression of the brand. Plus, 58% of these consumers say this association affects their likelihood of purchasing a brand’s products or services.
While the end goal of cause marketing should never be focused on increasing sales, it does have the power to raise the profile of your brand and improve customer loyalty, all while supporting worthy causes and instilling positive change.
With cause marketing, there are a few ground rules to follow to make it impactful. The following success stories showcase how brands can go beyond selling and support deserving causes and social issues. Implement the best practices to make sure your next cause marketing initiative takes off.
With a goal of making the holidays about more than buying and receiving expensive gifts, bourbon maker Makers Mark teamed up with One Warm Coat, a non-profit that distributes coats to those in need, for a do-good road trip in December 2015. The truck tour stopped in seven states, passed out 5,000 cups of hot chocolate and collected coats in person and funds via a text-to-donate service. This campaign combined several marketing elements to ensure success. A kick-off video, live tweeting throughout the tour and media pitching resulted in more than 40,000 new followers across Makers Mark social media pages, 59 million coverage impressions and support for 20,000 people in need.
With more than 7 million children dying each year from diseases that can be prevented through handwashing, Diversey, a leader in cleaning and hygiene solutions, identified a critical need for education and resources around hand hygiene in at-risk communities. Its Soap for Hope™ program collects leftover soap from hotels that would otherwise end up in landfills. Diversey then teaches local residents to reprocess the soap into new bars to eliminate waste and improve hygiene and health. Diversey frequently communicates about new hotels that have joined the program to maintain momentum in the media and has a dedicated Facebook page for Soap for Hope to share updates and photos. The company’s executive director for sustainability and CSR also frequently communicates about Soap for Hope at industry events and in interviews.
Boxed Water, which sells water in recyclable containers, 76% of which are made using paper from certified, sustainably managed forests, isn’t shy about its dedication to environmentalism. In 2017, the company partnered with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to implement a fundraising project that was closely aligned with its values. For every tweet mentioning #ReTree, Boxed Water committed to plant two trees. Typically, Twitter and texting campaigns like this result in a monetary donation for each mention, but Boxed Water made their commitment more tangible. Influencers were engaged to increase awareness around the importance of protecting forests. The campaign resulted in more than 600,000 trees planted and was a nice tie-in to Boxed Water’s commitment to plant 1 million trees by 2020. Replicate this initiative’s success by ensuring the campaign is relevant to your brand.
It’s not everyday you hear about a campaign with a lifespan longer than several years. Personal care brand Dove launched its Real Beauty campaign back in 2004 to celebrate and empower women, and it’s still going strong today. The award-winning campaign has showcased and supported women in a variety of different ways, including short films, print, television and billboard advertisements, as well as projects such as self-esteem workshops and one that solicits images to create the world’s largest stock photo library of “real beauty.” The campaign appeals to emotions that all women feel and focuses on positive messages while also providing resources and education to create generations of women who believe in real beauty. Rely on storytelling, use positive language and introduce fresh tactics to continuously evolve your long-term cause marketing campaigns.
Cause marketing has the power to humanize brands and build greater loyalty among customers and employees. With the above case studies serving as inspiration and offering cause marketing best practices, your organization can implement a program that gives back and increases awareness about an important issue. Remember that your campaign should be well-matched for your organization, promoted in various ways, such as through the use of video, social media (perhaps with the help of influencers) and even media tours, and go beyond just monetary donations.
Looking to promote your brand’s causes and values? Contact Mulberry to discuss how a communications program can showcase your initiatives and better engage your customers and employees.
Jess Messenger is an Account Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing PR campaign strategies and writing for B2B audiences across numerous verticals such as retail, foodservice and healthcare.