By Rebecca Chappell, Account Executive
Last week I attended the 14th Annual Cause Conference, the West Coast’s largest cause partnership event featuring experts in cause marketing, nonprofit resource development, community relations, new media technology and corporate social responsibility.
The term ‘cause marketing’ refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization. In the equation, the business benefits by fulfilling its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) while the nonprofit benefits from direct financial support and increased visibility for its cause.
Consider the annual ‘Save Lids to Save Lives’ program initiated by Yoplait and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Launched 13 years ago, the partnership has since raised $30 million for breast cancer outreach programs across the country. Overlooking Komen’s recent troubles in the press, what has contributed to the longstanding success of the Save Lids campaign? A white paper recently published by Incite, a company that presented at the Cause Conference, examines Six Pillars of Effective Cause Marketing:
1. The Cause Must Align With Your Brand
For your cause marketing campaign to be successful, you must ensure the mission of the cause or your nonprofit partner properly aligns with your brand’s mission. Komen champions women’s breast health, Yoplait supports a healthy lifestyle. Voila!
2. Find Your Voice
Ensure your cause marketing efforts reflect the tone and voice of your overall brand and that messages are shared with your consumers in a way they like to receive information. Be careful to avoid cognitive dissonance.
3. Be Transparent and Authentic
Tell your consumers exactly how your cause marketing partnership works. How much money will the nonprofit receive? How will the sponsor donate? How can the consumer act?
4. Be Relevant and Intentional
Connect emotionally with your consumers and consistently engage them. This might include featuring the stories of individuals who benefit from your campaign on your website or social media channels.
5. Reach People Where They Are
Understand when and where your target audience will be most receptive to receive your cause marketing message. For example, is your demographic likely to attend sports events, reside in a senior living facility or eat healthy foods such as yogurt? Take your message to your audience.
6. Measure Success with Strong Calls to Action
Before your cause marketing campaign launches, define what success will look like. Use a hard number versus a goal like ‘to drive awareness.’ Do you want 10,000 new donors? 2,000 new email subscribers? And don’t forget to report the success of your campaign to educate and ‘close the cause marketing loop’ for your consumers.
(W)right On’s nonprofit clients will agree: doing good business is just good business. If you’re a business owner looking for a cause to represent, just look to your own values and follow your heart!