Cause marketing is quite a young term in the business world. Despite this, it’s becoming more and more popular. The starting point of this type of marketing was in the early 1980s and it caught on a national level. Then, American Express sealed a partnership with a nonprofit group that wanted to restore the Statue of Liberty.
What Is Cause Marketing?
It is usually defined as a certain type of corporate social responsibility. In this case, the promotional campaign of a company gains two purposes: it wants to increase their profitability, but also to make a better society. Think of the moment when you reach a checkout counter and they ask you to support a cause and offer a charitable donation. This is one of the instances of cause marketing.
How Does It Work?
There are many ways in which this type of cause marketing can work. The company that agrees to it hopes to get more profit by selling more products. There is also the “halo” effect of associating them with a certain non-profit or cause.
Keep in mind that it’s not a low-key donation, but a public association. Through this, the corporation lets the customers know that they are interested in defending the same causes. Here you have a couple of types of cause marketing which you may have seen until now but didn’t know they belonged to this category:
1. Product Sales
Special products go for sale in various shops. From their price, a certain percentage will go to the non-profit organization or for supporting the cause in a different manner. The products can be branded in a certain way or not.
2. Purchase Plus
This strategy is also called a “point of purchase”. Most of the time, people adopt it at the checkout lines of various grocery stores or other retail ones. The idea here is that customers can add a donation to their bill after they’re done shopping. The store is the one to process the money and to give it to the nonprofit.
3. Licensing the Logo, Brand, and Assets
If a company licenses their logo, brand, and assets, they become available for a wider array of products. They can be some extensions of the mission or promotional items (mugs, T-shirts, credit cards etc.). Most likely you have seen lots of such products wearing the name and logo of the American Heart Association of Save the Children, to mention only a few.
4. Events and Programs
Lots of events and programs you see are co-branded. Among these, you can find walks, runs or other types of activities. Usually, they help raise awareness or funds for the cause.
5. Social/Public Service Marketing Programs
The last example of a cause marketing activity is the social program. They aim to change certain behaviors in a particular audience. For this reason, they make use of various marketing principles and techniques.
Cause marketing is not hard to apply once you understand it. However, you must keep in mind that you should be true to your cause. Usually, your audience can tell if you’re just doing it for publicity or profit, and you don’t want to appear fake in front of them.
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