April 22nd marks the 48th Earth Day celebration, which began as a protest to negative environmental impacts of industrial development. Today, Earth Day is a global event that an estimated 1 billion people in 192 countries take part in each year. It is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
Marketers and businesses have joined in on the festivities to show solidarity and support for Earth throughout the years and developing Earth Day campaigns have been a mainstay in marketing departments across nearly every industry. The world’s strongest brands throw their hats in the cause marketing ring on Earth Day with campaigns that get creative and show their love for Mother Earth, check out some samples from Earth Day 2017:
Earth Day is not the only time of year to explore cause marketing. I’m sure you’ll remember these examples of cause marketing that have caught the attention of the masses (and consequently made a tremendous impact):
- Stella Artois Fresh Water Initiative
- American Express Small Business Saturday
- Walgreens Red Nose Day
- Susan G. Komen Foundation Pink Ribbon Campaign
Earth Day is a perfect time to reflect on what your company’s cause marketing initiative looks like (or should look like) and assess why it matters.
What is cause marketing anyway?
Cause marketing is any effort a private business initiates to give back to a charitable cause. A successful cause marketing initiative results in a winning proposition for the nonprofit group or cause you are supporting, the community as well as your business.
Why does cause marketing matter?
Now more than ever, cause marketing has graduated to a necessity from one of those “nice-to-have” marketing efforts that were once optional. While millennials have led the charge to bring cause marketing to the forefront, cause marketing has expanded to a broader range of consumers in all demographics and age groups. In fact, a recent Cone Cause Evolution survey reports that 87 percent of consumer say they will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and, an amazing 76 percent would refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
How can I win at cause marketing?
Succeeding at cause marketing requires, in many ways, a leap of faith. However, increasingly marketers are seeing cause marketing that is planned, well-executed and measured can build social consciousness and translate into brand building machines and ultimately revenue. Follow these best practices, and your cause marketing effort is more likely to succeed:
- Find a synergy with your product or service. Make sure the cause you choose should have an easy-to-follow connection with your product or service.
An important aside about synergy: It’s also important to be truly committed to your support for the cause you choose. It’s easy to change your logo to pink during breast cancer awareness month. This type of shallow effort, however, can backfire on your brand. A similar example occurred when brands seemingly tried to “capitalize” on celebrity deaths such as Prince and David Bowie that turned into ads, not heartfelt sentiments.
- Take the long view. A one-shot marketing campaign is unlikely to bring the results you seek. A long-term commitment is what will be required to make your effort viable.
- Walk-the-walk internally. Baking cause marketing into your organization’s DNA can have many unintended, positive effects. Your employees can be your cause’s biggest champions, amplifying the message as well as creating an opportunity to strengthen your internal culture and team comradery.
- Promote every chance you can. Don’t forget to toot your own horn at every chance you can. From press initiatives to designated areas of your website to transactional communications with existing customers – there are many opportunities to reinforce your company’s social cause.
A well-thought-out, strategic cause marketing initiative can have the effect of bringing a lift to profit goals as well as attracting new customer demographics and increasing brand equity.
As we celebrate the 2018 Earth Day, it is the perfect time to spend a few moments reflecting on the potential of implementing a solid cause marketing strategy. Because above all things marketing, you can make a difference too. Happy Earth Day!
Get started on your cause marketing strategy today. Contact me to explore!