For more than half of American consumers (58%), brand activism has an impact on their impression of a brand, as well as their purchasing behavior. In other words, when a shopper cares about what a brand has to say about social issues, their decision to purchase can come down to the brand’s willingness to take a stance.
✅ Trust and Brand action are more likely to command a premium over Brand Image. Even more surprising, customers believe the good a brand does in the world is nearly as important as previously “earned trust” when making a buying decision. The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer (The Cycle of Distrust)
Say a shopper sees two product listings for a toothbrush on Amazon. One toothbrush is environmentally friendly, while the other is not. There’s a good chance that the customer will purchase the eco-friendly toothbrush because they care that their dollars are going toward a brand that promotes sustainability. Offering green products can increase your buyer pool and fill it with other people who also care for the environment — a win-win!
Recently, Unilever announced that its purpose-led, Sustainable Living Brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivering 75% of the company’s growth. “We believe the evidence is clear and compelling that brands with purpose grow. Purpose creates relevance for a brand, it drives talkability, builds penetration and reduces price elasticity. In fact, we believe this so strongly that we are prepared to commit that in the future, every Unilever brand will be a brand with purpose.” – Unilever CEO Alan Jope at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference in Paris.
Mission or Cost: What’s More Important?
One of the most impactful ways consumers have taken action on climate change in recent years is through buying power. Many are willing to spend more money for sustainability, and 78% say they expect brands to be doing their part for the environment. Right now, however, inflation has consumers highly concerned with cost as well (a staggering 72% say inflation has affected their family’s spending). So when it comes to the decision to click that buy button, which is more important: eco-friendliness or low price?
The answer is that competitive prices and commitment to sustainability both rank among consumers’ **top 5 reasons** for choosing to buy from a specific brand. On top of that, the secondhand market has found a spotlight amid shoppers’ desire to prioritize saving the planet and saving money.
Purpose-Driven brands deliver value in quality products and unbeatable support but go a step deeper by wanting to connect with people in more meaningful ways, to form more valuable relationships based on a shared mission and values bigger than the product or even the brand itself.
How to Activate & Amplify Your Brand’s Activism Efforts
Building a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign
A successful cause marketing campaign can bring many benefits, from generating new leads to creating loyalty and trust among your customers. Done properly, cause marketing will help both your business and your nonprofit partner. It’s important to make a strategic marketing plan before launching your campaign to ensure that you are maximizing impact and sales.
Identify your cause
A cause marketing campaign should reflect the values of your company and your customers. While there are examples of successful partnerships between organizations with nothing obvious in common, cause marketing will come off as more genuine if the cause is related to your brand in some way. Knowing your audience and constructing a campaign around their values will not only help the nonprofit you are involved with but will also increase loyalty to your brand.
Additionally, your employees will be more willing to participate if it’s something they believe in. Their passion will show through their work, enhancing the outcomes for the nonprofit.
- What kinds and how many consumers are likely to care about our company’s level and type of activism?
- What relevant cause(s) are more consistent with our brand DNA and core values?
- Will consumers believe that our company authentically and passionately believes in the cause(s) we support?
- What actions can we take to support the cause(s) and show our stance on the issue?
- Will the cost of implementation require us to raise our prices? Will our consumers be willing to pay a little more?
- Does the governance structure and executive leadership understand how and why brand activism makes a difference?
Determine your contribution
Monetary contributions aren’t the only way companies can help a cause. Often money isn’t enough to convince consumers, and monetary gifts can seem disingenuous or even lazy. Furthermore, many small businesses might not have the budget to write a large check. Luckily, businesses and marketing departments have more to offer than just money.
- Video services for charity functions
- Direct mail campaigns
- Email marketing campaigns
- Event planning
- Photography for social media
- Advertising campaign ideas
- Copywriting for print and social media
- Donations of products and services
- Volunteer groups from your company
These services can help form a strong association between your products and your company’s nonprofit work.
However, even monetary support can be funded in a variety of ways. For example, your company could create a promotion that donates a certain amount to a nonprofit for every sale you make on a specific product or service.
Involve your audience
Your audience can be a driving force in your cause marketing campaign if you let them. By using social media or creating a custom-built landing page, you can motivate your audience to participate in many ways.
- Donating to the cause
- Sharing your social media posts to spread awareness
- Interacting with your nonprofit partners
- Participating in an event
Using customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you pursue the right audience for your cause marketing while raising awareness for your nonprofit partners. It can also help ensure you follow up and create personalized messages of gratitude and appreciation. Making your audience feel involved will give them a sense of responsibility—as 96% of people feel their own actions can make a difference. Messaging and outreach that validates these feelings can be a great way to drive engagement.
Co-promote with a nonprofit
The campaign will likely get more traction if both you and your nonprofit partner are promoting it.
- Tag each other in social media posts.
- Announce your affiliation in a newsletter.
- Send a joint press release to news outlets.
- Write blog posts about the experience.
- Use each other’s logos in marketing campaigns.
Some of the most successful cause marketing campaigns developed omnichannel marketing strategies to increase awareness and exposure. Marketing automation can help you strategize by freeing you of the repetitive tasks of posting to social media or sending emails.
One solution businesses are pursuing is cause marketing. Cause marketing involves a collaboration between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization for a common benefit. Cause marketing can also refer to social or charitable campaigns put on by for-profit brands.
Typically, a brand’s association with a nonprofit will boost its corporate social responsibility. The nonprofit, in exchange for their ethical contributions to the collaboration, create more awareness for their organization.
As new generations bring in new values, businesses must learn to pivot their strategies in order to keep up. Businesses that care about sustainability and ethics are at the top of consumers’ lists, and cause marketing can help bring a business’s social responsibility to their customers’ attention.