The planet and everyone living on it faces many challenges. Governments do a lot to uplift communities with needs, and non-government organizations fill in quite a few gaps as well.
Still, the challenges faced everywhere are bigger than everything NGOs and governments can throw at it. More is needed, and the growth of corporate social responsibility in the last generation has risen as a potential answer.
The time has come for businesses to embrace how essential cause marketing is. Three-quarters of consumers support businesses supporting social causes, while even more prefer buying from companies who support the environment.
Cause marketing isn’t just charitable donations. While those are still very beneficial actions, cause marketing isn’t like philanthropic giving because it’s more about partnerships. These partnerships link non-profits with private organizations for mutual benefit.
Any company looking to embrace cause marketing needs to look for charitable causes that align well with its brand. Strategic analysis can find charities and causes that match what a business does. Food sellers might look into sustainability, charities for farmers, or support for free trade.
Cause marketing also can’t be just something that a brand throws money at. A company is likely to have expertise, knowledge, and resources that non-profits never will. Leveraging the influence of robust consumer followings and efficient means of producing things can possibly open up new avenues for a cause that they couldn’t have ever done otherwise. An annual dinner throws a nice bone, but investing actual payroll hours into projects is more meaningful.
Businesses looking to get into cause marketing need to account for the interests and wishes of three different groups of people. Their interests might overlap, but how much they overlap can vary quite a bit.
First of all, a brand has to know where the priorities of its consumers are. Catering to them can lead to more sales and brand loyalty, but turning them off can also ruin a reputation.
Second, a business needs to know what its own employees believe in if it wants to be an employment destination of happy workers passionate about what they do.
Third, a business must cater to its shareholders and owners, whoever they might be. This might not be as hard to do with publicly traded companies, however, since ownership can be fluid.