Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Essentials of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a public relations method in which brands and companies form partnership programs with not-for-profit organizations.  These partnership programs are designed to support the work of not-for profit cause-oriented organizations.

Such actions may be perceived by customers and the public as "altruistic" gestures supporting the common good. Hence, the public relations or reputation building value of cause marketing programs.

Reading the contemporary press and sources such as Wikipedia gives the impression cause marketing is a recent practice.  It is not. Cause marketing has often been seen in times of social or economic stress, and when brands seek new means of competitive differentiation.

Here's an example of a commonly seen cause marketing effort during the WWI era.

This recent Guinness commercial is particularly instructive about the design of effective cause marketing programs.

In this commercial, you can easily see how the cause relates to the core values of the brand. These values are encompassed by the brand's long-standing claim, "Good things come to those who wait." Indeed, in contrast to other more superficial brands in this product category, the core values of the Guinness brand reflect mindfulness, consideration, and appreciation.

That is the key to success in cause marketing. Productivity is based on the extent of shared core values among the brand, the cause, and the consumer.

This conceptual model lays out the basis for what I call my Index of Cause Marketing Potential. Brands are urged to associate themselves with productive social values to more effectively and usefully participate in the civic and social environment which is served by the economy.

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