The latest downturn in the economy may have companies questioning their spending on causemarketing. However, companies that align with causes can be very successful – even in inchallenging economic times.
In the “age of responsibility” your corporation’s values are more important than ever and cause marketing programs are a way of amplifying these values and benefiting the bottom line.
Here are 10 reasons to initiate or continue cause marketing in a down economy (excerpted from an article by Massachusetts-based Causemedia).
In 2003, a Cause Evolution Study found that 87 percent of Americans would switch fromtheir current brand to one associated with a good cause if price and quality are similar.
Five years later, Duke Universitys Behavioral Cause Study verified this finding. In the study,182 consumers were exposed to cause-related and traditional corporate print ads for oneof four brands in a regional magazine, then were sent to shop in a mock store featuring 150products. The result: Consumers bought brands associated with causes. A shampoo brandwith a cause marketing ad saw a 74 percent increase in sales while a toothpaste brand experienced a28 percent lift.
The bottom line: cause-related marketing helps drive sales while creating good publicrelations for your company.
2. Differentiate from Competitors.
Strategic business partnerships between corporations and non-profitsprovide a positive ROI for the business andraisemoney and visibility for the cause.
3. Re-Build Trust.
Bailouts, CEO golden parachutes, corporate greed and scandals continue to be headlines. Cause programscan help re-build your corporation’s brand image and help re-establish trust among your employees and external stakeholders.
4.Make meaningful connections.
Cause marketing is an opportunity to link your brand to the wants, needs, lifestyle and interests of yourstakeholders. Doing so will help you connect with them in a way no other marketingtactic can.
5. Beaccountable to consumers.
A Snider, Hill & Martin Study (2003) found that 82 percent of respondents believe thatfirms should engage in social initiatives, while 76 percent believe these initiatives wouldbenefit not only society but also the firm. These findings were confirmed in the Cone CauseEvolution Study (2007), which reported that 83 percent of Americans believe companieshave a responsibility to support social causes, and 92 percent value companies thatpositively impact social issues more than those who do not.
6.Improve employee recruitment and retention.
In 2007, Harris Interactive found that 87 percent of college students want to work forcompanies that support charitable causes. That trend isnt just among Millennials.A 2004 Deloitte Touche Study found 72 percent of all employees in the U.S. want to work for companies that support charitable causes.
Your company can leverage the power of motivated, passionate employees for profitablegrowth and employee recruitment, retention and productivity.
7. Increase employee engagement.
Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of volunteerism not just for the cause or nonprofit but for developing superior leadership skills andencouraging cross-function teamwork among employees. Like your consumers, youremployees are also looking for meaningful connections.
8. Help your employees become brand evangelists.
Your employees can be your brands best spokespersons and boosters, and cause marketingcan help your workforce become more engaged in the business. The result: Youremployees work for you not because they have to, but because they want to.This is especially true with larger retailers that have historically have high turnover rates.
9. Benefit from positive ROI
Proctor & Gamble has practiced cause marketing for decades, executing both brand specific andcorporate-wide programs here and abroad.P&G would not continue supporting and increasing cause marketing efforts if thereturns did not perform at least as well as their other efforts.
10. Make an authentic contribution to the community.
Communities will reward thebrand heroes that made a true connection with them and cause marketing iswin-win tactic for the corporation and the social cause or non-profit. The cash infusion fromcorporations into the non-profit sector is critical, especially today given continued cut-backsin public sector contributions, and an anticipated drop in private sector contributions.