In recent years, brand accountability and transparency have become more important than ever, especially as people begin to associate the brands they rely on with their own identity and ethics. There has also been a sharp increase in “cause marketing,” which involves campaigns designed to both use your platform for good for the community and increase profitability.
In the past year especially, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the call for racial justice through protests and other efforts worldwide, people want to feel they are making a difference wherever they can. Statistics are proving again and again that this drive to make a difference extends to the brands and companies they choose:
- 85% of Americans expect companies to help address racial inequality — up from 81% in 2018. Porter-Novelli 2020 COVID-19 Tracker
- 68% of respondents said they want brands to donate to programs that provide direct support for medical workers. SheerID 2020
- 53% feel “purpose-driven” companies have fared better during the coronavirus pandemic. Porter-Novelli 2020
- Close to seven in 10 consumers surveyed (69% globally, 67% in the U.S.) listed societal-focused concerns as to why trusting a brand they buy is important. 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report
- The number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause has climbed to 87%. Cone Cause Evolution Survey
People are looking for companies that bring them value by connecting with their own values. Cause marketing can give you an edge over competitors who might not be using their platform to do good.
Why Cause Marketing Works
- Amplify your impact. Not only does cause marketing give you a chance to make a difference in an area that interests you, it also allows you to multiply that impact by giving others a platform for their own generosity. Create a new product to bring awareness to the cause, select an existing product to raise money through a portion of the proceeds, or simply create a place on your website where someone might be able to make a donation. People will be grateful that you’re making a difference and they get to be a part of it.
- Increase community presence. There’s strength in numbers, and that’s especially true when it comes to creating change. Partnering with a local nonprofit to create volunteer opportunities, teaming up with another company to host an event, or picking a local charity to receive a portion of the event proceeds adds momentum to the cause and helps to get your brand in front of more people.
- Gain audience trust. Before they become customers, your audience members first need to trust you. Just like a trustworthy person, a trustworthy brand is one that practices consistency, reliability, transparency and accountability. There have been countless articles written and surveys conducted on how to build consumer trust, and for good reason. Audiences want to be able to trust your product, your voice and your team to show up and deliver. One of the most rewarding ways of doing that is to make a difference for a cause they care about.
- Increase employee retention. According to a June 2018 Forbes article, many employees are more likely to feel fulfilled at work — and therefore more likely to stay — if they feel they are working with a sense of purpose. Having a higher purpose and making a difference count for much more than some employers realize when it comes to motivating your team. Creating a reputation of compassion and action is also likely to draw potential employees who are just as excited and determined as you are to work for the cause.
Remember, audiences can tell when brands aren’t being genuine. Choose a cause you truly care about and let people know. Not only will your audience respond, but you will feel more inspired and excited to do a bit more good in the world.