Consumers can smell disingenuous cause marketing a mile away. In the age of social media, they also have tools to broadcast their reactions with their entire social network at warp speed.
Use these tips to prevent perceived pinkwashing or greenwashing, and encourage your consumers to get excited about your next campaign.
HAVE A GOAL.
If your employees can’t clearly explain the point of your cause marketing initiative, rethink your strategy. Do you want to engender brand loyalty? If so, how will you get there? What will determine success? Once you’ve mapped out clear goals—think: What’s the point?—share them with your team. Get input from employees outside of the marketing department. Be sure to check in with your social media team. Refine your strategy, and go from there.
MATCH YOUR CAUSE WITH YOUR BRAND.
There has to be a legitimate connection between your brand and the cause campaign, or, put simply, consumers simply won’t buy it. The level of authenticity showcases how your company demonstrates the inherent value in a cause or social responsibility program.
Given the explosion of cause marketing product tie-ins in the last few years, it’s no longer enough to merely state that a portion of proceeds will go to benefit a certain cause – you have to disclose how much, how it will be delivered and over what time frame. Both your company and the cause partner need to be very upfront about the nature of your partnership.
GIVE AN ADDED VALUE.
When price and quality are equal, an overwhelming number of consumers (80%) will buy cause-related products over those that don’t have a charitable element. Cause promotion is a key factor at time of purchase, however alignment with a cause is no longer a unique selling point. Consumers still want product value for their money. How you differentiate your cause tie-in through real product value will make all the difference.
This advice and more is featured in our eGuide Cause Marketing through Social Media: 5 Steps to Successful Online Campaigns.
Allison McGuire and Kate Olsen are, respectively, the Marketing Associate and VP of Strategic Projects at Network for Good. Network for Good works with companies to help refine a cause strategy perfectly suited to business and philanthropic goals and implement effective cause initiatives powered by our proven donation platform. We also help nonprofits raise funds for their missions through simple, affordable and effective online fundraising services and training.
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