As you may know, corporate strategies including cause marketing, social good and corporate social responsibility are relatively new in the scheme of things. For example, the term “cause-related marketing” is attributed to the 1983 American Express Statue of Liberty Restoration project. Companies and causes are still chomping at the bit for hard evidence linking these types of strategies to return on investment (ROI) in order to justify approval of precious resources. The following two reports can be added to your strategic cause partnership ROI arsenal. Each makes a business case for social investment, one in the form of 4 specific experiments and the other in the form of a handy and attractive infographic. Use these to your advantage when pitching strategic cause partnerships!
DOING WELL BY DOING GOOD: THE BENEVOLENT HALO OF SOCIAL GOODWILL
by Sean Blair and Alexander Chernev, 2012
The full Doing Well by Doing Good: The Benevolent Halo of Social Goodwill Report Summary goes into a bit more detail, or you can order the Full Report there for a mere $18. Here is a snapshot of key take-aways (“summary of the summary”):
- Intro: “…evidence that a firm’s pro-social activities can have a significant impact not only on consumers’ goodwill toward the firm’s brand, but also on their beliefs about the firm’s products. They test their predictions in a series of four empirical studies.”
- Experiment #1 Key Findings:
- A product is perceived to perform better when it is made by a socially responsible firm.
- “This effect is a function of expertise, such that social goodwill is more likely to influence product perceptions …for experts.”
- Experiment #2 Key Findings:
- This positive effect is a function of consumers’ mindset. An abstract mindset “facilitates creation of higher level associations that relate consumers’ positive impressions of the company to their product beliefs.”
- When perceived by a “concrete mindset,” a company’s investment in social goodwill did not affect consumer decisions.
- Experiment #3 Key Findings:
- “The positive impact of social goodwill is greatest when it is unrelated to the product (as in the case of monetary contributions to socially responsible causes) than when it is related to the product (as in the case of investments in socially responsible technologies).
- “Consumers’ expectations of superior performance translated into greater willingness to pay.”
- Experiment #4 Key Findings: “The benevolent halo effect is a function of consumer beliefs about a firm’s motivation.”
- Managerial Implications:
- Social investment -> perception of superior product performance -> increased sales: “These results show that investing in socially responsible causes not only creates goodwill toward the company but also bolsters consumer perceptions of the performance of company products, meaning that doing good can actually translate in doing well.”
- This one is close to my heart in that it is about the importance of appropriately marketing the cause connection: “…rather than encouraging consumers to think of a product as being environmentally friendly, managers might encourage consumers to focus on the firm’s environmentally friendly image, reflected in its decision to make an environmentally friendly product.”
CSR: THE BUSINESS CASE
By The Case Foundation
And, for item number two…a picture’s worth a thousand words! This picture [infographic] is brought to you by The Case Foundation:
With these two resources in your cause partnership pitching arsenal, you should be able to make a strong case for return on investment to your next prospective partner…assuming you are practicing other wise cause marketing best practices!
If you made it this far in the post, then you OBVIOUSLY like handy & attractive infographics. Therefore, you should definitely check out For Momentum’s Cause Marketing Park infographic. It was designed to help demystifying confusing cause marketing industry terminology. And you can also use our Full Cause Marketing Glossary as a handy reference tool on your path to strategic cause partnership success. All the best to you!