A generation ago advertising was all about being professional and polished. I remember seeing TV ads for Prudential Insurance with its signature image of the Rock of Gibraltar and the tagline “Own a piece of the rock.” Prudential was just doing what every other insurance company was doing. All the ads were about appearing steady, solid and trusted. Being boring was a good thing–and expected from customers who wanted rock-solid companies.
These days, insurance ads have ditched rocks in favor of geckos, talking ducks, catchy songs, memes and lovable characters like Flo. There was no sign of the “rock” in the last Prudential ad I saw. But it did have these 30-foot tall dominos they knocked over to show how your money can grow over time. Cool!
Regardless of your industry or field, personality is the new professionalism. People want things that are interesting and human. The same goes for your cause marketing. Personality matters. Let’s start with two of the basics: humor and passion.
Your cause marketing doesn’t always have to be so serious. Yes, appeals featuring sadness and anger work, but so do fun and humor. Heck, the success of Movember has been due in large part to the fun nature of the campaign–using mustaches to educate people about a serious health issue.
NEED SOME INSPIRATION?
A couple of years ago at the Cause Marketing Forum Conference, the founder and president of CMF, David Hessekiel, challenged me to entertain conference attendees with humorous examples of cause marketing. The speech was a hit, and we all learned an important lesson that day: we don’t always have to take ourselves or our campaigns so seriously.
Passion is the missing ingredient in most cause marketing campaigns. Too many people and organizations are just going through the motions and aren’t passionate about the cause or its mission.
But where there is no passion there is no money.
They could learn a lot from Oregon-based Dave’s Killer Bread. Dave’s baked passion in right from the start. The bread company’s founder, Dave Dahl, spent 15 years in prison before founding the brand, which has grown to over $50 million in sales and employs 300 people.
Dave never forgot where he came from and the chance he got to go straight. That’s why 30% of Dave’s employees have criminal backgrounds. Eager for other companies to adopt their smart and compassionate practices, Dave’s hosts an annual Second Chance Summit for local companies. Nationally, Dave’s is creating a Second Chance Playbook to share with businesses.
Backed by its passion for “second chances,” Dave’s cause marketing includes promotion on bread packaging and may in the future offer a percentage-of-sales program to fund the new Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation. Dave’s has accomplished great things and their cause marketing is sure to be a hit. As a bread company, they know that the right ingredients matter. That’s why they started with passion.
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