In this culture of consumerism, everyone strives for the latest and greatest. Yet a common side-effect of the constant swirl of societal “gimmees” is a trembling conscience. The ingenious recognition of this has inspired brands to launch cause marketing campaigns.

Typically a partnership between “for-profit” businesses and non-profit organizations, cause marketing kills two birds with one stone. Simultaneously making money and supporting a good cause is beneficial for all involved – even the consumer, who walks away with a pat on the back and a skip in their step.

In fact, a recent study found that a “growing number of consumers considered ‘social purpose’ the leading purchase driver when quality and price were equal.” That means you will instantly have an advantage over your competition if you are offering consumers the opportunity to contribute to a good cause. The evolution of “socially conscious consumers” is only becoming more prevalent as our knowledge and access allows for increased insight into all that our world lacks.

According to a global survey conducted by Nielson, the top three causes that consumers are most willing to support are:

  1. Ensuring environmental sustainability
  2. Eradicating poverty and hunger
  3. Improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training and education

56% of U.S. Internet users have purchased a product specifically because it supported a cause. Although skeptical consumers have long been vocal on the distrust of corporations making money by doing good deeds, 76% of users say they don’t mind that brands are also profiting from cause marketing. This realization likely comes at the expense of the alternative: it’s better to do something than nothing.

Copious big brands have found success through cause marketing efforts. When forming and launching a campaign of your own, purpose, voice and relevance should be top-of-mind.

Your purpose – or the reason behind the partnership and campaign – should be obvious and the voice of your brand should stay consistent. You are appealing not only to a new audience, but largely to your existing customers as well. Loyalty is encouraged by authenticity, and your cause should convey your company ideals. Who is your target audience? What about your campaign will inspire them? This is also where relevance comes in, as customers are more invested in certain topics during different times and phases of life.

Campbell’s recent campaign with Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity, is an excellent example of all of the above. As a beloved food brand, Campbell’s chose a cause close to home – that of poverty and hunger in the U.S. – and vowed to donate $1 (up to $10,000) for every share/repin of their Green Bean Casserole recipe on Pinterest. This was a smart campaign because food is the most popular category on the social network, and the recipe used Campbell products, further increasing product awareness and purchases while helping a good cause. It was also during the month of Thanksgiving, making food and sharing of the utmost relevance. They reached their goal, as shown below:


Do you have any examples of successful cause marketing campaigns? Share them with us in the comments!

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