How to Integrate Cause Marketing for Your Brand



Cause marketing is not just a philanthropic ploy — it can create authentic engagement with your consumer base and lead to more sales for your company.


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Cause marketing isn’t just a nice thing to do for the world — it’s a smart thing to do for your business. If you’ve been thinking about cause marketing as a soft campaign that serious companies don’t invest in, think again.

Cause marketing has direct effects on your income, stability, and growth. In fact, cause marketing may be a misnomer. The strategies utilized for effective cause marketing are integrated throughout a business, not just in the marketing department.

What is Cause Marketing?

The simplest definition of cause marketing is this: a program designed by a business or an organization to do something good for the community, world, environment, or other cause. However, it might be more helpful to define cause marketing by what it is not:

  • It is not philanthropy. Among the most common misconceptions about cause marketing is that it is as simple as a business giving money to a good cause in an act of altruism. In fact, cause marketing is much more complicated than that, and it is far from solely motivated by altruism.
  • It is not a campaign. Cause marketing is not a single campaign designed to draw attention for a week or a season. It is integral to a company’s business plan.
  • It is not a dedication for general charity. Effective cause marketing chooses a very specific cause that is in line with something that the business is related to. It makes a logical connection between the business and the cause.

What are the benefits of Cause Marketing?

  • Create shareable content. If you want your consumers to care about and share your content, you have to earn the right to share it. A cause marketing campaign is a powerful way to market a meaningful cause and your business simultaneously.
  • Meet younger consumer expectations. 81% of millennials expect the companies they support to make contributions to charity.
  • Grow consumer trust. When consumers believe that a brand is strongly aligned with a purpose, they are over four times more likely to trust them.
  • Increase earnings. Brands that consumers believe are making the world a better place have had their wallet share multiply by 9.
  • Attract consumers. Two-thirds of consumers want brands to take a stand on political and social issues. Being one of those brands makes you more likely to attract 2/3 of the consumer base.

How can I Integrate Cause Marketing into my Plan?

If you would like to take advantage of cause marketing, here are some steps to integrate cause marketing into your business model:

1. Find Your Story

We make sense of the world through stories. Brands are quickly realizing the value of integrating storytelling into their marketing campaigns. If you want your cause marketing to pay off, it must be integral to your story.

  • Example: TOMS Shoes: Integrating story and cause
  • TOMS founded their company on the principle of giving a shoe to a child who needed one for every shoe that they sold, called “One for One.” They effectively created a compelling connection between wearing TOMS shoes and providing shoes for somebody who needs them.

    This story was integrated throughout their business model from the beginning. The cost of the shoe that was given away was built into the cost of the one that was sold. This has allowed TOMS to grow without having to alter their campaign.

    2. Identify your Customer Base

    For your cause marketing campaign to be successful, you need to know your customer base. Not every cause will be as meaningful to every consumer, so you will want to choose a cause that is both in line with your business identity and the values of your customer base.

  • Example: Chobani: Understanding your market
  • Chobani made a connection with American values by showing a commitment to military families and Veterans with their Operation Homefront program. They are intimately tied to this not-for-profit with a presence in every state of Continental America. They’ve raised $1 million for America’s military families through their campaign. Military marking on some of their yogurt shows their commitment to this campaign.

    3. Engage Your Consumers on Social Media

    A good cause marketing campaign sells itself through organic marketing on social media. People like to share news about things that matter to them and show off how they’re supporting a cause that matters.

  • Example: Starbucks Red: Engage consumers with a cause
  • Starbucks created a visible way for consumers to share support for the cause and for Starbucks by proxy. Their Red Campaign utilizes red cups and other products that stand for a contribution to supporting the fight against AIDS in Africa. Starbucks is connected to Africa because so many of their coffee beans come from this area. Consumers share pictures on social media of the Starbucks Red Cups, which allows the Red Campaign to generate organic marketing on social media throughout their consumer base.

    Can Cause Marketing Make a Difference?

    Cause marketing is a powerful way to make a difference for your business and for the world. Marketing isn’t just a way to get your business ahead — it can make a real difference in the world in ways you may not expect. If you want your business to grow, commit to developing a company that will make a difference in the world as it grows.

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