Marketing by appealing to or supporting a cause is on the rise. Why is this? Consumers are increasingly averse to marketing gimmicks and publicity stunts, and they want to find a true connection with the businesses they patronize.
But before just jumping on the bandwagon and finding a cause to support and insert into marketing materials, first take the time to identify whether or not cause marketing is the right fit. Not every business will be able to seamlessly integrate cause marketing. Remember, it’s worse to come across to consumers and ingenuine or inauthentic.
Is There an Appropriate Cause for Your Business?
Before going down the cause marketing path, make sure there is a way to align the business and its marketing message the right way.
Think of it this way: a business that has nothing to do with animals may find it difficult to find a way to align itself with a cause supporting animal rescue. Sure, animals are easy to connect with, but remember that not every connection is authentic. And in marketing, that authentic connection does matter.
Social Issues and Marketing
Social issues are another way to get into the current events conversation as a business. Take the example of Nike’s recent campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick gained notoriety for his refusal to stand during the National Anthem at games, instead electing to take a knee. His gesture was repeated by dozens of athletes across the league, much to the chagrin of some followers.
Nike took a risk by putting themselves right into the mix with a campaign featuring Kaepernick. But in this case, that gamble paid off. However, this won’t always be the case when a brand aligns itself with social causes.
For this reason, it’s important to properly weigh the risks and advantages of getting involved with social causes. Sure, some of these campaigns are likely to alienate some consumers. Is this risk worth the gain of new, loyal customers who relate to the messaging?
Don’t Forget the End Goal
Social causes and other “trendy” forms of marketing are effective and are great at gaining attention, but it’s still important not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember the end goals of the company’s marketing. Sometimes, this end goal will not align with the trendy marketing campaign. And that’s completely fine!
What’s important is that the marketing strategy helps bring the business closer to its goal. Be it an increase in revenue, an uptick in loyal customers, or simply just making a splash, there are many means to an end. Cause marketing is just one avenue, and it’s one that’s difficult to come back from if done incorrectly.
Before jumping into an expensive new campaign centered around a cause, be sure to weigh the benefits versus the costs and to ask how this campaign fits into the end goal. This may mean that the strong social cause that the team is picturing may not line up with the company’s goals.
However, it’s better to identify the risks and assess them ahead of time instead of losing customers over a poorly executed campaign that was only done in the name of being trendy.