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
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
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.
Community Development Finance Authority Issues Public Relations RFP
Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR
Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.
Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions.
Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR.
Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities