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With the last quarter of the year upon us, companies are pulling out all the stops to achieve a winning 2017. For retailers and brands, the stakes are especially high, as the holiday season can make or break the entire financial year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were developed to jumpstart the year-end sales period and take advantage of the nation’s gift-giving mood. Likewise, #GivingTuesday was created in 2012 to redirect consumer focus to giving to causes in need of support. The date falls right after Cyber Monday.
Partnering with organizations such as #GivingTuesday and other causes has become a fashionable marketing practice to build brand equity. There are dozens of company examples that show it works, from Coca-Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to Walmart’s support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Consumers also appear to have embraced cause marketing. A Nielsen Global online survey found that 56% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from brands and companies that demonstrate a commitment to social value, and 53% said they’d pay more for a product because of a company’s community commitment.
There are several ways that cause marketing can help build a brand:
It reinforces brand story.
Brand marketers spend a lot of time understanding what their brand stands for and how it is perceived by consumers. Cause marketing can add richness to the brand story and help customers connect with the brand in new ways. In addition, cause marketing can help companies distinguish themselves from their competition.
Perhaps one of the best-known cause marketers is TOMS. The company’s “One for One” mission gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair sold. The mission is evident in all of TOMS’ marketing and differentiates the company from competitors in the shoe and accessories market.
It helps companies connect with customers.
Consumers are looking for companies and brands that share their passions. A Cone Communications study found that 85% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a cause. The number is even higher for millennial consumers.
By involving consumers in a cause, marketers can build strong bonds that facilitate customer loyalty.
It helps retain and recruit employees.
As the economy nears full employment, it’s imperative that companies keep current employees engaged and provide a clear reason for future employees to consider a career with the company.
According to Project ROI, an effective corporate social responsibility program can increase employee engagement up to 7.5%, increase employee productivity by 13%, reduce employee turnover by 50% and increase revenue by up to 20%.
A culture of giving is especially appealing to millennials. (You can learn about some fundraising ideas, here and here.) According to the Cone study, 56% of millennials are likely to refuse to work for a company that is not socially or environmentally responsible and 66% will recommend products or services if a company is known to be charitable.
It helps build community bonds.
Good community relations are very important to companies interested in supporting the areas in which they operate. Having positive relations with the community can pave the way to fast approvals for new locations and aid other initiatives. Cause marketing is a powerful way for companies to show their support for missions important to the community.
For companies invested in establishing and maintaining a positive brand image, cause marketing is vital. Whether creating your own initiative or partnering with an organization like #GivingTuesday, doing social good can do your brand good.