By Jeffrey Hedquist
Audience members today care about your client’s heart - what the advertiser does for the local community or the World community. How a client gives back may be as important as how they benefit the customer.
According to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey, 87 percent of consumers say they’d switch brands if another brand were associated with a good cause. In fact, more and more customers expect companies to support social and environmental issues.
Here are some thoughts to help make these efforts a win-win for everyone involved.
1. Heartfelt involvement
The owners, staff, and even the customers should feel passionate, or at least a strong connection to the cause.
Example: A pet store whose employees volunteer at a local animal shelter
2. Relate the cause to the business
It’s easier to establish connection for a cause that is related to the advertiser.
Example: A building supply company helps the local Habitat For Humanity.
3. Sweat equity
Some businesses will donate funds, some will donate goods and services, and some will volunteer hours of work. Doing all three is best, and if number 1 is covered, this will be easy.
Example: Employees of a computer service teach residents at an assisted living facility how to connect with grandchildren and great grandchildren on the web.
4. Make a solid connection
Find ways for the business to publicize the non-profit and vice versa.
Example: Both members of this partnership should generate articles, press releases, and social media messages to promote each other.
Don’t make the cause marketing an afterthought in the commercial. Tell a good story that explains the reason the advertiser supports the cause and demonstrates their passion for it. The story should be more about the benefit to the not for profit organization than to the advertiser.
The stories can be told by the voices of business owners, staff, customers, and representatives of the non-profits and the people who benefit from what that organization does.
Cause marketing can be an ongoing promotion, seasonal activity, or a one-time event.
I was inspired to talk about this because some of our clients have had such dramatic results when we got them involved in cause marketing.
For an auto glass repair and replacement company in a market with 81 competitors we created a combination of spots, some featuring the second-generation owner’s voice and some announcer only spots. The advertiser, with a fleet of trucks offers to pick up any size donations of money or canned goods for the local food bank at no charge. There is no selling in the commercials. They have increased their business manifold since beginning the campaign.
A nationwide network of automobile service centers had us create commercials that feature the owner’s voices, telling stories of their childhood and how they depended on food banks to make it through. At a donated dollar per oil change, they have provided millions of meals through food banks around the country.
For blood services on both sides of the country we have created messages – some outrageous and off the wall, which have increased blood donations dramatically during traditional times of low supply.
In an area which had recently lost trees in the downtown area and in parks, the “Take a test drive, and we’ll plant a tree.” campaign is generating automobile sales and carbon sequestration.
Broadcasters have been doing this for their stations for years. RAB is a resource equipped to assist you in working with your advertisers. Helping your clients get involved in cause marketing may be one of the best things you can do for their bottom line and for your community.
Hedquist Productions donates thousands of dollars in services each year to community and environmental causes, including supporting Prairie Song Farms, a community fostering hands-on experience in permaculture. I’ll bet you have cause-related marketing ideas that I haven’t thought of. Please share them with me
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