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RALLYING FOR A CAUSE you feel passionate about feels good, but it can also make good business sense. According to a 2013 study by Cone Cause Evolution, 89 percent of consumers would consider switching brands if they found a new brand that aligned itself with a good cause. 41 percent of Americans said they have purchased a product in the past year because of a cause, which is twice the percentage that agreed with that statement when Cone first introduced the question in 1993. Cause marketing is a marketing alliance that pairs a company with a social cause so that they can both mutually benefit. If you want to leverage your social capital, consider these types of cause-marketing campaigns. Transactional cause-marketing campaigns trigger a donation when your customer makes a purchase. Yoplait’s “Friends in the Fight” campaign donates 10 cents to one of three breast-cancer charities, selected by consumers, for every pink Yoplait lid consumers register online. With event campaigns, your company partners with a charity to host a fundraising event such as a 5K, a walk-a-thon or a food festival. Digital campaigns rely on websites, email and social media to spread the word about your cause, encouraging consumers to take action online by donating, volunteering, purchasing merchandise, liking a page or by making a message go viral. With sweat-equity campaigns, employees roll up their sleeves to physically help out a local charity by building a Habitat for Humanity house, for example. If you select a cause that aligns with your brand, a sweat-equity campaign has a good chance of creating a strong association for consumers between your brand and the good work you’re doing in the community. These types of campaigns lend themselves well to generating media attention because of the compelling imagery. If that isn’t enough reason to sway you toward a sweatequity campaign, many people believe it is no longer enough for corporations to just make financial contributions to charities. They want to see companies getting involved and integrating good causes into their day-to-day business. Companies looking to develop a cause-marketing strategy should also give careful consideration to selecting the right cause. The cause you choose needs to align with your brand, but it should also be a cause that your employees are passionate about. Huggies created its own charity, the “Every Little Bottom” program, which provides diapers for needy children. Macy’s supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation through its “Believe” holiday campaign. Kids drop letters to Santa into Macy’s store letterboxes or email them online, and the retailer donates $1 to Make-a-Wish for every letter. Once you’ve selected your cause, work with the charity’s organizers to set donation targets and to define how the campaign will increase your visibility. It can help expand your reach and increase awareness of your brand if the charity will promote your campaign through its own website, emails, newsletters, social-media channels and direct-mail efforts. Finally, launch a well-planned, multi-channel marketing effort promoting your cause-marketing campaign. People will need to see your message frequently if your campaign is going to motivate them to switch companies. One press release won’t do it, so use a variety of messaging platforms to reach prospective customers in multiple ways to raise awareness of your company’s cause and your selected charity as well.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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