Cause Marketing: Doing Well by Doing Good
With today's consumers more likely than ever to be involved with some aspect of environmental, health and humanitarian issues, cause marketing has become a win-win for retailers. Getting behind a worthy cause (e.g., donating to relief efforts after Japan's tsunami, supporting cancer awareness or raising money for animal shelters) can help retailers raise a substantial amount of money for charity while at the same time improve their own brand reputation and, ultimately, grow sales.
Connecting oneself to a cause is a popular way for brands to stand out from the crowd. It signals that they're willing to go above and beyond the competition for their customers. Cause marketing can positively affect a company's reputation and attract consumers who may not have known about or been interested in a brand if it weren't for the cause.
Participating in cause marketing campaigns gives consumers a sense of self-worth. It makes them feel good to know that they're helping those in need, even if it's as simple as clicking a "Like" button on Facebook or following someone on Twitter. Here are some examples of retailers who have leveraged cause marketing campaigns to not only help those in need, but also improve their brand metrics.
Like, Follow, Check In for Charity
Big Apple Pet Supply, a pet supply retailer based in Hauppauge, N.Y., realized the cause marketing power of Twitter and Facebook during its "Follow Me Animal Shelter Fund" campaign, launched this summer. The Twitter campaign, which ran from mid-June to mid-August, saw company CEO Steven Spitz, also known as @VeganPetMan on Twitter, donate $1 for every new follower he acquired on Twitter in a quest to raise $6,000 for animal shelters.
Meanwhile on Facebook, fans of Big Apple Pet Supply voted for their favorite animal shelter on the company's Facebook page. The three shelters with the highest number of votes split the pot raised on Twitter.
"Right now [Facebook and Twitter] are the two predominant channels for social media," says Spitz. "Undoubtedly, there are other social media websites, but according to the latest statistics, 92 percent of all social network users are on Facebook and 13 percent are on Twitter. While Twitter has a much smaller user group, it has a heavily engaged demographic."