This Monday I attended the grand opening of Potbelly’s Sandwich shop in Orem. As a way to enter the community, they offered free sandwiches, chips and a fountain drink for a donation of $5 or more toward Habitat for Humanity which assists those less fortunate build and repair homes for themselves. The atmosphere was very energetic and friendly and the food was delicious. Aligning the opening of their new sandwich shop with supporting a local cause was a great strategy to enter the community and an excellent example of cause marketing.
Recently, there has been a large wave of unscripted, “reality” advertising taking place. A company will provide some sort of experience with real people, film it, and release it as a commercial on their website, social media, TV and YouTube. An example of this is Coca-Cola’s commercial promoting the film “Skyfall”. These can be incredibly fun and creative and allow your target market to feel a closer connection with your brand.
Cause marketing takes the same approach as “reality” advertising, but shows something charitable happen. This can be a video of people using a product to help others like Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good campaign, a brand addressing a need in a creative way like Coca Cola’s Hello Happiness campaign or just company employees doing service projects like Hershey’s Good to Give Back Week. The ways companies can give back to the community are endless.
Knowing that a business contributes in some charitable way has a strong effect on consumers. According to a 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact study, 89% of consumers are likely to switch to a brand associated with a cause provided the brands are of comparable price and quality .
But how can your business develop a cause marketing campaign? Your business probably lacks the means to contribute thousands of dollars towards some national or global cause. Fortunately, a little bit of knowledge plus some creativity goes a long way.
Firstly, it helps to know about the needs of the community. Your company can ride trends like the viral Ice Bucket Challenge from last summer, or donate to a recent catastrophe. There are several websites that highlight charitable opportunities but a Google search will only get you so far. The Walton Group is supremely qualified to align your business with a local cause. Linda Walton personally attends several community meetings and the business regularly works with groups such as United Way, Habitat, the Red Cross and several others. These contacts give us a rich knowledge of local needs and ways they can be addressed. Your business is unique and can respond to causes in its own unique way.
Remember that it is important to be part of a cause that you and your employees are passionate about. Cause marketing is not about presenting a false image of your business as charitable. It is about showing people that you really do care about the community and you are willing to do something to improve it.
Secondly, you need to record your efforts. Hire a photographer or a videographer to get some professional looking images and videos of your project. Write down the details of your service. Invite local news to cover the event. Write a press release to give to the local news. It is much better to show people what you did rather than telling them.
Finally, share your efforts. Be sure to include the organization you worked with wherever you showcase your work. There is really no limit as to where you can share the story of your charitable giving. You just need to get the word out in a way that your target audience will find. Once again, as professionals in PR and advertising, The Walton Group can help you showcase your work in creative ways so your target market will find out about it.
Every business should take part in some sort of charitable giving. Businesses have a special ability to give that individuals just do not possess. It may be difficult to get started, but if you are interested in cause marketing, give us a call. We would be happy to help.
- Cause Marketing Matters to Consumers
- Give and Take
- photo found on http://www.potbelly.com/Shops/ShopLocator.aspx?PotbellyShopId=396