Companies today are going beyond product and profit. In this era of social responsibility, people want their money to go toward more than just a product; they want it to support a cause as well. According to a 2017 report on consumers’ views of corporate social responsibility, people are more likely to buy from purpose-driven companies that align with their values and avoid companies that don’t.
Marketing For Good And Why It Matters
People are no longer buying only with their minds. They’re buying with their hearts too.
Marketing for good means aligning a company’s brand with a social mission, like education or world hunger. This strategy is a win for companies and consumers — and, of course, those at the receiving end of the cause. Marketers can please consumers and lead them to make purchases to support a cause they care about.
An Entrepreneur article puts it aptly: “We have totally changed the way we live our commercial lives; we now invest more of our minds, hearts and spirits. We keep searching for solutions that bring value to us and let us feel that we have a purpose in life.”
What we buy is a part of our identities. What we buy, to some extent, defines us.
The results of a 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli survey corroborate this: 78% of Americans think companies should support a social cause in addition to making money, and 77% of Americans feel a larger emotional connection to companies with a cause. These statistics make aligning your company with a cause a no-brainer. Furthermore, an Edelman study found that value-based messaging was more effective in the brand advocacy stage than product-based messaging.
Supporting a cause has both internal and external benefits. It fuels employee morale and cultivates a purposeful and productive work culture. It also makes the company attractive to prospective employees and customers. Supporting a social cause can have an occasional domino effect: It can inspire other companies to do the same.
Five Keys To Marketing For Good
Marketing for good isn’t as simple as allocating funds to a given organization. It must be pursued genuinely, intentionally and holistically. There are numerous important things to be cognizant of in order to ensure successful implementation.
1. Make your cause part of your company persona.
Building a company persona is a difficult but important undertaking. One way of doing so is imagining your company as a person. What kind of person are they, and what are their values? What do you want people to associate with your company? Your company persona should be inextricable from the cause it supports.
At Fusemachines, for example, our social mission of democratizing artificial intelligence and educating students around the world is an integral part of the mission and purpose of the company — it is the soul of our existence.
2. Integrate your cause into your social media strategy and all online platforms.
Social media is an opportunity for your company to showcase its interests creatively, and outside of its business objectives, to a large audience. This adds to your company’s persona as one whose goal isn’t just the bottom line. Keep followers updated on the cause as though you were a follower — post what you would want to know. Be authentic in what you share and how you do so.
Johnson & Johnson is a large and influential company that operates with the notion that with size and power comes big social responsibility. This belief (and supporting action) doesn’t go unrecognized: The company was the recent recipient of a bronze distinction from the Shorty Social Good Awards to honor its campaign for HIV awareness.
3. Hire informed and passionate people.
Everyone on your team should have a stake in the cause and a solid enough understanding of it to be able to talk about it with people who may know nothing. The power of common purpose fuels work and adds meaning. It’s important to ask yourself how what you’re doing affects the end goal and how you can support it differently (and better) in the future.
4. Affiliate with companies that have similar missions.
Learn about other companies involved in similar causes. Do some research as to how they promote the issue internally and externally. If possible, it may be helpful to work and/or partner with these companies. Explore synergies and possibilities. At the very least, doing so can provide inspiration.
5. Be authentic.
Passion and support for a cause cannot (and should not) be faked. Doing so could damage the brand image, as consumers today are great fake detectors.
When about to make a purchase, 60% of consumers want brands to make it easier for them to see the brand’s values and social positions. Should a customer discover that a company they once supported doesn’t actually support the cause it purports to, they may respond by posting about it on social media. This can tarnish the online and offline reputation of an organization.
Marketing for good has great potential for companies, consumers and society. Companies have the power and responsibility to advocate for change in the direction they believe in. When done correctly, marketing for good can lead to great impact.