Company Branding: Cause Marketing and Authenticity

A recent article from eMarketer grabbed our attention today: “When Doing Good to Drive Sales, Authenticity Matters.” It hit us hard enough enough to share this cause marketing information with our blog readers. So read on and give us your feedback!

It is a fact that “cause marketing”—using a good cause or positive action in order to encourage consumers to make a purchase—can be very effective. In fact, according to Saurage Research:

Some 62% of women shoppers (ages 18–49) feel they are making the world a better place by supporting brands that engage in socially responsible efforts, with 54% saying those purchases make them feel they are living their values.

Almost all women (93%) supported at least one cause in 2009. Seventy-three percent say they are willing to pay more for products to help companies offset their “do good” efforts.

A study released by AYTM Market Research in October 2012 found:

Approximately 56% of Internet users in the United States have made a purchase “because proceeds went to a cause or the brand supported a cause.”

In 2012, a global consumer research “goodpurpose” study by Edelman uses the term “social purpose” to refer to “consumer attitudes regarding their commitment to specific societal issues and their expectations of brands and corporations.” The study found that “social purpose” is currently the number one driver when price and quality are the same.

The majority (76%) of global customers see no problem with the brand profiting from that support as long as the brand is authentic and upfront with its involvement in supporting a cause.

However, consumers are also holding companies accountable for cause involvement, and expect to see reassurance that the company or brand is actually following through with claims that their support is making a difference. Being transparent with the brand’s claims—showing the customer where their money is going and proving that it is doing good—is crucial.

Businesses must be astute when presenting cause marketing campaigns to the consumer. It’s important for businesses to support those causes for which their customers can relate. If a campaign is presented the wrong way—such as making false claims or using gimmicks with too much hype, for example—the brand loses credibility and the customer will lose interest.

Based upon AYTM’s research:

Only 10% of the people surveyed felt that cause marketing campaigns are sincere.

41% of respondents said they felt “cause marketing campaigns are insincere about half the time.”

With this in mind, cause marketing campaigns can be very effective when presented to the consumer in the right way. Social Media has proven to be a helpful tool with these types of campaigns. Businesses can engage the consumer on a more personal level, using direct communication, videos, and pictures to show sincerity and community involvement. Showing the human side of the brand can be a very smart way to show consumers that the business is not perfect, which is true. According to Cone Communications’ Executive VP:

“About 70% of consumers say ‘Don’t tell me you’re perfect about your corporate social responsibility efforts [or] as a company, because I know you’re not perfect… But tell me where you’re going and where you are.”

At IDealogic® we feel that being honest, admitting to both successes and failures, as well as learning from mistakes in order to better yourself or your brand, are admirable qualities for both businesses and the individuals that run them. Earning your customers’ respect can also earn you their loyal business. Don’t you agree?

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