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With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and sales efforts, it can be a struggle for brands to find meaningful ways to echo the sentiment of the season in marketing campaigns. The #GivingTuesday event, which has become a widely socialized event that takes place the day after Cyber Monday, is usually when companies engage in some sort of public act of giving back. While that is now a common way for brands to do some cause marketing during the holiday season, there are many more opportunities that can be deeply impactful.
What is cause marketing and why does it work?
The purpose of cause marketing is to increase exposure and awareness for both the for-profit business and non-profit organizations. When cause marketing is effective, some of the benefits you can expect include:
- An increase in brand loyalty
- A boost in employee morale
- An increase in sales
- Positive press coverage and company reviews
- Differentiation from the competition
The 2018 Cone-Porter Novelli Purpose Study shows that 77% of consumers feel a stronger emotional connection to purpose-driven companies over traditional companies. Of course, the non-profit stands to benefit from cause marketing as well. They have the opportunity to expand awareness of the cause, increasing fundraising and public support. This is a mutually beneficial collaboration and the holiday season is an ideal time to pair up with a non-profit cause that your company feels passionate about.
Let’s look at an example of a great cause marketing campaign:
In 2016, Uber launched a highly successful seasonal cause marketing campaign called UberGIVING. The app allowed people to swipe to ‘Giving’ and request a car to pick up donations such as blankets and clothing which would be delivered to local charity partners such as Save the Children in the UK.
Uber scaled the idea very rapidly, from idea to execution in 80 hours. The initiative rolled out in 46 cities across Europe and resulted in 2,800 collections over September 9-10. The company used blogs, email marketing, social media and a splash screen to market UberGiving. A playbook was created with copy and content to allow each market to take part.
Some further results of the campaign:
- Donations filled 10 shipping containers
- 232 partner drivers took part
- 2,828 collections were made
- 33,572 unique requests from customers were made
- 5.6m social impressions were generated with no media spend and no paid influencers
The campaign was a success and garnered tons of media attention because it made people feel empowered to help in a manner that was easy to do, took place in a setting (the app) that provided them with something that they already needed, offering them a tangible way to make a difference and feel good about it. The campaign also inspired sharing from many media outlets because of the creativity of the campaign.
The takeaways from this can be used to contribute to the success of almost any cause marketing campaigns:
- People first: Enable customers, the target audience or the community to do something important to them.
- Relevant: Make the call to action clear and easy for the consumer to participate in. Be sure that what you’re asking the consumer to buy, or donate to is something that they care about, need or want. Conversely, make sure that you’re targeting a relevant audience.
- Tangible: Make the donations represent a real way to make a difference. Can the donors see what, or who, their donations are going to? Is there a way to illustrate how close to the goal of the campaign is?
- Reach: Make it easy to share the campaign by providing an internal playbook to stakeholders, social sharing assets and copy for the public to use, a point of contact for the media, social media events like Twitter parties or Facebook LIVE and IGTV to create buzz around the campaign and invite influencers to participate in these.
The above four factors are great things to keep in mind when planning a cause marketing campaign. These things are what make the difference between a mediocre campaign and a successful campaign, because they provide a clear focus, meaningful purpose and allow for easy participation, no matter what the campaign is.
How we are getting into the holiday spirit…
This month, our team is joining forces with 60 Grit Studios, another creative agency in the area, to plan a charity softball game. The campaign is built out in a way that satisfies the above conditions:
Customer First: We wanted the event to be fun for our employees, but that the purpose was about giving to local non-profit organizations. We wanted to keep the event community-based because both of the companies have a passion for supporting local businesses and non-profit organizations. The Creative Bar and 60 Grit both selected a local charity to donate to.
Relevant: The call to action is clear. We are asking the community to get involved by coming out to watch the game and purchase items from the snack bar. We are also making it easy for other local companies to contribute by donating items. Keeping the game event local and donating to local nonprofits is more meaningful to our community.
Tangible: The donations from the community and our company donations are going straight to the non-profit organizations. We have designed and printed large checks to present to our designated non-profits. Setting up a snack bar is a tangible way for spectators to take part in the campaign to raise funds for these non-profits.
Reach: Both companies involved have created press releases, social media posts, Facebook events and more to create awareness in our community. We have created and shared behind the scenes content of our practices and will continue to do so leading up to the event. We want our community to be aware of the event and feel a desire to take part.
The Creative Bar team has been excitedly planning, practicing for and anticipating this game because it allows us to really get into the holiday spirit of giving. Not only do we hope to win, but we also hope to make this a yearly tradition and spread the holiday cheer to include other local companies and non-profit beneficiaries. There is something really special that happens when we have the opportunity to do these types of campaigns and we have certainly felt it around the office the past few weeks. We encourage you all to find opportunities this season to create joy through cause marketing, and if you can’t create it, find ways to support a campaign. It’s the best way to elicit the warmth that comes in the form of giving back.
Other Notable Cause Marketing Campaigns:
Gilette: ‘The Best Men Can Be’ campaign in support of the #metoo movement.
Dove: ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, focused on calling out unrealistic beauty standards and increasing women’s self-esteem, which branched out into several additional campaigns with the same core purpose.
Waves For Water: Bahamas campaign in response to Hurricane Dorian, brought urgent access to clean water for residents affected by the storm.
Microsoft: ‘Changing the Game’ campaign gave people with disabilities the ability to play video games using specially designed controllers. It also raised awareness of the need for brands to be more inclusive of everyone when designing products.