Support my favorite cause and I'll support you -- cause marketing is a powerful force.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

In a recent blog post, Laurie Hix explained quite clearly the difference between social media, social marketing and cause marketing.  She's covered some great social marketing examples and our sister company, Ignite Social Media, has lots of examples of great social media marketing.  But we haven't talked too much about cause marketing. 

This past weekend, I walked the Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day.  That's right 60 miles over the course of 3 days and yes it was pushing 90 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.  Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I always support companies that support breast cancer.  I think most people touched by this disease feel the same way.  BTW, I don't limit my support to breast cancer.  If a company is donating to any charity that's important to me, I feel they deserve my business. 

As I was walking, I thought about the impact of the recession on charities. (I had lots of time to think about all kinds of things.)  The Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day raised 4.7 million dollars this year.  Seems like a lot but it's under 70% of what was raised last year.  They have some great national and some local sponsors too like Superior Ambulance--the 3-Day wouldn't be the same without them.

    superior.jpg

But overall, what's happening in the cause marketing world and what does the future hold?  Are companies pulling their support in tough economic times and is this a smart marketing move?  I decided to do a bit more research on this topic and found an interesting blog post about the Power of Cause Marketing.  I'm happy to see that consumers feel very strongly about corporate participation with charities.  But I hope the companies continue to see the value.  What if they don't see an immediate lift in sales? Is brand recognition and brand preference equally as importat today as it once was?  These are tough questions.  I'm quick to buy anything with a pink ribbon but do the masses feel the same way when money is tight?   How can non profits help show for profits the value gained by their relationship?  Post a comment and share your thoughts with me. 

Comments

Comments 3 Add yours below

Ellen,

Charitable giving in general is down nationally, but as far as as being "quick to buy anything with a pink ribbon" I believe consumers are no longer blindly buying products because of a charitable association. You might want to look at Think Before You Pink.

Savvy consumers and donors are giving charities a closer look before blindly writing checks.

Thanks for your comment Molly. Good point about being "quick to buy anything with a pink ribbon". I do pick and choose my charities. But having spent the weekend in a sea of pink, I exaggerated. I do believe most people are careful about where they donate their money. I have my favorite pink charities and my favorite charities outside of breast cancer. These are the ones I tend to support on an ongoing basis.

Molly, be careful what you wish for: you may be over reacting to a small problem, and damaging the causes more than the 'bad' corporations benefit.

I appreciate (and agree with) your concern about pinkwashing, but still, it's by far the minority. And if the message consumers hear from you is that causes are questionable, corporations will stop that form of giving.

Who will lose? causes.

ThinkBeforeYouPink is clearly borders on self-destructive. $250K from Eureka is better than $0. And BMW donates millions to susanBKormen and promotes the cause in millions of more points. They made me aware of the cause. To spite them for producing automobiles--something the TBYP founders all certainly drive--is lunacy.

Ellyn (you too should "take a closer look" at spelling of her name), is doing the right thing: acting from her heart and making choices that make sense.

Similarly, if I want yoghurt or a vacuum, or a luxury sports car, it's PERFECTLY FINE for me to chose the one with the ribbon. Don't throw that baby out with the bathwater, please.

(disclosure: I'm just not affiliated with any of the programs. I just happen to agree that cause marketing makes sense.)

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