For every book purchased on their site, Better World Books donates one to Books for Africa or Feed the Children. From BuzzFeed Jan. 17, 2015

“For every book purchased on their site, Better World Books donates one to Books for Africa or Feed the Children.
– From BuzzFeed Jan. 17, 2015

Today’s advertising is more about relationships than the product.

Advertising was once simple to figure out—just know who you are marketing is, what broadcast programs they watched or listened, and what newspapers they read. A trackable measure was coupon redemption that tracked their buying habits.

Today’s advertising drivers are very different. Yes, you still need to know these core things about your customers, but the ways in which they respond are mostly about value of the relationships they hold dear to them. And, buyers will recognize a “pitch” when they hear it.

With every client I meet with I start with this premise: Earning brand loyalty has become more important than ever. Individuals don’t turn to advertisements—they turn to their friends, co-workers, family and influencers they trust. When their close connections ”endorse” a product or experience, they will listen.

Each company is increasingly looking to earn the trusts of others by having their values reflected in their actions. Mashable states “Ninety percent of Americans say they’re more likely to trust and stay loyal to companies that actively try to make a difference.”

This is where cause marketing comes in, aligning cause or issue with the company’s brand identity. What is different today is a company’s brand identity is tied to their tone, their voice, and what social issues they champion, which defines their values and the essence of who the company is.

But make no mistake—your customer wants to know your commitment to their community or cause is genuine.

According to Incite, a social impact marketing firm, there are six pillars for effective cause marketing. This includes that the non-profit cause must align with a company’s own brand mission. This match should be authentic to the brand and tell consumer exactly how the cause-marketing program works. “In addition, the best cause marketers are those who partner with causes relevant to their core consumer and engage the customer in a meaningful way – through the transaction or through a direct experience.” stated Sarah Harris, Founder and Vice President. “This deepens the relationship between the brand and the customer ultimately creating loyalty while the two work together to make our communities stronger. Good for people and business.”

Over the past decade of cause marketing, consumers have been educated on a variety of topics–breast cancer, AIDS, child abuse, and other topics that may have been taboo. Elements of the branding campaigns can utilize advertising dollars and social media platforms to make a critical difference. And, you will have a loyal customer that matches your brand’s values.

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