Corporate Social Responsibility
Today’s consumers are a different breed than your parents’ generation. The companies they choose to do business with have distinct priorities…and that can (and should) affect the way you choose to market your organization.
Shifting Consumer Priorities
American consumers value companies that display the following traits:
- Responsibility (86 percent)
- Caring (85 percent)
- Advocacy for issues (81 percent)
- Environmental protection (79 percent)
- Giving back to important causes (73 percent)
If you plan to be successful and win these customers over, your marketing should reflect their priorities. Many companies focus on cause marketing, the cooperative effort between a for-profit and a non-profit for the mutual benefit of both. The value of cause marketing increased by nearly 5 percent last year and is estimated to be around $2.2 billion.
Cause marketing takes many different forms, ranging from the simple (donation boxes in places of business) to major brand campaigns. The most common types include:
- Donating 100 percent of sales to a cause
- BOGO (Buy one, give one)
- Making a donation with every purchase
- Proudly supporting a non-profit, social, or political movement via a grant or gift
- A volunteerism partnership where employees donate their time for a particular activity
- Co-branded events
One of the biggest motivators for today’s consumers is corporate social responsibility (CSR). Those companies that embrace CSR will benefit in many ways:
- 96 percent of consumers have a positive image of the company
- 94 percent are more likely to trust the company
- 93 percent will be more loyal to the company
In the past, cause marketing was often focused on a particular event or holiday, but nowadays many companies are embracing it as a full-time strategy. In order to impress the consumer, any attempt at cause marketing must be genuine and transparent. Customers will see right through marketing campaigns they feel aren’t “real.” It’s important that you ensure your relationship and messaging are credible, or you’ll risk incurring the wrath of the consumer—who is quick to take to social media and cause harm to your reputation if they feel you are being disingenuous.
Cause marketing requires sincerity, creativity, and continuity—and it’s crucial to continually reinforce your message across various media in order to win over the hearts and minds of the consumer. But given its importance, this is one of the best strategies you can take in order to position yourself for success in the marketplace.