There are two types of consumers: value-driven and purpose-driven. Those who are value-driven want to get their money's worth. They seek out brands that offer convenience at a good price. Purpose-driven consumers are looking to align themselves and their money with brands that share their values. This group is interested in sustainable companies that are involved in the community.
Ninety-four percent of consumers across generations want to do business with companies that make a positive impact on the community. So, it’s important for local businesses to get involved with the community through cause marketing if they are to remain competitive.
The Age of Social Responsibility
Younger generations are leading the charge in social responsibility. Seventy percent of Gen-Z and Millennials feel a brand should have a strong purpose that they personally believe in. They want brands to prioritize purpose over profit and will only patronize those that make some positive impact in terms of the environment, how they treat their employees, and the causes they support.
Businesses that are active in the community and socially responsible are seen in a favorable light. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe that brands should do their part to normalize social justice conversations through their marketing and communication efforts. They feel it is no longer acceptable for companies to be silent on social issues and take this to mean that they don't care.
Consumerism as a Means of Activism
Consumers today expect brands to lead with purpose. The eight key attributes of a purposeful brand include:
- Fair treatment of employees
- Sustainable products or services
- Creation of new job opportunities
- Sustainable and ethical business practices
- Diverse and inclusive work culture
- Issue advocacy
- Support for important social causes
- Strong values
Brands that don't comply are being held accountable and are susceptible to cancel culture. Cancel culture is standing strong, as 76% of consumers report that they have taken some action against a company that did something they disagreed with. That action took the form of no longer doing business with the brand, shopping with a competitor, or discouraging others from supporting a brand. Buyers are using their dollars to make statements.
Cause Marketing Helps Distinguish Your Brand from the Competition
Cause marketing is a collaboration between your company and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. While helping to create awareness for the organization, your brand's image of corporate social responsibility is boosted. With cause marketing, your brand gets to make a difference in the world.
Brands that take part in cause marketing are seen as favorable in the eyes of consumers. Eighty-three percent of Gen-Z'ers and Millennials feel it's important that brands share their values, while 62% want the products they buy to reflect their ideology. Younger people, especially, want their purchases to show their identity. When your brand identifies with issues that are important to the community, it shows how much you care. Consumers prefer to do business with brands that get them.
Selecting a Cause or Charity Partner
People put their money where their hearts are. The key to selecting a charity that aligns with your business's core values is to focus on causes that you personally identify with. The goal is for business to come from those who align themselves with the cause.
Keep in mind that your charity needs to be in line with the values of your target audience. If you sell toys, certain issues might not affect your customers or their parents. Community issues affect everyone who lives in the area. When your focus is for the betterment of the community, your efforts are seen by those in proximity.
Remember to thoroughly research the non-profit organization you choose. Consumers expect the causes and brands they support to operate both ethically and sustainably. It is important to understand the mission, success, and goals of a charity. How a non-profit operates is as important as its purpose.
Get Involved in Cause Marketing
Businesses that get involved in the local community have an advantage over their competitors. Engaging in cause marketing is a good way to simultaneously bring awareness to your brand and a non-profit effort that you and your customers care about.
Publicizing your sponsorship is the best way to make the community aware of your cause marketing efforts. Contact your media partner for ideas about opportunities.