Climate change, environmental pollution, attitude towards animals, deepening poverty through unconscious consumer choices, irresponsible behavior or access to drinking water. These are just a few issues that are increasingly engaging and polarizing society – around the world. Should companies pay attention to this and communicate their view on the issue? Can causes related marketing be credible and above all – can it be on a win = win basis? Due to my interests and education, I decided to take a closer look and the conclusions can be found in this article.
What is causes related marketing?
Cause related marketing (CRM) is a situation when business data meets both the economic goals of an enterprise and responds to certain social problems, trying to communicate and solve them. This is the simplest manifestation of a wider phenomenon called “corporate social responsibility”. Cause related marketing is usually associated strictly with the sales process or, as the name implies, marketing. On the other hand, corporate social responsibility can be present in every aspect of a company’s activity and does not have to be widely communicated. The difference is best illustrated with examples.
Cause related marketing:
– for every $ 20 spent in our store, we donate $ 1 to Foundation X.
– our company employs 400 drivers. We make sure that they undergo health tests every year and organize cyclical training courses to improve driving techniques.
– our company creates jam. We acquire fruit and vegetables only from local suppliers and support the domestic economy.
– we are a clothes distributor. We acquire our products only to ethical enterprises that respect employee and human rights.
The difference is therefore in the direct connection to the sales process. On the other hand, both things – undertaken by the company responsibly and sensibly – simply pay off. In marketing it’s quite simple – it’s nice to buy something and help. In the second case, e.g. thanks to driver training, the company can “save” on traffic accidents, as well as avert potential image crises associated with such accidents or operational liquidity.
The difference is also in the time horizon of the projects concerned. Cause related marketing can usually be started overnight and turned off just as quickly. Corporate social responsibility is already a long-term process that requires capital and human investment and good planning. Therefore, many companies end up with socially engaged marketing – it is simpler, and at the same time effective because its impact on sales results can be seen immediately.
Advantages of cause related marketing
The benefits of cause related marketing can be divided into three parts. The company benefits, but also the recipient of the product or service, as well as the entity we help – it can be said that all sides of this system benefit.
Benefits for the company:
– a positive image due to association with a third sector organization,
– stimulation of involvement among the company’s community and employees,
– increased consumer loyalty,
– lower level of complaints and returns,
– increase in sales.
Benefits for the consumer:
– help thanks to the purchase slightly “absolves” consumerism itself,
– greater satisfaction with purchases,
– relatively higher satisfaction with the products and services provided.
Cause related marketing – example
Toms – is an American footwear brand, which already at the business design stage assumed that each pair of shoes purchased by the customer results in the transfer of a second pair to countries and communities where it is particularly needed (regions of Africa and Asia, but also South America). A cool idea, which also shows how something apparently obvious to us, is still a scarce commodity in other regions of the world. They are usually not cheap shoes, which did not prevent the brand from achieving success in the highly competitive American market, which was simply mature in the context of the footwear industry. People love TOMS and more often attribute positive qualities to them, such as comfort or durability.
Why is it worth?
It is worth noting that cause related marketing is mainly used by large brands or … startups. As you can easily guess, the motivations for making such a decision vary depending on the size of a given business entity.
Thus, large companies and brands strengthen their brands and customer loyalty. In addition, consumer expectations related to the positive impact of large companies on local communities and the environment in general are growing. We expect more and more often that the company will compensate for its environmental impact, and even that it will provide us with information on this matter. This is a very good trend, because it turns out that it pays off in the long run both to our environment and to the company that made such an effort. Unfortunately, it is difficult to talk about some mass reorientation of thinking here. Large corporations are powerful and uncontrolled ships. They arouse admiration, but before they change course, a lot of time must pass.
The situation is different when the startup immediately decides to get social problems involved in acquiring clients. This is usually because of personal motives and motivations to somehow differentiate their actions from those powerful corporations that feed on consumerism like leeches. Startup is more and more often not only a product or service, but also a rebellion against the current state of affairs.
Credibility cause related marketing
On the internet, of course, whenever someone is in favor, someone who is opposed will also be found. Therefore, even related related marketing has its enthusiasts as well as oppositionists.
From the latter group, there are most often accusations of lack of “pure intentions” for help or cynical use of someone’s misfortune to fuel sales. Of course you can approach it this way. However, it is worth paying attention to the obvious fact that in such a world everyone would lose. Were it not for the company and a given form of assistance, as a consumer we would never have heard about a given problem and the given action would not have seen additional funds. So if you still want to make a purchase – why not do it with someone who offers sales and additionally helps someone?