Buyers are flocking to brands with massive hearts, according to a study by Nielsen. 66 percent of consumers prefer to buy products and services from companies that have programs that give back to society. An even bigger chunk of consumers are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand’s partnership with a cause – a chunk to the tune of 95 percent.
A brand showing support for an organization or mission taps into the demand for cause marketing. Fundraisers, in-office donations, social media shout-outs, and blurbs on your website show that you’ve taken a stance on an issue outside of your business. Support reveals a human side to business and boosts trust with consumers.
Consider the rise in brand support for female empowerment. These campaigns rallying behind “femvertising” promote equality and self-esteem. Dove’s “Real Beauty” has blossomed since its launch in 2004, asking women to see themselves as beautiful in all shapes and sizes. 2015’s “Marketer of the Year” went to Under Armour for their series featuring Gisele Bundchen and Misty Copeland declaring they “Will What I Want” as kick-butt models and ballerinas, respectively.
These partners synergize. The product aligns with the cause. Though it’s a business move at its core, both brand and cause benefit from the exposure and support.
And then there’s pandering. Verizon’s “Inspire Her Mind” campaign hopped on the femvertizing bandwagon. The premise–girls are pushed away from STEM fields all their life–supports the empowerment movement, sure. However, the message comes from a phone mogul, one that’s reached men and women equally… until it got popular to pick sides, where it’s suddenly Girl Power. In this case, the connection between mission and cause is fuzzy.
Supporting a cause is wise, but so is your audience. If you pick a cause for the sole purpose of popularity (read: profit), the trust you sought to gain is lost. Do yourself a favor and pick a mission that aligns with your own. Make it clear exactly what you support and why, and rally your employees behind it, too. Pick a purpose because it matters to you, not because it matters for your image.