The Six Pillars of Effective Cause Marketing

Jan 15, 2013 11:30 AM ET
The Six Pillars of Effective Cause Marketing

Six Pillars of Effective Cause Marketing

It’s been nearly 30 years since American Express famously launched its campaign to benefit the Statue of Liberty restoration project. This effort, often regarded as the first cause-related marketing campaign, unlocked a penny toward the restoration effort for every American Express transaction made within the campaign period. In addition, for each new card issued, a dollar was given to the preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Over a four-month period, $1.75 million was raised for the statue’s restoration, American Express new card members grew by 17 percent and American Express transaction activity jumped 28 percent. Pioneering campaigns like this helped build the foundation for what has become a $1.7 billion cause marketing industry according to the IEG Sponsorship Report

Today, nearly all major brands are aligned with causes, nonprofit organizations and issues, achieving varying levels of success through these partnerships. What are the key drivers behind those varying levels? There are six key components that influence the success of a cause marketing campaign:

  1. The Cause Must Align with Your Brand: Ensure the mission of the cause or nonprofit partner properly aligns with your brand’s mission.
  2. Find Your Voice: Ensure your cause marketing efforts reflect the tone and voice of your overall brand and that the messages are shared with your consumers in a way they want to receive information.
  3. Be Transparent & Authentic: Tell your consumers exactly how your cause marketing partnership works.
  4. Be Relevant and Intentional: Connect emotionally with your consumers. Consistently engage them to ensure your cause marketing efforts continue to reflect and address the causes and issues that matter in their lives.
  5. Reach People Where They Are: Understand when and where your target audience will be most receptive to receive your marketing message.
  6. Measure Success Against Defined Metrics: Before your cause marketing campaign launches, define what success will look like so you can be sure to optimize along the way, and report the success of your campaign to educate and “close the cause marketing loop” for your consumers.

While many of these pillars may seem elementary, far too often we see campaigns that fail to address many and sometimes all of these key drivers. How many times have you seen a cause marketing campaign and thought to yourself, “What were they thinking?” or “How does this partnership make sense?” When cause marketing campaigns employ all or even most of the pillars as outlined, consumers become engaged, beliefs become inspired and meaningful actions are incited.

To read more about the six pillars and to see examples of campaigns that were successful applying the pillars against their not so successful counterparts, download your complimentary copy of our full white paper Six Pillars of Effective Cause Marketing.