Matt Fey, VP Creative Director

Matt Fey, VP Creative Director

Does your brand stand for something? Is it more than just products and services? Does your brand have a cause greater than commerce?

More and more, brands are aligning themselves with charitable causes. And customers are taking notice. Last year, Ad Age published a study by the research firm Toluna about the impact of brands and cause marketing on consumers.

Among that highly sought after millennial demographic, 49% said they were more likely to buy from a brand supporting a cause. But picking a cause and cutting a check to a charity isn’t enough.

So to ask again, what does your brand care about?

There are three keys to keep in mind as you embark on a cause marketing effort.

  1. Is your cause easy to understand?

Don’t make the proposition of your cause cumbersome. It should be simple. And no one does it better than TOMS Shoes. One for one. When someone buys a pair of shoes, TOMS donates a pair of shoes. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Consumers have a clear, immediate understanding of what they’re supporting.

  1. Is your cause relevant to your brand?

What are you supporting? Why does it matter to your customers? As fickle as it might be to say, successful cause marketing isn’t contingent on supporting just any cause. It should have a clear tie to your brand proposition. TOMS sells shoes in exchange for shoes in underprivileged countries. Supporting fair trade, Equal Exchange sells coffee that directly benefits the farmers who harvest that coffee. The goods and services these and other companies sell link to each brand’s specific mission.

  1. Are you sharing the results of your efforts?

Brands supporting causes can have drawbacks. In the aforementioned research, 20% of millennials expressed skepticism of the brands’ intentions. Are the brands doing it for the sales boost? Are they really giving what they say? It’s one thing to support a cause. It’s another to back it up. Transparency is key. Companies need to report their efforts. Post them online and through social media. How much money has been donated? How many lives have been impacted? Sharing numbers is essential, but put a human face on the efforts. Who has been helped? Tell their stories. This will not only verify your efforts, it will help forge an emotional connection between the audience and those being helped.

Find a cause you believe in. Make it a cause your customers believe in. If you really want to support a cause, you can’t just dip a toe and expect customers to follow. You have to commit. Make it count. Make your cause effective.

For more on the Ad Age report on the Toluna study, click here.

Does your brand care? Matthew Fey does. See how he can help you make your cause more effective. Email or call 913-236-2414.

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