Put simply, cause marketing refers to a partnership between a for-profit and non-profit business to support a charitable cause. This can be done in various ways, including dual incentives, donations with a purchase, buy one give one, a donation with consumer action, volunteer promotions (i.e., Disney's Give a Day, Get a Disney Day), and more.
The strategy is quickly becoming more important. Seventy percent of consumers want to know how brands address social and environmental issues, and 46% of consumers pay close attention to a brand's actions.
Here are the top tips on ways to get involved in cause marketing in the local Nashville community. After all, helping others helps you.
Get Involved with a Cause You Love
When deciding on what cause best fits you and your brand, it's important to note that it should be meaningful and aligned with the same values of your business.
Your chosen cause should also be compatible with the industry your business is in — meaning if you have a shoe business in Nashville, you can donate shoes to nonprofits that serve children in need.
The key is to keep it as near and dear to your business as possible. This way, the partnership makes sense to consumers and doesn't just look like a PR stunt. Being intentional genuinely produces good results for everyone involved.
Work With a Local Charity or Business
Once you have the cause you love, then it's time to get down to business. You can partner with a local charity like local food banks, fundraisers, schools, non-profits, disadvantaged groups, etc. Or, you could partner with another business that's more local in the area. Customers who already trust a local business will begin to trust you for partnering with them.
Either way, cause marketing and partnerships help broaden your local audience and build stronger ties between you and the community. This will then allow you to expand your business as your place in the community grows.
You'll benefit from an increase in brand loyalty, a boost in employee morale, an increase in sales, receive positive press coverage and company reviews, and establish a unique differentiation from the competition. However, be careful about what organization you choose to work with because this could also be harmful if the partnership looks like a ploy or the non-profit you are supporting does something unethical or controversial.
Communicate Effective Awareness in Your Messaging
You must make it clear who you're helping and why, so there's absolutely no confusion or misinterpretations when it comes to you and your nonprofit's mission. Be transparent. Customers should be aware of your entire mission from the start and have the cause and how you're helping laid out easily in front of them.
Most customers are value-driven nowadays, with the biggest generation (millennials) being the driving force behind it, taking the lead when it comes to demanding that companies support their values. Research even shows that consumers like to work with businesses that support causes so much that they're willing to switch brands to support ones aligned with their own values.
This phenomenon isn't just limited to the Millennials in Nashville, though. Twenty-one percent of Baby Boomers and 50% of Generation Xers say buying from brands that share their values and ideologies is important. As for the Millennial generation, 62% of those surveyed believe buying from companies that support their own political and social beliefs is important.
Invite Your Audience to Support the Cause Along with Your Business
Build trust and loyalty with your audience by inviting them to join the cause and help you make a difference in Nashville. You'll notice, in most cases, your customers are more than happy to help others — making them associate that great feeling of positively contributing to society with your brand.
Forty-six percent of consumers have donated to a cause on a retailer's website over the past 12 months, and most (75%) Americans say that they typically donate some amount of money to charity every year. About one-third (32%) say they've donated during an in-store checkout at a grocery store or drug store.
To help get you started, consider the following tips for getting consumers involved:
- Try incentives to get donations
- Create a specialty product that supports the cause when purchased
- Create a deal when purchased something goes to the cause
- Create content that builds awareness and shows the audience how you're helping
- Create social media campaigns for the cause so it's more engaging and shareable
Work with a Media Partner to Ramp up Cause Marketing Efforts
Delegating some of your workload to a media partner is effective in several ways, including:
- Saving time
- Saving money
- Making fewer mistakes when working with cause marketing experts
- Easily creating community connections
- Having more resources at your fingertips
Most importantly, working with a media partner like Meredith Nashville can be more effective than going at it alone. The benefits of cause marketing are limitless, but the harm of jumping in to support a cause just for the sake of increasing profits can be detrimental. Media experts keep you on track and in the clear on issues most important to your consumers.