In today’s world, everyone wants to feel as if they are contributing to the greater good. Brands and companies are recognizing this need and utilizing cause marketing to help bring the ‘greater good’ to everyday shopping and consumption activities.

So, what is ‘cause marketing’? As defined by Brandwatch, “cause marketing, also called cause-related marketing, refers to two related but slightly different forms of marketing.

The first involves a collaborative effort between a for-profit brand and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The term can also be used in a more general sense to refer to marketing programs by for-profit brands based around a social or charitable cause.” (Brandwatch).Popular examples of cause marketing come from the shoe company ‘Toms’, where they donate a pair of shoes for every pair bought. Customers feel good when they know that their everyday purchase makes a difference.

This concept has been around for some time but has been re-popularized by Gen Z and younger millennials. These customers want to support and shop brands that stand for something and hone a sense of connection between company and customer. This need is so great that “nine out of ten Gen Zers feel that companies need to address social issues” (SheerID).

This goes way past just donating sums of money, Sheerid also explained that 64% of customers say that integrated social good is most important. If companies and brands want to grasp these Gen Zers, this cannot be overlooked.

Engaging in cause marketing is vital for a brand’s success, especially since 65% of customers say that they would boycott companies based on their stand on social issues (Adlucent). Brand’s must demonstrate their activism and support for meaningful causes, simply staying silent or neutral is no longer an option.

Still curious about cause marketing? Here are some examples of brands that got it right:

1. Nike, You Can’t Stop UsNike knows a thing or two when it comes to making impactful statements. Their newest cause marketing campaign, “You can’t stop us”, is no different. Highlighting inclusion and strength during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nike conveys the message that coming together as one nation is key to being successful. 

Dove + Men Care, Commit to Care.Dove is known for promoting well-being, inclusivity, and is usually pushing industry beauty standards. The brand’s newest campaign, ‘Commit to Care’ is no different. The campaign promotes inclusivity against racial injustice of black men. The brand urges people to sign the petition linked and uses the brand’s voice to explain how the community can become advocates and partners in this fight for justice. 

Uber, Thank You for Not Riding. Uber’s cause marketing campaign highlights the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 lockdowns. The brand urges users to not ride, to stay home, and to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the brand uses this campaign to pledge support by “supporting healthcare workers, feeding first responders, helping local communities”.

Thinking about starting a cause marketing campaign? Here are some things to keep in mind. 

Be authentic and genuine. Choose causes and partners that make sense for your brand. These partnerships should be based on real affinities and show the customer’s who you are.  

Encourage participation. The best cause marketing involves customer participation. They want to feel as if they are personally involved, and can see the difference they are making.

Timing matters. Don’t wait around for social issues to come and go. Be opinionated now and show your customers that you have an opinion and are active in the social good community. 


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