Cause-Related Marketing – From Charity to Improving Results

Published 16. 11. 2020

Many people believe that every good deed always comes back. But belief is not enough in business. That's why companies, instead of selfless charity, usually follow the path of cause-related marketing - a sophisticated charitable advertising campaign that can bring long-term profit in a targeted way. Without relying on karma.


The main purpose of the cause-related marketing campaign is to help or raise the profile of a charity campaign or a hot social issue. It is seldom possible to plan a campaign with the vision of immediate profit. So, let's start with the rather cynical question of why a company should invest in a charity campaign when there are more direct and effective ways to gain new customers.

Gone are the days when customers made decisions mainly on the basis of price. There are far more factors on an imaginary weighing pan that can outweigh a customer's purchasing decision. And it is the brand image supporting a good cause that is one of them. Customers like to identify with the brands whose products they use. Often, charity in an area close to the customer makes them switch to another brand. So, what is the magic of cause-related marketing?


Benefits of cause-related marketing

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Being different from the competition
  • Improving the brand image
  • Building relationships with customers and increasing their loyalty
  • Positive effect on employees’ work


How to come up with a credible campaign

Cause-related marketing is not a charity and you probably don't want "just" to dedicate your own time or money. This means raising the profile of the campaign. And in such a way that helps you make the best possible impression. How to achieve this?


  • Choose a project that is relevant to your brand

How customers accept it is absolutely crucial to the success of the campaign. Focus on the area that is closest to them. And most importantly, avoid thorny topics to which they could react negatively. Not everyone has the same opinion on environmental protection, homelessness, minorities, immigrants, and so on.


  • Collaborate with a trusted non-profit organization

Cooperation with a non-profit organization can significantly contribute to greater credibility of the campaign. But it doesn't have to be just internationally recognized organizations like Greenpeace or UNESCO. A smaller company can just as successfully cooperate with a local organization that does not have such a reputation, but instead arouses local patriotism and solves problems that affect people in a given locality personally.


  • Promote your intention

Making your campaign visible is the next step that a campaign cannot do without. And this is where you need to sell the story of why you chose the project or charity. How and to whom your company will help. It is important not to place the company's interests above the charitable purpose of the campaign.


Successful cause-related marketing campaigns

Theoretical knowledge is important, but the best source of inspiration is usually successful example of practice. So, let's look at the different types of cause-related marketing campaigns that have worked in the past.


  • AVON for healthy breasts

Among the most successful cause-related marketing campaigns are those that actively involve the target group. One of the most successful campaigns of this type in the long run is the well-known AVON march, which associates at least the same number of people with the brand as the fight against breast cancer. This is of course an ideal win-win situation.

However, organizing such an event is, of course, demanding, costly and currently even forbidden. If you want to create a campaign in which the target group is actively involved and increases awareness of your brand, an alternative is offered in the form of a challenge on social networks. We all certainly remember the ice bucket challenge. Although it was not associated with any commercial brand, if you manage to connect the challenge with the brand appropriately, the results can significantly exceed expectations.


  • Iceland and palm oil

To fight the wider competition, it is a far more effective strategy to be original than to follow in the same footsteps. The British supermarket chain Iceland has taken a bold and very costly step in this direction by starting to produce all of its branded products without palm oil. This certainly was appreciated by the customers who are bothered by the environmental impact of palm oil production.

In the huge competition of other chains, Iceland suddenly gained the image of organic trade, which others are trying hard to build with less clear campaigns. The commercial, which Iceland prepared in collaboration with Greenpeace and which was banned from the British television in particular as "too political", greatly contributed to this. The ban on did not hurt the campaign in any way, just on the contrary, but that is a different story. The important thing is that you should stand for your own vision and not always try to follow the competition. In future, the situation may change.



  • Masks, disinfectants, and other medical supplies

Donating products that can help homeless people, the sick, victims of natural disasters and the like, for example, is a very common way of helping. It is therefore more difficult to make yourself visible in this way than in the previous two examples. At the same time, this kind of help really helps. Like a financial gift, which at the same cost usually doesn't get as much response.

Nowadays, a truly worldwide boom in the production of masks, disinfectants and other medical supplies has broken out. If you currently have free capacities or resources for their production, charity can pay off. It is probably too early to evaluate these campaigns, but if reputable brands such as Nike, Decathlon, Zara, or BrewDog help in this way, there will certainly be something to it.


In conclusion

Cause-related marketing brings a win-win situation. Helping one side brings visibility to the other. In addition to the examples of the mentioned help, there are many other ways to help. Whatever campaign you come up with, always keep in mind that customers should feel good about shopping, watching ads, attending charities or simply associating your brand with charity.

This means that you need a good marketing strategy. eWay-Book Digital Marketing Step-by-Step can help you with it. And this is our gift for you.