You see it everywhere! Companies and brands aligning with causes. And promoting it, everywhere. In advertising. In office and retail locations. On packaging labels. In new product promotions. All over social media. Even sometimes wrapped up in the brand itself. Anything to sell a product or service, right?
Feeling a little left out? Not sure where to begin? Not sure cause marketing is a fit for your company? Don’t worry. If you’ve come down with a case of cause marketing confusion, you’re in good company. Literally. Plenty of top-notch businesses have yet to add cause marketing to their to-do lists. For very good reasons, too. What if the company selects a cause that backfires, making customers and employees mad instead of happy? What if the cause has a bad reputation you weren’t aware of? What if the company spends more money on the cause marketing parts of the product or service than the profit it makes? All very good questions!
Maybe it’s time to think outside of the box. Consider this innovative twist on cause marketing developed by Hermes Landscaping in Lenexa, Kansas. Last year, the company launched its Herb of the Month program to express gratitude to the businesses and families who help the company thrive. Each month, the customer service and sales teams personally deliver organic herbs, in eco-friendly biodegradable planters, to customers and friends, complete with a description of the herb and its special properties. But here’s the best part. There’s not a drop of direct marketing involved in this cause marketing program. It’s all a gift. The herb doesn’t come with a sales pitch or a flyer outlining services, and no ask is made of the customer with the delivery of the herb. That said, of course the managers and leadership at Hermes Landscaping are savvy enough to know that generosity empowers the giver, and that doing good will help the business grow.
So, in the end, a case of cause marketing confusion might turn out to be a very good thing. It means you are taking your time, weighing your options, looking at return on investment, determining whether your business really needs cause marketing as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The answer may be yes. The answer may be no. The key is to make sure any program you develop is genuine, authentic, and created out of a true desire to enrich the lives of others. After all, that’s what CSR is all about.
How do you know your company needs a formula for CSR success? If you’ve come down with a case of cause marketing confusion, congratulations. Being thoughtful about how you use causes in your marketing means you’re in good company. Forward-thinking businesses know better than to follow a trend just to follow a trend.
Make it good and make it real.