Brands today strive harder than ever to rise above the din of conversations to make lasting impressions on their target audience. Aligning your brand with a social cause that is in sync with your values and goals has become an important way to attract and keep a growing fan base of followers.
After presenting to an organization of non-profits last week on the importance of branding for their marketing efforts, it occurred to me how many of them try to reach a broad audience with their specific appeal, rather than align themselves with business or personal brands that could elevate them faster to broader recognition.
Companies that are successful in partnering with their customers for social causes share similar traits. They start by considering their consumer’s purpose and needs (not just theirs), then engage them in a series of truly meaningful experiences that make an impression for a lifetime – not just a moment. That life-long impact creates a more meaningful bond with the brand, and ultimately results in benefits directly to the bottom-line.
Social cause marketing isn’t just another marketing fad, it’s an opportunity to re-think how you connect with your customers, and how you might create a process that delivers truly meaningful communications that have an impact forever.
If your brand is clearly defined, you’ll have a core set of values you can easily communicate. When you align those values with another cause that people already support, it’s another important validation that your part of their tribe and culture. Social media allows us to show our support with a simple click, which is a perfect opportunity to open the door to a much deeper relationship. By creating messaging and online resources that align with the right cause, you’ll not only increase your brand’s awareness, but you’ll drive action and inspire others to follow your lead – which in turn strengthens your brand’s online appeal.
Finding The Right Fit
Your cause doesn’t need to come by an already established formal organization or nonprofit. The key is identifying a cause that your brand and others can eagerly support. The key is to find a connection between your brand and a cause that makes sense – especially to your specific audience.
Start by asking yourself what are the things your service or product is invested in for the long run. What do you really believe in? What type of belief would inspire others to buy your products/services and support a cause at the same time? While the process may seem a little callous at first, it’s critical to take into consideration how to partner with your cause in a way that benefits everyone – especially your brand.
Align The Messages
Ask yourself a few key questions before you commit to a cause. Where is your brand now, and where does it want to be? By aspiring to what you want to become, you begin the motivation for uplifting the partnership between your brand, and your cause. Focus on becoming inspirational and sharing stories that can resonate with your specific audience, and entice them to share with their circles of friends.
What can your cause engagement do to really inspire people? What stories can you create that will undoubtedly be shared with your friends and their friends?
Resist the temptation to insert your message into the cause. Authentic cause relationships must be honestly transparent. Once your audience gets an inkling of an idea that you’re using the cause simple to benefit your brand – the benefits vanish.
However, once you engage the right partnership and align your campaign messaging with their cause, you’ll create something that resonates with your audience…not simply more information for them. Be sure to stay focused, and don’t forget to exercise control to keep your messaging on task.
Here’s Your Chance To Think Big – Really Big
The smallest campaign can catch a wave of support if it’s properly positioned and delivered. Social media enables even the smallest cause campaign to go viral – and it doesn’t take much other than transparency and honesty to reach thousands of supporters with very little investment. While you’re building that relationship, don’t forget to dream big, and inspire others to follow that dream.
Now is not the time to think solely about your brand’s engagement – dream of how big you might grow your cause related campaign and how best to work toward that together for everyone’s mutual benefit.
What causes is your brand aligned with? Can you share an example of how cause marketing has worked for your brand?