Last week we explored Cause Marketing with examples of corporations contributing to better the world by joining forces with non-profits and charities, while at the same time increasing brand recognition and employee loyalty. These examples showed that people are apt to buy from companies that align themselves with causes they care about. Today’s blog will talk about practical ways for small business owners to incorporate Cause Marketing into their business model.
To begin with, be authentic. In order to be believable, choose a cause you are truly passionate about. Your compassion must be enough to energize the entire organization. Don’t join forces with your local animal shelter if you cringe every time a cat rubs up against you. At the same time, your cause must be a good fit for your company’s culture so that it can reinforce your brand. It must be relevant to your type of business while helping to further your business efforts. If you have a construction company, it would prove more beneficial to support a neighborhood revitalization project than a homeless shelter. At the same time, find a cause that matters to your target audience. They should be able to identify with your cause so they want to take action.
Now that you are being a socially responsible business owner and compassionate world citizen, brag about it. In a world crowded by misfortune and dismal economic news, people love to hear a feel-good story. Write about your cause on Facebook, make a video and post it on Youtube and write about it on a blog and link it back to your website. If you are a dentist who volunteers his services at a homeless shelter, call the local news station and have them meet you there. If you were looking for a dentist, would you choose the caring philanthropist you read about in the news or the one with the fancy overpriced practice? News agencies love to report about local businesses making a difference in the community. This can result in great free publicity for your company.
Infuse the cause into your business. Volunteer, serve on the board of directors, host events, donate a portion of your proceeds and encourage employees to become involved and reward them for it. Then communicate clearly to customers how and why your company is involved and how their purchase affects your efforts. Integrate this message into traditional advertising to get the word out.
You have probably spent years putting your heart and soul into making your business a profitable venture and it is a true reflection of the person you are. There is no shame in capitalizing from cause marketing if you are genuine. If more businesses had the same attitude the world would be a much nicer place. The more you give, the more you will get in return. In the words of Anthony Robbins, “Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”