Cause marketing

When Marketing Matters Most: 5 Ways Cause Marketing can Change the World

As part of our focus on the future, we had a look at the potential power of cause marketing. The Wikipedia definition is “a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.” While some may question the motives of brands that align themselves with a cause — and a degree of healthy scepticism is certainly warranted here — there is little doubt that many of these campaigns do important work.

At its best, cause marketing can actually have a significant and positive impact on the future. Which is good news for us, as Forbes identified Canada as cause marketing leaders and a “consumer-facing corporate citizenship powerhouse.”

How can sincere cause marketing efforts change our world for the better?

Create awareness

Social media is a powerful tool for both brands and doing good. Bell Let’s Talk Day was just a few days ago. Each year on January 27, Bell encourages millions of Canadians to break the silence and stigma around mental illness. By working with celebrities, high-profile athletes and media personalities and offering to donate 5 cents per text, call, Facebook share and #BellLetsTalk tweet, it raised almost $6.3 million this year alone. Since 2010, Bell has been able to commit $100 million to support mental health initiatives across Canada.

Drive fundraising

Let’s face it — nothing helps organizations make a real difference quite like cold, hard cash. Partnering with (RED), some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Apple and Starbucks, are committed to raising money on World AIDS Day for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. By donating 10 cents per handcrafted beverage sold in participating Canadian and US stores, Starbucks alone has raised $12 million.

Change perceptions and empower individuals

Marketers spend a great deal to influence consumer’s perceptions of brands. It’s only fitting that some should be allocated to empower consumers’ perceptions of themselves. After a study showed only 2% of women think of themselves as beautiful, Unilever launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in support of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. The award-winning campaign is designed to combat the unattainable standards of beauty depicted in the magazines and advertising around the world, and empower women everywhere to embrace their bodies as beautiful, not in spite of, but because of their imperfections.

Provide opportunities

New opportunities can change both your worldview and your prospects. Two Canadian business juggernauts exemplify the power of cause marketing.

The first Wednesday in June is Tim Hortons Camp Day, when franchisees donate 100% of coffee sales to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. In 2015 alone, it raised $12.4 million and since 1974, Tim Horton’s has sent more than 215,000 economically disadvantaged kids to camp.

Not to be outdone, Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity just celebrated 10 years of helping kids in financial need get involved in sports. Canada’s largest retailer has provided financial support to help over 750,000 disadvantaged kids get involved in youth sports.

Save the planet and/or its inhabitants

Besides maybe seals, who doesn’t like polar bears? Coca-Cola is working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help create a wildlife preserve for polar bears endangered by disappearing arctic sea ice. Since 2011, the Arctic Home campaign has raised awareness and over $3 million. According to the company, WWF will use the funds to “work with the Inuit and other local residents to manage an area high in the Arctic” where sea ice is projected to last the longest.

So there you have it. Turns out marketing isn’t all bad, after all. In fact, in the right hands, it has the power to shape the future in culturally, socio-economically and environmentally important ways. That actually seems like a pretty decent return for a little brand loyalty.

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