According to Engage for Good (formally the Cause Marketing Forum),
Whether your focus is cause or business or both, you're bound to run into a sea of new terms and a variety of interpretations of the term, "cause marketing."
Cause Marketing encompasses a wide variety of commercial activity that aligns a company or brand with a cause to generate business and social benefits. Cause marketing is not corporate philanthropy, the giving (without expectation of direct corporate gain) of charitable and in-kind grants by companies or their corporate foundations.
Increased revenue • Enhanced visibility of the cause or the nonprofit’s message • Increased volunteer pool • Access to new audiences • Connections to the corporation’s network of employees, suppliers, distributors, and other contacts • Expertise in marketing, strategy development, and other corporate experience.
According to Cone Communications/Ebiquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study, given similar price and quality, 90% of consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause.
CAUSE MARKETING PIONEERS
MARRIOTT & THE MARCH OF DIMES
As one of the first "Cause Marketing” campaigns in 1976, Marriott’s objective was to generate highly cost-effective public relations and media coverage for the opening of Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, CA.
The March of Dimes' objective was to significantly increase overall donations for their pledge walk and incent their fundraisers to meet a given deadline.
The promotion was conducted simultaneously in 67 cities throughout the Western United States and exceeded all goals to become the most successful promotion in the history of Chapters West of the March of Dimes who received $2.5 million in donations (a 40% increase) by their deadline.
The promotion also resulted in a record-breaking opening day for Great America, attended by 2.2 million people and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity.
FAMOUS AMOS COOKIES & LITERACY VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA
Another early example of a cause-related marketing campaign was initiated in 1979 by Rosica, Mulhern & Associates for Famous Amos cookies.
In this campaign, Wally Amos became the National Spokesperson for the Literacy Volunteers of America. According to the organization, "Wally has alerted more people to the illiteracy problem than any other person in history."
This strategic cause-marketing tie-in helped to tell the Famous Amos Cookie story while maintaining visibility and is responsible for many new and expanded literacy programs. This case study is now used in university classrooms nationwide as an example of successful "cause-related marketing."
AMERICAN EXPRESS & THE STATUE OF LIBERTY RESTORATION PROJECT
American Express entered the scene in 1983 with its iconic Statue of Liberty Restoration project. Within the campaign period, every American Express card transaction unlocked a penny toward the effort and for each new card issued, a dollar was given to the preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Over a four-month period, $1.75 million was raised for restoration, new users grew by 17% and transaction activity jumped 28%.
In today’s challenging economic environment, nonprofit leaders recognize the need to diversify funding sources and develop business alliances that enable them to more effectively and efficiently accomplish their missions.