How to leverage cause marketing in online reputation management

How to leverage cause marketing in online reputation management

Cause marketing is a powerful tool when it comes to online reputation management. In a struggling economy, consumers increasingly focus on how companies embrace social responsibility and work toward an important cause.

In fact, if a company is seen to do little to help make the world a better place, then the consumer is likely to turn their back and buy from a company who stands up and makes a change. According to the Cone Cause Evolution Survey, 87 percent of consumers would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause, so it is well worth the investment.

Supporting a non-profit can be mutually beneficial but knowing where to start and what type of campaign to launch can be tricky. Here are some ways that your company can do well by doing good.

Choose a Related Cause

Look into causes that are closely affiliated with your company, this will enable you to leverage the PR in line with your own products and services.  For example, since 2007 Carluccios has raised more than £1 million for Action for Hunger by donating 50p from their Penne Giardiniera dish.

Starbucks joined together with Conservation International (CI) to help farmers run more sustainable farming operations. It’s a partnership that has been running for more than 15 years and now Starbucks can boast 99 percent of their coffee as ethically sourced.

Define Your Goals

Cause marketing can be either a long term or short term commitment. Be clear about what your goal is so you can manage expectations with your non-profit organisation you have partnered with.  Expect to be transparent and flexible to make the project a success.

Whether you are wishing to make a difference or improve your brand image remember, you must remain authentic and sincere in your altruistic campaign. A consumer is more interested in a company’s desire to do good than make money.

Buy One, Give One

An alternative is to donate something other than money. TOMs shoes have a one-for-one policy offering a pair of shoes for a child in need for every pair bought by a customer. They also offer the customer a 10% discount on their first purchase.  They have a section on their website that clearly states what they donate and who they donate to.

Promote Employee Engagement

Cone Communications Employee Engagement study found that 74% of respondents they found their job more fulfilling when they are provided with ample opportunity to make a positive impact at work.  Give your employees paid time off to volunteer their services for a non-profit. Allow your team to get creative with ideas and make them feel involved.

On 1st October last year, Lilly employees took part in the company’s eighth annual Global Day of Service. Using the #WeAreLilly, they shared their stories of good deeds on Twitter.

Social Media

Use social media to humanise your brand and promote engagement. Make a stand, ask questions, run contests, give your consumers a reason to feel good about sharing or following your content.   Appeal to their philanthropic side, meeting their desire to make a difference.

Author Gyles Seward

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