Brand image is everything in today’s highly competitive business environment and 24/7 information cycle. Regardless of your industry, you need a brand strategy to stand out among the noise and capture customers’ attention.
In 2020, beauty company The Body Shop made a decision to start a campaign to thank healthcare workers for their commitment during the Covid-19 pandemic. The initiative called ”Time To Care” included partnering with shelters and assisted living communities to donate cleansing supplies, like body and hand soap to those critical workers. This is a great example of cause-related marketing.
SO WHAT IS CAUSE MARKETING?
Defined by Wikipedia, “cause marketing is marketing done by a for-profit business that seeks to both increase profits and to better society in accordance with corporate social responsibility, such as by including activist messages in advertising.”
Cause marketing is a great way for any company to enhance the perception of the brand. Back in the 80’s, when I was working for a personal injury law firm, it was one of my biggest challenges and successes to elevate the company’s image from “ambulance chasers” to “lawyers who care.” This involved a two part strategy including running testimonial ads and introducing the law firm’s “Safe Ride Home” campaign offering free cab rides between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to prevent drinking and driving.
Additionally to improving a brand’s image and customer loyalty, cause-related marketing is an excellent opportunity for free publicity. Remember the old adage: “Pay for advertising and pray for publicity.” Depending on your market size, free publicity can translate into thousands and even hundreds of thousands of free mentions by the media and the internet.
The history of cause marketing, like most things that we do not personally see can be debated. What we do know, is that historians say it began in the 1970’s when Bruce Burtch organized fundraisers between the Marriott Corporation and the March of Dimes. However, I believe it dates back to the 60’s with the first Jerry Lewis Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. During the telethon corporate executives stood on stage with gigantic checks pledging large sums of money to “Jerry’s Kids.”
Regardless of who, when, or where it began, cause marketing is here to stay. Some of the more recent examples include:
The Ad Council’s transmedia campaign asking internet users to use the hashtag #LoveHasNoLabels to tag their photos. The video went viral and accumulated over 40 million views. Thousands of social network users also add a graphic overlay to their personal photos to show support for equality.
One that also quickly comes to mind is “Small Business Saturday” launched by American Express back in 2010 to support small, local businesses. IN 2012, approximately 73 million people went out to shop at small businesses, and over 1,0000 neighborhoods signed up to support the day in 2013.
Another highly visible cause-marketing campaign was launched in 2012 by the New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation to promote over 30,000 nonprofit organizations around the world. Held annually after Cyber Monday and Black Friday, #GivingTuesday continues to raise funds for charitable organizations around the world.
What do these three campaigns have in common? Longevity. If you are going to create a cause-related marketing campaign, it is important to pick a cause that you are passionate about and one that makes sense for your brand. If there is no connection between your cause and brand, consumers may be confused and worse, they may see it as your company exploiting a cause of free publicity. Thus doing just the opposite of a successful cause marketing campaign.
If you have questions or what to brainstorm about developing a cause marketing campaign for your brand, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Instagram and facebook.
Communication within social networks have increased significantly during the pandemic. Facebook saw a 50% increase in messaging within countries hit hardest by the virus, with voice and video calling doubling over Messenger and WhatsApp. So what does that mean for small businesses fighting to survive during this unprecedented event in our history? Simple: If you want to stay relevant, increase brand awareness, gain new customers, and stay profitable, you need to use social media marketing.
Social media marketing utilizes social media platforms to connect with consumers to build brands, drive website traffic, and garnish sales. To achieve this, you need to publish great content, listen to and engage with your followers, run social media ads, and analyze your results.
At the moment, the major social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Choosing which platform to use depends on various factors such as your target market, what you have to offer, and your marketing goals. Having a social media content strategy and sticking to your plan will help you pick which platform or platforms are worth the time and effort.
For many small businesses owners, managing their social media can be overwhelming with everything else that they need to get done. If this sounds like you, I would highly recommend enlisting the help of someone for just a few hours a week to drive your social media. This can either be an existing employee, a freelance writer, marketing agency, or even a student. In this day-and-age, it should be pretty easy to find someone adept at social media for business.
In addition to creating great content, you should consider using a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Zoho. These tools enable you to automate, analyze, better control, and dive deeper into your social media accounts. These apps can post the same updates on all your social accounts, schedule future updates, and help you find the most appropriate and effective content to post and times to post it.
Not all social media management apps are the same. However, all of them offer a free trial period and some performance analytics. Several go further and let you analyze your followers and other details from your social media accounts.
In addition to using a social media management app, you should create a social media plan for optimum success. This plan should include your messaging, goals, and when you plan to post. To save time, you can and should schedule future posts and updates to provide your followers with consistent content. If your content is far and few between, you will lose followers quickly.
Last but not least, when using social media you need to create content that is useful as well as visually appealing. While nearly 90% of all companies engage in content marketing on some level, few manage to produce “share-worthy” content. The reason is simple. Most people who post on social media do so without thinking or creating a plan.
To learn how to create killer social media content, please click here to read our previous blog. As always, we welcome your comments and questions regarding this blog post.
Looking for more social media tips, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“We are all in this together” is fast becoming the catchphrase of 2020. Whoever thought we would have a pandemic of this magnitude that is slowing bringing the world to its knees. While this coronavirus is clearly a health crisis, it is also a wake up call, in particular, to small business owners. Times may have been tough before, but nothing like this. That said, if you love what you do, it is not the time to throw in the towel.
As a marketing consultant, the number 1 question I am being asked these days is “How can I make money during the pandemic?” The answer isn’t easy, nor appropriate for all situations. Oh, that I wish it were. But for those who have inventory to sell, or a service that can be provided online, there is hope. Here’s some tips to help your business survive the coronavirus attack.
Step 1: Use Social Media. If you already have accounts, make sure you are posting content at least once a day. If you do not have an account, start with one platform based on your customer demographics. If you don’t know who you customers are, take the time now to figure it out.
Step 2: Update Your Website. Make sure your website content is up-to-date. Delete any old information or products that you no longer carry. Add incentives for people to buy from you, either now or down the road. For example: Save 30% when you buy before April 15 or get a $100 gift certificate for just $85 with no expiration date. The key is to get cash as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Be Proactive. Think about ways you can save money. Yes, that may mean letting employees go. But before you start handing out pink slips to well-trained and loyal employees, consider reducing their hours or pay. Remember, the situation is temporary. Hiring new employees is time consuming and can be costly.
Note: Congress just approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses — and borrowers who maintain or restore their payrolls won’t have to pay back the loans. Click the link below for an easy, step-by-step Small Business Coronavirus Emergency Loan Guide here:
Step 4: Create Content. Writing a blog not only helps create loyal consumers, it also gives them a reason to come back to your website. Furthermore, blogging improves your website search engine ranking. If you are not adept at writing, there are countless ghost bloggers who may be out of work and would love to work with you.
Step 5: Be Intentional. Now is the time to really think about what it is you have to offer consumers. Make sure all your content reflects your company brand and benefits. If you are using social media, don’t just focus on selling. By the mere name of it, social media is intended to create relationships. Think of what personal information you are willing to share so that your audience can better connect with you.
Finally, while you may be frustrated and have every right to be, I encourage you to try to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m pretty confident there is one. So why not use this time as an opportunity to tackle some overdo projects. I personally have spent several hours reorganizing my files. It felt good.
Hang in there. Stay healthy and contact me if I can help you.