What is Cause-Related Marketing? Tips, Examples

Nov 22, 2022 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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What’s the definition of cause marketing? What is cause marketing meaning? Cause-oriented marketing means a mutually beneficial collaboration system between a brand and a non-profit. Cause campaigns promote the brand’s products and the non-profit’s cause.

American Express coined the meaning of cause marketing and donated one cent to the restoration of the Statue of Liberty every time someone used its card through its cause oriented campaign. The fund it partnered with for the project raised $1.7 million for the work and American Express card usage increased by 27% with the cause-oriented marketing campaign.

Nonprofits can benefit from the fundraising and exposure the campaign has to offer. Such partnerships, however, must be carefully vetted as they can pose risks to both parties’ reputations.

However, when done right, cause-oriented marketing meaning when your brand works with a charitable organization can help you ride on the cause marketing wave and win accolades for you and your business. You need to create the right proposal and execute the same. Branding and marketing agencies too can use the tactic and sponsor things for a charity.

Businesses’ Benefits of Cause-Related Marketing

There are several benefits of cause-related marketing for businesses. Let’s dive into them.

1. Develop Social Responsibility

Let’s define the biggest benefit of cause-marketing campaigns. The greatest benefit associated with cause marketing is that businesses can benefit from the social capital arising from social responsibility. This is an age and time where social and environmental causes are at the fore, and customers want to buy from companies that are making a difference and fulfilling social responsibilities. This can be for any product be it a CRM, an expense reporting software, or anything else.

Most customers want to know what brands they love are doing to address environmental and social issues. As such, a marketing campaign that rallies around a cause show customers what your company is doing to improve society. What this does, in turn, is improves the corporate image of the brand.

Consumers today pay close attention to a brand’s actions. That’s why posting on social media about your cause campaign and sending email newsletters about the same is a great way for you to share the news to the world that the company cares and is socially responsible.

2. Increase Brand Loyalty

Supporting a non-profit for a good cause is a great way to boost brand awareness. 

Businesses that care about sustainability and social causes are the brands that consumers choose to stay loyal to.

Most of our buying decisions are driven by emotions. Perhaps that’s the reason why Zerobounce spruces up its blog with holiday campaign ideas like this post on Halloween email newsletter ideas.

That means cause marketing is a good way to ride on emotional marketing and show customers that your company is doing something to make a difference. Sharing efforts and involving customers and employees allows them to share your brand with others and increases brand awareness with word-of-mouth.

3. Boost Employee Morale

With everything that goes on around the world, people crave connections now more than ever. 

Rallying for a cause builds a better employee experience, and happier employees are your biggest loyalists.
Use cause campaigns to run fun interactive email promotions for your employees. Encourage them to visit virtual events with company-provided rewards cards to purchase from their favorite nonprofits.

4. Build Trusting Relationships

All relationships built on trust thrive. If consumers, employees, and the community around your brand don’t share a long-lasting relationship, no one else will trust your company.

Cause marketing campaigns can build true and lasting relationships with your company, consumers, and employees.

If you keep your promises, people will remember the kind of company you are in and ensure long-lasting relationships.

Best Cause-Related Marketing Campaign Examples

Below you will find several great examples of cause-related marketing campaigns from well-known brands.

WhatsYourName Campaign by Starbucks

Very few tv adverts have transgender persons on them. Starbucks realized this and launched their #WhatsYourName in 2020 – a campaign that shows us the journey of a young trans person who wants to change their name.

Drawing on the Starbucks experience where servers ask customers their names, the ad was close at heart to Starbucks and finds James finding acceptance and reassurance.


Image source: Starbucks

To produce the ad, Starbucks teamed up with Mermaid, a nonprofit. They donated £100,000 to Mermaids by selling a special edition mermaid cookie.

Starbucks’ sensitive and empowering portrayal and history of including became a leading example of a campaign done right.

Key Takeaways

  • When talking about sensitive issues, approach them in a sensitive light;
  • Understand it’s more about inclusion and acceptance than driving profits.

Ben & Jerry’s Cause Marketing Campaign

Ben & Jerry’s strategy for a cause was getting involved in the protests against police brutality.

To that end, Ben & Jerry’s went by the caption Silence is not an option. “The murder of George Floyd resulted from inhumane police brutality perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy,”— read the statement from Ben and Jerry’s.


Image source: Ben & Jerry’s

This isn’t a one-off example from Ben and Jerry’s. The brand in the past has talked about social issues through its ice cream flavors too. One of their latest ice cream flavors is Justice Remix’d which is dedicated to the idea of criminal justice reform. They released another flavor— Pecan resists that hinted at the discriminatory policies of the Trump regime.

Key Takeaways

  • One-fifth of their marketing budget is for advertising campaign, sponsorship, and branding activities that go to social issues;
  • It’s essential to take a consistent stand against social issues.

Also read: Email Advertising: How to Create Newsletter Ads?

Toms Shoes Cause Marketing Campaign

Source: Cause Marketing Youtube Channel

Many large companies are a part of cause marketing. But one company that sticks to people’s minds is Toms Shoes. Toms was founded in 2006 on a business model that focuses on giving back.

They follow the one-for-one model, where they promise to deliver a new pair of shoes to a child for free on every sale of their retail product.

The model is successful and allows TOMs to give back to the less fortunate in our society.

To celebrate its nine-year anniversary, TOMS launched a new initiative called One day without shoes. This was aimed at raising awareness regarding children’s health and education.

They used Instagram to push the initiative, claiming that for every photo of a child with bare feet, they will get new shoes. For participation, you don’t need to buy TOMS shows.

This initiative was a truly selfless undertaking, and they got quite a bit of exposure with these efforts. 

Key Takeaways

  • If possible base your entire promotional marketing strategy around a cause. This helps people identify with you;
  • Truly selfless acts can propel your business to fresh success.

Share a Coke Campaign from Coca Cola

In June, Coke launched its Share a Coke campaign in the U.S. using 250 of the most common U.S. millennial names to market its product. The campaign was a monstrous success within the United States.

As per a report in the Wall Street Journal, the campaign directly resulted in over 125,000 social media posts that mentioned: “Share a Coke” between June and July 2014.

Source: Coca Cola Youtube Channel

Over 353,000 virtual bottles of coke were shared through Coke’s site dedicated to the campaign.

The success of the U.S. campaign convinced them to replicate a similar campaign in Australia and New Zealand.

During the trial period in Australia, it resulted in a 7% increase in the consumption of Coca-Cola products.

The reason for the success was the appeal among individual consumers.

A person’s name is the sweetest sound in the world. And that’s what Coca-Cola did. They grabbed attention by putting people’s names directly on their products. This strategy isn’t always realistic or easy, but it’s important to first think about how your campaign will be perceived at the individual level. Another memorable aspect of the ad is the ability to draw on narrative constructs.

The campaign offers multiple opportunities for telling your story, and ads for telling the story are more effective

Key Takeaways

  • Whenever possible, personalize your campaigns as Coca-Cola did;
  • Effectively use social media to promote your cause campaigns.

Billie: Project Body Hair Cause Marketing Campaign

Bille sells razors and feminine care products. In 2019 they introduced Project Body Hair as a means to celebrate body hair in women.

The campaign aimed to create a conversation about female beauty standards and threw the spotlight on women’s razor brands that didn’t show body hair.

The video challenged traditional notions of beauty, showed body hair, and normalized the same. They also have a hashtag where women can share their pictures with body hair. They display these photos on their public social media channels


Image source: Billie

Key Takeaways

  • Billie cleverly created a campaign around its chief product, razor blades;
  • Tying the campaign to the core product helped create more demand for the product.


BoxLunch Cause Marketing


Image source: Feeding America

BoxLunch is a pop culture retail store. Its entire business model revolves around cause marketing. The corporate donates a meal to someone in need through the charity— Feeding America. For every $10 spent at every store location and online. Another example of a cause marketing initiative is when cashiers and prompts ask customers to round up their total to their nearest dollar value to provide even more meals to the needy.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify a problem and incorporate the solution in your business model just like BoxLunch does;
  • They make participation easy by giving an option for shoppers to round up their bills to the nearest dollar value.

Steps to Creating a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign

Here are all the steps to create a cause-related marketing plan.

1. Select an Appealing Cause for your Campaign

When creating a cause marketing campaign, choose a cause your employees can rally behind emotionally. Your staff members work with extra gusto and passion when they feel engaged.

2. Set a Goal

Set a goal to get the results you want. Doing this takes only one step.

3. Strategically Select a Good Time for the Campaign

The advice here is to be on time. A good time for your event helps you base it on corporate schedules and other market factors.

Set up a campaign using optimal resources and devote enough time to the campaign.

4. Get your Customers Involved

Cause marketing doesn’t get over after you write a check. You must involve yourself and involve your customers, as customer involvement is a part of making the most of this. A proven way to get customers involved is by adding relevant hashtags to their photos to generate interest and improve the number of responses you are getting. It also results in lead generation, which means business growth.

5. Use a Variety of Media to Reach the Most People

Use different social media tools to increase its odds of success. It’s difficult to know which platform will convert best, so ideally, test several of them. Moreover, top companies like Facebook or Instagram collect valuable personal data from users, allowing you to target the right audience.

6. Ensure the Call-to-Action is Clear, Upbeat, and Easy to Follow

It only happens once someone takes action. The goal here is to engage donors and consumers to participate in a good cause. A well-written call to action only aids the process.

You must touch people emotionally to inspire them to take action.

Author bio 

George is a blogger and writer at Kamayobloggers.com, a site he started to share cutting-edge marketing advice.

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