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CSR: Cause-Related Marketing – An Innovative Approach

Cause-Related Marketing - P&G and Shiksha

Cause-Related marketing is a way of involving customers in the company’s CSR projects. For example, P&G India announces in its TV commercials that the customers can participate in contributing towards the education of the underprivileged with an organization called ‘Shiksha’ by purchasing P&G products. It’s where a charitable cause is linked to a purchase. Such marketing has grown from a $120 million industry in 1990 to $2 billion today.

This kind of marketing is extremely beneficial to the company for several reasons. The customers feel more attached to the brand as they are treated as charity givers for spending money on things they need for their everyday use. The companies have an opportunity to make them feel that they played a part in improving someone’s life.

Cause-related marketing can help the company gain preference over its competitors. The customers feel more invested, thus, they are more likely to stay loyal to the brand. The only draw-back of this marketing style is that it can’t really provide timely accurate information on impact. This makes it hard for the customers to actually trust the corporate. There is a fine difference between cause-related marketing and cause washing. Cause Washing is when feel-good promises are made by companies without evidence of the impact.

A good cause-related marketing campaign will ensure that these concerns are addressed and that the customers trust the company to do their best. It will not only measure the impacts of the campaign but also report it. This might sound something like this: “We impacted X communities by raising X amount of dollars and X number of people benefited in X way.” This could be reported in a press release, an advertisement, a commercial, on the company website, through social media, or published in the company’s corporate responsibility/sustainability report.

Besides protecting the company’s reputation, relaying the results of consumer’s good-deeds can solidify relationships. Authenticity is a very important keyword in marketing today. Good cause-related marketing is transparent, and won’t leave consumers wondering: ‘What happened to that $25 donation?’ It can engage consumers beyond purchases, giving them an opportunity to be a part of the company’s cause story, instead of just a mystified charity-giver.

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The CSR Journal Team