Consumers have high expectations when it comes to social and environmental activism. Even if your business has great products, excellent customer service, and a killer video marketing strategy, if it lacks empathy and social awareness, your company is likely to fall short in the eyes of an increasingly conscious audience.
After the entire globe suffered tremendous loss due to the pandemic, we are seeing a dramatic paradigm shift in how people want to do business. People are connecting with companies in new ways as we all explore the issues and values of people around the world.
The most successful marketing campaigns in the past decade have sought to show consumers the values that a brand upholds, rather than just the value they provide to their customers.
Blending a social cause into your content marketing workflow and putting your company’s values out there can make brands feel vulnerable, but that’s okay. This vulnerability is exactly the kind of conscientiousness that consumers are looking for in brands today.
The Value of Having Values
For startups and entrepreneurs, the value of having values is pretty clear: it allows you to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketing landscape. In addition, taking a stand on a prominent social cause can resonate with key customer groups, especially those aged 18-34 who increasingly report that they preferentially buy products from socially responsible companies.
People are interested in what brands have to say and are looking for information on prominent social issues online. Having a strong set of values that your company shares openly can also have an effect on your website’s SEO rankings on Google.
But it’s not just startups who can benefit from signaling their values. It’s never too late for long-standing businesses to address their values and adjust them as they learn more about the social issues that affect consumers today.
In this new era of social responsibility, not taking any action at all and choosing to stay out of pressing social problems can end up costing companies.
‘Cause marketing’ is now the norm and audiences want to know that the brands they love share the same desire to make the world a better place for everyone by supporting an important cause.
How To Incorporate a Social Cause Into Your Marketing Strategy
All this said, many brands find it difficult to blend a social cause into their marketing strategy. But there are some key principles to doing so.
After you’ve discovered a cause that has meaning to your company that you can advocate for and incorporate in your marketing strategy, you might notice that there are other startups, entrepreneurs, and organizations that are also keyed in on the same social causes. Instead of seeing it as a contest of who can do the most good, consider creating a business partnership.
Finding a channel partner can help both parties achieve new levels of success and an even greater ability to spread awareness about the issues that matter most. There are many ways that a company can leverage a business partnership such as advertising, sales, and outreach. It’s true that the more minds that are working together toward a common goal, the greater the success and reward.
Find Your Cause
When seeking a cause to stand behind as a company, it’s important to remember that your cause doesn’t have to be anything to do with the kinds of products and services that you provide. If you make accountancy software, for instance, it’s not obvious that you should be taking a stance on racial equality.
The first step in incorporating a social cause into your marketing is often to find out what is important to your employees. Many of them may be strong advocates for causes that you may not have considered a possibility. Reach out to them either in-person or via email. Keep in mind that according to recent studies, over 86% of surveyed employees have indicated that email is their favorite mode of communication. Employees are the beating heart of an organization, so it’s important to work with them and see what causes affect them in their personal lives.
Next, look around the communities that your audience represents. What social issues are important to the people in your neighborhood? When customers can see that your company is actively investing in the lives and success of people in their communities you start building relationships.
Focus on Authenticity
Standing behind a social cause will definitely help your business and audience grow. You may even find that your company has centered itself as an activist, instigating change and helping others achieve social justice. However, if you are only incorporating social causes into your marketing strategy for sales and followers, then you aren’t doing it right.
When you do the right thing for the wrong reason, the message will eventually become stale and consumers will not fall for the facade forever. Make an effort to be 100% authentic in your brand messaging and allow that to carry over into your business practices as well.
For example, if your company starts a campaign encouraging people to recycle, then start a company wide recycling program to help contribute to the cause. If you decide to focus on diversity marketing in an effort to unify communities, then hire people from diverse backgrounds. Being authentic really isn’t that difficult, it’s just a matter of projecting the right image through acting on your intentions to do good for others.
Start a Conversation
Now it’s time to start blending the social cause into your digital marketing. There is a Golden Rule when it comes to doing this: try not to preach to your customers. Telling your followers what they should think is a quick way to annoy them and to build resentment toward your brand. Instead, start a conversation.
Some of the most successful and socially conscious campaigns of the past few years have been those in which brands didn’t so much take a stand, but provide their customers with the opportunity to air their views. Ask questions in your marketing campaigns that get consumers thinking about what is important to them and the meaning that certain social issues hold for others.
For example, brands like Nike have used social causes in their marketing campaigns, voicing its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and Tommy Hilfiger’s campaign was aimed to help businesses in the creative industry recover from the pandemic.
There are tons of marketing tools available to make building a new campaign and integrating it with your current image seamlessly. According to Brisbane-based marketing expert Nathan Finch of Best Web Hosting Australia, most website builders incorporate marketing tools into their services.
Modern web builders offer “a lot that online business owners may find beneficial, like search engine optimization tools, unlimited storage for photos or product data, and email marketing automation tools,” says Finch.
Real change doesn’t happen unless people are comfortable openly discussing the thoughts and emotions behind their actions and choices. It all starts with people having casual conversations with their friends and family about serious issues. People look to social media and advertising to see what their favorite brands are saying, and it’s becoming increasingly important that the brands they love are saying things that matter.
Blending a social cause into marketing campaigns can significantly boost your brand visibility, increase your following, and bring tangible value to your company. So find a cause that your organization can stand behind, partner up with other businesses that want to make a difference, start meaningful conversations with your customers, and let your authenticity drive your next marketing campaign.