Christmas is a Great Time for Cause Based Marketing: Pro’s and Con’s

Cause Marketing is a great opportunity for people to build a favorable opinion of your dealership and give back at the same time. It doesn’t take a marketing degree to recognize that this type of campaign can be a valuable asset to your dealership. However, if done incorrectly, your efforts can yield unfavorable results. Here are some pros and cons of cause marketing and a few tips on how to avoid the downfalls.

Pros: Increased Sales According to Cone’s 2010 Cause Evolution Study, 80% of consumers are willing to switch from one brand to another brand that is about the same price and quality, if the other brand is associated with a good cause. In addition, the study also revealed that 61% of American consumers are willing to try a new brand or one they’ve never heard of if it’s associated with a cause. Consumers these days are longing for brands that interact on a much deeper level with causes. They value a company that shows commitment to a noble cause and they are willing to give your product or service a chance if you demonstrate genuine engagement with your nonprofit counterpart.

Better Dealership Image The great public relations and word of mouth that stems from a cause marketing campaign is priceless. This positive buzz generated from the campaign leads consumers to viewing you as a more trustworthy company. Having a good corporate image will help when trying to acquire new talent and retain your employees. For example, you can use your commitment to a cause as a selling point to potential employees. It shows them you have respectable company values and gives current employees a reason to be proud of where they work.

Boost Company Morale Let employees be involved with all aspects of the campaign. Being connected to the campaign will make them feel good about their work and company as a whole. For example, allow employees to submit nominations for causes they would like the company to get involved with. This will help them feel that their opinion is valued. If one of the suggested nonprofits is selected, you will have a personable story behind the partnership to publish in future company communications. Not to mention, more positive PR there. This creates a sense of worth and community, which will boost morale around the office. Employees that are satisfied with their jobs work harder and more efficiently.

Cons: Speculation of Superficial Motives There’s always a flip side, with great opportunities comes the potential for big time failures as well. Company’s motives are a very important factor in the realm of cause marketing. That wonderfully positive PR and image enhancement can be missed or even detract from your image if you come across as fake.

You have to truly commit to the project as well. Consumers can sense superficiality and it can harm their perception of your company if you don’t carry your campaign the right way. Cause marketing involves much more than just contributing money. While social media is a good tool to utilize, you can’t post videos and links to the nonprofit on your fan page and expect to call it good. You have to commit in all aspects of your product or service. This can mean anything from changing packaging labels to incorporating the nonprofit in your public relations and advertising. To further show your dedication, you could also make a long-term pledge to focus on fixing the issue at hand over time.

Bad PR by Association Choose your nonprofit partner wisely. Once their name is attached to yours, by association you experience the highs and the lows of their actions. It looks bad for the both of you if they do something that harms their image while you’re doing business with them. This holds true even if your company has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

A sure way to avoid this is to do your research. Know the nonprofit you are getting involved with inside and out before you sign on to anything. It’s best to keep looking if they’re mixed up in any lawsuits or already have bad PR around their name. Also, set up a preliminary meeting to discuss what direction they are going in and where you fall in their plans. Make sure you are onboard with what’s to come in the near future and express any concerns you may have so they can be worked out.

Purchasing Factors It’s no surprise many companies are tied to a cause these days. Why wouldn’t they be when consumers are eager to buy up products with a feel good price tag? But are they really that willing? The same Cause Evolution Study cited earlier, also found that only 19% of consumers say they would pay more for a product that supports a cause.

The key phrase in that statistic is “pay more.” Most consumers are willing to switch if the price tag isn’t considerably higher than the non-cause supporting brand. Increasing price on a product to make up the portion you are donating is a poor strategy. In addition, consider supporting a cause that is directly tied to the community your business operates in. The Cone study confirmed that 46% of Americans believe companies should prioritize support based on issues that affect the quality of life locally and in local communities. Focusing on a local issue will help you directly get involved with your community and build relationships where it matters most.

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