Cause marketing: A grossly untapped market with true social relevance

If your business or brand doesn’t stand for a cause, consumers may turn to your competitors.

According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 91 per cent of millennials would switch brands choosing the one associated with a cause and two-thirds use social media to voice opinions and engage around CSR.

Millennials, millennial founders and their startups, in a short period of time, have already built game-changing, mega-successful social enterprises and contributed to some of the most successful social-driven campaigns.

Cause marketing has evolved and taken on many diverse faces anywhere from a simple yet hugely successful global campaign, from the “ice bucket challenge” to the response to the Syrian crisis by companies such as Uber and Arsenal, who are contributing to generate awareness and encouraging donations.

Relevance of the cause, allowance for personalisation and content shareability, combined with companies presenting a clear CSR vision is critical when it comes to a successful and fruitful partnership.

Responding to the cause

Thinking on your feet, being reactive as well as being proactive in a timely manner is crucial when it comes to “crisis” situations. Such immediate response with unexpected situations can show the true face of companies which take CSR seriously.

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time, with millions of people suffering. This has challenged a number of big companies to respond and shape the conversation of this very sensitive topic.

Billion-dollar tech startup Uber is acting in an agile and millennial way by launching “UberGIVING”. In partnership with Save the Children, this pan-European initiative, available in 20 countries offers a free service, collecting donations and taking then to local shops.

The funds raised from all sales are used to fund Save The Children’s work, and their Child Refugee Crisis Appeal which supports thousands of children affected by the refugee crisis. Uber claims they have “collected enough donations to fill ten shipping containers”.

This crisis has also seen Arsenal becoming the first Premier League team to seriously step up their efforts to help Syrian refugees. The club announced that £1 from every ticket sold at one of their football matches , would go to the Save the Children charity.

Read more on millennials:

Social cause engraved in company DNA

“Social enterprise is now mainstream. In years past, it was a niche offshoot of the non-profit world. Today, it is front and centre,” said Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO, Warby Parker.

Warby Parker is what is known as a one-for-one business. The model is simple – for every product sold, another is donated to someone in need – “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair”. This was pioneered most successfully by shoe manufacturers such as TOMS who, since 2006, has put ten million pairs shoes on children’s feet in over 60 countries.
Warby Parker has seen a meteoric rise and is now the number one glasses supplier to hipsters in their 20s. Having distributed one million pairs of eyeglasses to people in need, the company is valued at $1.2bn, as of April 2015.

Unlike a standalone campaign this is a great example of a startup with social and cause marketing engraved in their DNA.

Continue reading on the next page as we review the success of the ice bucket challenge and the no makeup selfie.

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