cause marketing

Cause-Related Marketing: Are They Buying it?

The Props and Flops of Cause-Related Marketing

Cause-related marketing, or “cause marketing,” is a marketing strategy where a company partners with a non-profit organization or charity to raise money for a specific cause. Both parties mutually benefit from this partnership.

Cause marketing has become more common in marketing strategies in the past decade than ever before. Companies are expected, now more than ever, to use their platform to make social or environmental changes.

The one thing many business owners have on their minds is whether or not cause marketing actually works. The answer depends on how well your cause marketing strategy is executed. Before jumping on the cause marketing bandwagon, determine whether or not a cause marketing strategy is right for your company.

Consumer Truth vs. Social Desirability Bias

A survey showed nearly 90 percent of consumers claim they would switch brands for one that is partnered with a charity. Before jumping to conclusions, remember that surveys can be misleading. Did the survey conductors find the results by researching how many consumers actually switched to a new brand before and after a company began its cause marketing campaign? More than likely, no. It’s important to be aware that surveys gather general information, and what people say they would do when is not necessarily what they actually would do.survey

Asking a consumer if he or she would switch brands if another company that offered the same product partnered with a charity is a sensitive question that can lead to social desirability bias in survey respondents. This sort of bias makes respondents answer survey questions in a way that would be viewed more favorably by others.

In a study, researchers found that 65 percent of respondents over-reported the amount they donated to a charity. If we did a quick statistical calculation for the social desirability bias in  the cause marketing survey using that percentage, out of the 90 percent of consumers who claimed they would switch brands for a charitable cause, 58.5 percent had most likely over-reported and would not, in fact, switch brands.

Genuine Care vs. Publicity Stunt

Partnering with a nonprofit organization can add a lot of value to your company if done correctly. The marketing strategy should be centered around the cause and making a positive impact rather than how it would make your company image look. One reason cause-marketing may not work is when the ethical or social reputation of a company does not suit the distinct cause.

When a company brands itself as a supporter of a cause, the cause should be relevant to the public and the company. For example, Reebok sponsors a walking marathon called AVON 39 that raises money to end breast cancer. With Reebok being an athletic apparel company, sponsoring a walkathon fits perfectly with its brand and service.

People will be able to tell the difference between a company that genuinely cares about a cause and one using cause marketing as a public relations stunt. To create a successful cause marketing strategy, an authentic and honest campaign is a must.

Donation vs. Direct Impact

Over the past few years, people have become skeptical of companies that have pledged to donate a percentage of its sales to a cause. People have even grown wary of donating a dollar to a charity at the grocery store checkout.toms shoes marketing

Creating a cause marketing strategy that aims to have a direct impact on a social or environmental issue is much more transparent than money donations to a cause. TOMS Shoes is one of the best examples of cause marketing that makes a direct impact. For every pair of TOMS you buy, the company donates another pair to a child in need. The genuine dedication the company has to its cause is what makes the cause marketing campaign successful.

So, Does it Really Work?

The answer really depends on how dedicated your business plans to be in the partnership. A real, genuine effort to support a cause is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

The priority should never be about making a profit, but rather using your company’s influence to make a difference. Consumers want to believe that there are wholesome companies that are in touch with the community rather than companies just concerned about making more money.


Ashley Boudreaux is a senior at Louisiana State University. She is currently studying Mass Communication and French. In her free time, Ashley enjoys visiting petting zoos and climbing trees.

Work with Catapult Creative Media Inc. 

Catapult Creative Media Inc. is a digital marketing and design agency serving clients over the United States but is proud to call Baton Rouge, Louisiana home. Founded in 2007, Catapult provides digital, social and mobile marketing solutions backed by relevant strategy and measurable results. Catapult works the web to their clients’ advantage, launching them to their next level of success.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness in the Work Place

Get Your Employees Involved With Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is the month of Halloween, falling leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes, but it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to an article on U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics, breast cancer affects approximately one in eight women and one in 1,000 men in the course of their lifetime.

It’s important for businesses to support causes like breast cancer awareness because it is something that could be affecting many people. As a business, you can make a difference in the lives of those people and in the community with your support. Consumers also naturally gravitate toward businesses that participate in what’s called “cause marketing.” They are much more likely to purchase a product or service from you if you’re involved with a non-profit organization because it strengthens your trustworthiness and shows you care about people and the community.

Here are few ways your office can show support for breast cancer awareness.

Volunteer at a Relay for Life Event in Your Area

What better way to encourage staff development than supporting a great cause together? As part of the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is an organization that brings together survivors, families and friends of survivors, and the community to raise awareness for breast cancer. Form a team in your office to participate in the relay and volunteer at an event near you!

Donations in the OfficeOffice donation jar for breast cancer awareness

Propose alternative options for your employees who wish to show their support with monetary means. Speak to your human resources department about what you can offer such as auctioning off a parking spot, keeping a donation jar in the break room, or selling tickets to wear jeans on casual Fridays. If you want to do something with food, consider having a pink breakfast in the office, complete with pink pancakes, strawberries, pink lemonade, and encourage donations throughout the breakfast. Be sure to tell your employees exactly what organization the donations are going to so there is no confusion or apprehension.

Hold an Office Fundraising Event

Hosting a fundraising event outside of your office is a fun way to get the community involved and raise awareness on a larger scale. You can host a company picnic or bake sale in front of your office to raise donations for breast cancer while networking with people in the community.

Decorate

Paint the office pink! Show your support by handing out breast cancer ribbons and allowing everyone to dress in as much pink as they own for a day. Another option is keeping pink-colored food and drinks available around the office.

Provide information about breast cancer to employeesProvide Information and Resources

Provide your staff with information and resources that they can use to learn more about breast cancer and where they or their loved ones can be tested. Some doctors’ offices offer free mammograms this month for those who can’t afford one. The earlier breast cancer can be detected, the easier it is to treat.

If you’re looking for more events for your office to participate in, remember that you can register for other events near you all year long, including the Susan G. Coleman Race for the Cure which is an annual event.


Madeline Neal is a senior at LSU studying Mass Communication. When she’s not taking selfies with her dog, Emma, you’ll find her at a local bakery eating chocolate chip cookies. In her spare time, she watches reruns of “The Office” and hopes one day to live in New York City.

Work with Catapult Creative Media Inc. 

Catapult Creative Media Inc. is a digital marketing and design agency serving clients over the United States but is proud to call Baton Rouge, Louisiana home. Founded in 2007, Catapult provides digital, social and mobile marketing solutions backed by relevant strategy and measurable results. Catapult works the web to their clients’ advantage, launching them to their next level of success.