What Is Cause Marketing Strategy? A Comprehensive Guide

What Is Cause Marketing Strategy? A Comprehensive Guide

Blog > Learn > What Is Cause Marketing Strategy? A Comprehensive Guide

Cami Macias 15 min

A cause marketing strategy is a powerful approach that allows businesses to partner with nonprofit organizations, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

This powerful approach allows businesses to forge partnerships with nonprofit organizations, creating a win-win situation that raises awareness for important causes.

Do all these things while enhancing their corporate image and customer loyalty.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of cause marketing strategies.

From leveraging social media platforms to promote partnerships with nonprofits to designing custom-built landing pages dedicated to promoting the cause - you'll learn how innovative campaigns challenge societal norms and drive positive change.

We'll explore successful examples of cause marketing partnerships and discuss different approaches for implementing these strategies in your business.

Furthermore, we'll provide guidance on developing a successful cause-marketing plan by considering core values and goals while selecting an appropriate nonprofit partner aligned with your company's mission.

A cause marketing strategy involves partnering with a nonprofit organization to promote a social or environmental issue while boosting brand awareness and sales.

Common Questions About Cause Marketing

Here are the most common questions related to cause marketing strategy that a mission-led business may have

What is a cause marketing strategy?

A cause marketing strategy refers to a marketing approach where a business collaborates with a nonprofit organization or supports a social cause to achieve mutually beneficial goals. I

t involves leveraging the power of marketing and corporate social responsibility to promote the cause, drive positive change, and enhance brand reputation. 

The strategy can include various tactics such as point-of-sale donations, purchase-triggered contributions, or aligning marketing campaigns with a specific cause.

Why is a cause marketing strategy important?

A cause marketing strategy is important for several reasons.

Firstly, it allows businesses to make a positive impact by addressing societal issues and supporting causes that resonate with their customers.

It helps build a reputation as a socially responsible company, attracting socially conscious consumers and fostering brand loyalty.

Cause marketing also creates opportunities for collaboration and partnership with nonprofit organizations, expanding reach and resources.

Additionally, it can differentiate a business from competitors and generate positive media attention, enhancing overall brand perception.

How can my business choose the right cause for our cause marketing strategy?

Choosing the right cause for your cause marketing strategy requires careful consideration.

Start by identifying causes that align with your company's values, mission, and target audience.

Conduct research to understand the relevance and impact of potential causes within your industry and community. 

Engage with your employees and customers to gather their input and preferences. Consider the authenticity and long-term commitment you can make to the cause.

Look for partnerships with established nonprofit organizations that have a track record in your chosen cause area.

Ultimately, selecting a cause that resonates with your stakeholders and aligns with your business objectives will lead to a more successful and impactful cause marketing strategy.

What are 3 examples of cause-related marketing?

1. Patagonia's "Don't Buy This Jacket" Campaign

In 2011, outdoor clothing brand Patagonia launched a thought-provoking campaign urging consumers not to buy their products unless they truly needed them.

The campaign aimed to raise awareness about overconsumption and its impact on the environment. 

Rather than encouraging excessive purchases, Patagonia emphasized the importance of making mindful and sustainable choices.

This bold and counterintuitive approach to cause-related marketing highlighted the brand's commitment to environmental stewardship.

It also resonated with consumers who valued sustainability.

2. Always' "Like a Girl" Campaign

In 2014, the feminine hygiene brand Always launched the "Like a Girl" campaign to challenge the negative connotations associated with the phrase "like a girl."

The campaign aimed to empower girls and young women, encouraging them to embrace their strengths and capabilities.

Through thought-provoking videos and social media engagement, Always sparked conversations about gender stereotypes and inspired a movement to redefine what it means to do something "like a girl."

This cause-related marketing campaign not only raised awareness about gender inequality but also strengthened the brand's connection with its target audience.

3. IKEA's "Brighter Lives for Refugees" Campaign

IKEA, the well-known furniture retailer, launched the "Brighter Lives for Refugees" campaign in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The campaign aimed to provide solar-powered lighting to refugee camps that lack access to electricity. 

For every LED light bulb or lighting fixture sold during the campaign period, IKEA donated a portion of the proceeds to fund solar lighting projects in refugee camps.

This cause-related marketing initiative not only supported a humanitarian cause but also showcased IKEA's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

These examples highlight the power of innovative and unique approaches to cause-related marketing.

By thinking outside the box and addressing social issues in creative ways, brands can effectively engage consumers, drive positive change, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

How effective is cause marketing?

One of the key reasons why cause marketing is effective is its ability to resonate with consumers on an emotional level.

By aligning their brand with a social cause, businesses tap into the values and aspirations of their target audience. 

When consumers see a company actively working to address a societal issue they care about, it creates a sense of connection and goodwill.

This emotional connection can translate into increased brand loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and even higher sales.

Moreover, cause marketing has the power to differentiate a brand from its competitors.

In today's crowded marketplace, where products and services can seem interchangeable, consumers often look for brands that go beyond delivering a quality product.

They seek brands that share their values and actively contribute to the greater good. 

Cause marketing allows businesses to stand out by showcasing their commitment to social responsibility and making a meaningful impact on the issues that matter.

Various Approaches To Implementing Cause-related Strategies

There are a handful of ways to approach a cause marketing strategy

If you're looking to make a positive impact through cause marketing, there are several popular approaches you can consider.

Here are three effective methods: point-of-sale donations, purchase-triggered contributions, and digital programs for online donations.

At The Growth Shark, we are dedicated to learning about your passion and integrating it into your cause marketing strategy. Book a call to learn more. 

1. Point-of-Sale Donations

Point-of-sale (POS) donations allow customers to contribute a small amount when making a purchase, whether it's in-store or online.

This approach makes it convenient for customers to help out and support a cause. 

By adding a donation option at the checkout process, businesses can give their customers the opportunity to make a difference with just a few clicks.

It's a simple yet effective way to engage customers in giving back.

2. Purchase-Triggered Contributions

Purchase-triggered contributions involve businesses donating a portion of their sales from specific products or services to a chosen cause automatically.

This approach directly ties the act of purchasing with making a positive impact. 

When customers buy these designated products or services, they know that a portion of their purchase will go toward supporting a cause.

This creates a win-win situation where customers can enjoy their purchases while simultaneously making a difference.

These examples illustrate purchase-triggered contributions:

- Warby Parker: This eyewear company follows a similar model, donating a pair of glasses for every pair purchased. Through their "Buy a Pair, Give a Pair" program, they have contributed to improving vision care for those in need.

- Bombas: Known for their comfortable socks, Bombas donates a pair of socks to homeless shelters across the United States for each pair of socks purchased. Their "One Pair Purchased = One Pair Donated" initiative has made a significant impact in providing socks to those experiencing homelessness.

3. Digital Programs for Online Donations

Digital programs for online donations provide an easy and convenient way for customers to contribute when shopping online.

Platforms like eBay Giving Works allow shoppers to select a charitable organization of their choice. Then a percentage of their purchases goes directly to the chosen cause. 

These programs seamlessly integrate giving into the online shopping experience, making it hassle-free for customers to support their favorite causes.

Would you like to use online donations in your marketing plan? We can help you implement the integration. 

When implementing cause marketing strategies, it's important to communicate clearly with your customers about how their contributions will make a difference in supporting the chosen cause.

Sharing the impact achieved through regular updates and showing transparency in how the donations are used can further engage customers and reinforce their commitment to the cause.

Choose the approach that best aligns with your business and target audience, and make a positive impact while building a loyal customer base.

Cause Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know

Here are some of the key features of a winning cause marketing strategy that every purpose-driven business should consider

Cause marketing entails a partnership between companies and non-profits to support an agreed-upon goal, which is becoming increasingly widespread among organizations driven by a mission.

Social media platforms provide excellent opportunities for spreading awareness about partnerships and connecting with potential customers who share similar passions.

By utilizing social media effectively, you can build brand loyalty and establish a strong connection with your audience.

Let's take a look at some popular social media platforms and how you can leverage them to promote your purpose-driven business and partnership initiatives:

1. Facebook

With its massive user base, Facebook offers a powerful platform for showcasing your partnership initiatives.

Create dedicated pages or events to highlight your collaborations and invite followers to join in supporting the cause. 

Share compelling stories, photos, and videos that illustrate the impact of your partnerships on communities.

Encourage your audience to engage with your content by liking, commenting, and sharing, which helps spread your message further.

2. Instagram

Known for its visually appealing content, Instagram can be a valuable tool for highlighting the positive impact of your partnerships.

Share high-quality photos and videos that showcase the communities and individuals benefiting from your collaborations. 

Use captions to provide context and share inspiring stories.

Leverage Instagram's features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV to engage your audience and offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into your partnership efforts.

3. Twitter

Twitter's fast-paced and concise nature makes it ideal for providing regular updates on your partnership progress.

Use relevant hashtags related to your campaign to increase visibility and attract a wider audience. 

Share updates, milestones, and achievements keeping your followers informed about the positive change made through your collaborations.

Engage in conversations with your audience, respond to their queries, and show appreciation for their support.

4. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that can showcase your partnership initiatives from a corporate standpoint.

Publish articles that detail how working together has benefited both your business and the partner organization, emphasizing the positive impact on society. 

Promote your corporate social responsibility efforts and share stories of successful collaborations.

Connect with professionals and organizations aligned with your cause to expand your network and reach.

Remember that each social media platform serves as a unique communication channel, allowing you to engage with different demographics and utilize various formats.

Tailor your content to suit each platform, keeping in mind the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. 

By effectively leveraging social media, you can spread awareness about your partnerships, connect with like-minded individuals, and ultimately make a greater impact. 

Create Custom-Built Landing Pages Dedicated To Promoting the Cause

Use the right tools for a cause related marketing strategy, including custom landing pages to support your mission

Develop custom-built landing pages on your website dedicated to promoting the cause and highlighting the partnership with the nonprofit organization.

  • Include compelling visuals, engaging copy, and clear calls to action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to support the cause.

  • Feature testimonials from satisfied customers who have participated in previous campaigns or initiatives.

  • An effective landing page will not only drive conversions but also help build trust among potential customers by showcasing your company's commitment to social responsibility.

Remember to leverage analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel to track campaign performance and optimize your strategies for better results over time.

Successful Examples of Cause Marketing Partnerships

Here are a handful of examples of cause marketing partnerships that successfully made an impact

Cause marketing is a win-win strategy for businesses and nonprofits alike, and these successful cause marketing examples prove it.

1. TOMS Shoes x Charity: Water

TOMS Shoes, known for its "One for One" business model, partnered with Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization providing clean drinking water to communities in need. 

For every pair of TOMS shoes sold, a portion of the proceeds went toward funding clean water projects.

This partnership not only helped provide access to clean water but also aligned with TOMS' mission of making a positive impact on people's lives.

2. Coca-Cola x (RED)

Coca-Cola partnered with (RED), an organization fighting against HIV/AIDS. The partnership involved a campaign where Coca-Cola produced limited-edition red-colored cans and bottles. 

For each purchase of these specially marked products, a portion of the sales went to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

This collaboration not only raised awareness about the cause but also generated significant funds for (RED) through Coca-Cola's global reach.

3. Dove x Self-Esteem Project

Dove, a personal care brand, partnered with the Self-Esteem Project to address low self-esteem and body image issues in young people.

Together, they developed workshops and educational resources aimed at promoting a positive self-image and building self-confidence. 

Through their partnership, Dove and the Self-Esteem Project reached millions of young individuals.

The campaign encourages them to embrace their unique beauty and develop healthy relationships with their bodies.

5. Target x St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Target, a retail giant, partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to support its mission of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Target engaged in various fundraising initiatives, including its "Bullseye Gives" campaign, where a portion of sales from specific products was donated to St. Jude. 

The partnership helped raise millions of dollars and contributed to advancing medical research and providing treatment to children in need.

These successful cause-marketing partnerships demonstrate the power of collaboration between businesses and nonprofit organizations to make a positive impact on society. 

By aligning their values and resources, these partnerships not only benefited the causes they supported but also enhanced the brand reputation and loyalty of the companies involved.

Innovative Campaigns Challenging Societal Norms

Some of the most successful cause marketing strategies drive people to challenge societal norms

Cause marketing isn't just about collaborating with non-profits; it's also a chance to confront the accepted social conventions and generate a beneficial outcome.

1. Billie's Celebrating Body Hair on Women

In 2023, Billie, a feminine care product brand, embarked on a groundbreaking campaign that challenged societal norms surrounding female grooming practices.

They featured models proudly showcasing their natural body hair in their advertisements, aiming to break the taboo and encourage women to embrace their bodies as they are.

By challenging traditional beauty standards, Billie sparked conversations about body positivity, self-acceptance, and the right to choose personal grooming practices.

2. The Body Shop Donating Products Directly to Hospitals Fighting Against the Covid-19 Pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, The Body Shop, a well-known cosmetics and skincare brand, demonstrated its commitment to making a difference in times of crisis.

They donated thousands of skincare items directly to hospitals across the United States. 

Showing their support for healthcare workers who were at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, The Body Shop demonstrated how cause-driven companies can align their values with tangible actions, making a positive impact on the communities they serve.

3. Monterey Bay Aquarium Using YouTube Channels Focused on Aquatic Life Conservation Efforts

Monterey Bay Aquarium, a renowned institution dedicated to marine life education and conservation, recognized the power of digital platforms in raising awareness.

They leveraged YouTube channels focused on aquatic life conservation efforts to reach a wider audience. 

These educational videos revealed their conservation initiatives and showcased the beauty and fragility of marine ecosystems.

Monterey Bay Aquarium engaged viewers in its mission and encouraged them to take action to protect our oceans.

4. Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity in Cause Marketing Campaigns

Brands that commit to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion through cause marketing campaigns can make a significant impact on societal norms.

Essence magazine, for example, launched contests highlighting the achievements of African American women.

The purpose was to empower them by showcasing their accomplishments and celebrating their contributions to various fields. 

Similarly, Squarespace featured LGBTQIA+ community members in their advertising campaigns to promote inclusivity within the tech industry.

These campaigns not only raise awareness about important issues but also inspire positive change by challenging biases and stereotypes.

5. ALT_ Rewriting Harmful Narratives About Chicago Neighborhoods

ALT_, a community-focused brand, embarked on campaigns aimed at rewriting harmful narratives surrounding Chicago neighborhoods.

They also promoted positive change at the local level. They highlighted the strengths, resilience, and vibrant aspects of these communities through storytelling, photography, and events. 

This campaign challenged stereotypes by highlighting the true essence of these neighborhoods, ALT_ fostered pride, unity, and a sense of belonging among residents.

They also encouraged others to see these communities in a more positive light.

These innovative cause marketing campaigns demonstrate how businesses can utilize their platforms to challenge societal norms, promote inclusivity, and create meaningful change.

These brands inspire conversations, raise awareness, and empower individuals and communities to embrace diversity, celebrate individuality, and work together for a better future.

Developing a Successful Cause-Marketing Strategy

Developing an effective cause marketing strategy for your mission-driven business

For a successful cause-marketing strategy, businesses must first consider their core values and goals before selecting a nonprofit partner whose mission aligns with theirs.

And then, you must work together to create compelling content that resonates with consumers across different channels.

Consider Core Values and Goals

Evaluate your core values and long-term objectives to ensure that the chosen cause aligns with your brand's ethos and contributes positively towards achieving its strategic goals.

Select an Appropriate Nonprofit Partner

  • Research: Use resources like GuideStar to research potential nonprofit organizations that share similar missions or focus areas as your business.

  • Evaluate: Assess each organization based on credibility, transparency, past performance, alignment with your company's values/goals, and capacity for collaboration.

  • Negotiate: Set clear expectations regarding roles, responsibilities, funding, timelines, etc., and negotiate terms agreeable to both parties to ensure the smooth execution of the partnership.

Create Compelling Content

Develop engaging content that showcases the impact of your cause marketing efforts on both the community and individual lives through:

  1. Telling a Story: Use real-life examples, testimonials, or case studies to demonstrate how your collaboration makes a difference.

  2. Leveraging Social Media: Utilize popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share updates about your cause marketing initiatives and increase visibility and reach among potential supporters.

  3. Creating Dedicated Landing Pages: Design custom-built landing pages dedicated to promoting the cause on your website.

    You can provide detailed information about the initiative and offer visitors an opportunity to contribute directly towards supporting it.

Create a Cause Marketing Strategy to Make a Difference While Growing Your Business

Now that you know what is cause marketing strategy, you can create a marketing strategy for your own business that actually means something to you.

While promoting your cause, you can spread brand awareness and build loyalty with consumers that share your values and passions. 

We believe in the power of cause marketing and the impact it can make in growing your business and changing the world.

Work with our team to build a cause marketing strategy to promote excitement and unity within your company. 

You can also gain a better understanding of cause marketing by reading this post: What Is Cause Marketing Definition?

We can help you reach your income and impact goals through a solid cause marketing strategy and implementation. Book a call to learn more

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Sometimes The Cause IS The Marketing Strategy

This fashion brand gives back to mother earth by planting mangrove trees to stabilize the coastline ecosystem and prevent erosion. Their cause marketing strategy is directly tied to this mission.
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Sometimes The Cause IS The Marketing Strategy

This fashion brand gives back to mother earth by planting mangrove trees to stabilize the coastline ecosystem and prevent erosion. Their cause marketing strategy is directly tied to this mission.
See How They Did It