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Marketing Your Brand on a Cause Related Mission

By: Anish V. Koshy

Anish V. Koshy presently handles content management for the website, Intranet and internal newsletter development as well as advertising with i-flex solutions limited, Bangalore, India as Assistant Manager - Corporate Communications.

Does your brand's reputation and profile hinge on your advertising, public relations and marketing? Do you have a game plan to add value and income sales outside of sales?

Tie in with a cause and watch your business take wing.

Cause related marketing works by integrating the core trading objectives and activities of a business with the needs of a particular cause or charity. When done well, it provides a win for the charity or cause, a win for the consumer and other stakeholders and a win for business. It makes commercial sense. As it delivers greater benefit more than anything else a company can do and can achieve through a wide range of marketing, fundraising and social benefits.

This enhances reputations and profile, builds relationships and loyalty, adds value, demonstrates the organizations' values, supports existing programs and provides resources. It also has the potential to maximize sales, value and income.

It is about using marketing money, techniques and supporting worthwhile causes whilst at the same time building the business. It is a commercial activity by which businesses and charities or causes form a partnership with each other to market an image, product or service for mutual benefit.

Why should an organization use this method?

With the change in the global economy, organizations play an even increasing role in community and have a greater impact on society. People in the dual role as consumer and citizen will expect companies to use their power and influence wisely to meet the needs more effectively.

Its about corporate responsibility. It enables an organization to build loyalty amongst the shareholders, develop strong global partnerships and relationships with the government, enter new markets, generate positive publicity.

What are the general business drivers that relate to this mission ? It could be to build corporate social responsibility and citizenship. Or to build or reinforce reputation or image. Or demonstrate organization values.

How should an organization ideally proceed with a cause related marketing mission? Some of the key success factors to a memorable cause related mission are given below:
  • Evaluate your organization's values and current image: Where do you stand in the minds of your target? Do you want to be seen as young, contemporary or responsible? How visible are you?

  • Lay down the objectives clearly: After you have reached a consensus on your objective, try to map it with a cause or charity mission that has a synergy. You will need the co-operation of your colleagues. Associate with a cause that can be understood and felt by your target.

  • Is the relationship short or long term? You will have to decide that. Where do you want to be perceived in your domain matrix? What are the time implications - is it short or long term?

  • Get your organization geared for the challenge in the relationship: Ensure top management approval and employee participation. Drill down deeper into the heart of the tie up.

  • Visualize the results ahead of time: Is it going to be a surge in sales, or a high recall among your target. Or your organization being perceived as a socially responsible body, which goes beyond the duty of business. Or to simply add to the brand image. To improve the quality and extent of contribution.

  • Consumers want socially responsible organizations: Research show that consumers actively want corporates to advertise their charitable actions, show tangible results and have long duration of these missions. There is a great likelihood that consumers will switch brands if they find that an organization is associated with a good cause, while other factors remain equal. (Source: The Cone/Roper Cause Related Marketing Trends report 1997) Brand managers, are you listening!

  • Positive image makes a difference: A high percentage of consumers researched claim to have a positive image of a company which they see making the world a better place or have charity initiatives as part of their business policy. (Source: The Winning Game: Business in the Community/Research International 1996).

  • Build a human face to the whole event: Being visual is effective. Have a theme, relate it to the target, build an icon or a mnemonic and carry it through all forms of communication.

  • Reliability is key: Tie up with a reliable, leading honest charity mission. Nothing can be more distressing than a mission gone awry due to unreliable partners.

  • Face to face is the best approach: Try to make the program one on one. Making a program interactive takes it that extra mile.

  • Have idea, will travel: Have a campaignable idea. An idea that can be run across media and without any hiccups.

  • A significant ad and communication budget is required: Depending on the budget, involve celebrities to help generate funds. A significant ad and communication budget is required. There are off course relationships that are done on shoestring budgets also. Like the BMW tie up with the Susan B Comen Breast Cancer Foundation. Which worked on a commitment from test-drives for women across the US, while lionizing local heroes and doctors.

  • Monitor the results closely: Are you getting the mileage you expected? Are both parties reaping the fruits of labor? Is the review plan in place?

  • Trust is the relationship but keep a contingency plan in place: Has the brand or corporate being adequately protected? Is the partnership prudent? Is there a clear exit strategy, terms, and clauses, IPR?

© Copyright 2001 Anish V. Koshy

Other Articles by Anish V. Koshy

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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