A catastrophe takes place such as Hurricane Harvey and the city, state and country get together for a cause to help lessen the burden of those affected. You then see several companies jumping on the bandwagon to support the cause and voila, it’s cause-related marketing! It’s a marketing term coined by American Express that is a strategic way to promote the brand while giving back. Co-branding is the partnership between two brands and in this case, a brand and a charity. Now is this method of marketing a strategic move or an opportunistic one? We say that if it’s done right it can be a strategic move for the company, but only if it’s coming from a genuine place. Though we’d much prefer such to be an act of social responsibility rather than a publicity stunt, we’re sharing the pros and cons of co-branded cause-related marketing.
Co-branding is a great way to give your company exposure with another highly recognized company, especially when it’s for a cause. Sharing is caring and helping a charity makes your brand socially responsible or at least appear to be. Consumers are compelled to spend more, women in particular when they feel their purchase for items such as beauty products are going to benefit a cause. The charity that engages co-branding with another organization reaps the reward of receiving donations. Right now, Winky Lux, an up and coming beauty brand known for its color-changing lip balm is donating 100% of the proceeds from the purchase of its Matte lippy Pippy. The lipstick was named after the founder’s French bull dog Pippy Lou and proceeds are going to the Houston Humane Society, which is very aligned with the organization and commendable!
Cause-related marketing is so saturated, that consumers are beginning to view it as a gimmick and not as the company being sincere about the cause. Brands utilizing this method of marketing alleviates the government from spending their reserves for disasters and corporate companies to do their part on a larger scale, leaving the immense support to fall on the shoulders of charities and consumers. Another con to cause-related marketing is that it leads many other brands to partake in deceptive marketing and misrepresent the purpose of helping out a real cause. Also, the legalities of partnering with a charity can be a daunting task, but well worth it in the end.
If you’re a brand or business owner and are on the fence about co-branding your marketing for a cause, we say go for it if your brand is truly passionate about the cause. If you decide to, we strongly encourage you to have the proper partnership to do so, such as legal agreements. If not, it will always get back to your company and totally discredit your brand. There are both pros and cons to co-branded cause-related marketing, but if done right the cons should not deter you from being a socially responsible company. Don’t want to come off sketch? You will find some great examples of retailers who do cause-related marketing right in this article via Orderhive. Your other option is to donate your time or service to a cause. Jetblue was a good example of this for the Pulse Orlando Tragedy. The charitable airline took the initiative to help families come from various countries to tend to their affected close family members.
As a truly socially responsible company, we chose the American Red Cross to show our support, instead of choosing the cause-related marketing route. However, we did use our social media channels to help get the word out on how you can help as well. So how have you supported the victims of Hurricane Harvey?
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