Today's consumers wear their values on their sleeves—literally. From yellow "LIVESTRONG," to blue "DEMOCRAT," and red (my personal favorite) "GIVE BLOOD, PLAY HOCKEY," wristbands are all the rage. Couple this with the popularity of cause-related ribbons stuck on vehicles across America, and you have a societal trend.
Americans today are putting their passion for various causes on display—on wrists, cars, and clothing. We want others to see us as ethical, caring, good citizens. But this trend goes more than skin deep. Americans want to align themselves with brands, employers and even investments that stand for something we believe in and that we can feel good about. And smart companies are responding.
According to the IEG Sponsorship Report, American companies spent nearly $1 billion on cause related marketing campaigns in 2004. What's the return on this investment? Turns out, good works are good for your business as well as your cause.
You can leverage the emotional bond consumers have with a particular cause by aligning your brand with it. Effective cause marketing results in both increased purchases and ongoing brand loyalty. It can spike sales with a short-term promotion, or build brand equity over time.
Target's Take Charge of Education program has donated more than $120 million to the nation's schools since it was launched in 1997, while further distinguishing the Target brand from its competitors.
And who would have thought more than $1.2 million could be raised for breast cancer awareness by having people send in their Yoplait yogurt lids at 10 cents per lid. That's 12 million lids and 12 million purchases.
Sherlyn Manson Sherlyn Manson is vice-president of Two West Inc. (www.twowest.com), a brand consulting firm in the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District.