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3 Big Brands Creating Cause Marketing ROI Through Local Engagement

3 Big Brands Creating Cause Marketing ROI Through Local Engagement

3 Big Brands Creating Cause Marketing ROI Through Local Engagement

Cause marketing has become the must-have strategy for large companies and new programs are being launched every day. These nation-wide programs are raising millions of dollars, but how do brands maximize their return on investment (ROI)? Smart companies are listening to the latest research and prioritizing localized employee and consumer engagement strategies. The result is bigger impact for all stakeholders. Read on for more on why this works, plus three examples.

Where’s the ROI in local engagement of cause marketing partnerships?

According to the recent study by HAVAS Worldwide Project Super Brand: 10 Truths Reshaping the Corporate World “going local pays big dividends.” Why? Because “consumers want their favorite brands to play a bigger role in local communities.” Check out this post to learn more about why local activation is so valuable to companies, such as:

cause marketingPersonal Relevancy: When consumers and employees experience your brand helping the people and places they know and love, it brings the partnership to life for them in a deeper way - increasing the emotional connection. “Oh wow, BRAND is actually making things better for MY neighbors in need. This feels really good. I love BRAND!”

cause marketingAuthenticity: Going the extra mile to develop local-level engagement opportunities showcases a deep commitment to making positive change – something of particular interest to Millennials. “This feels like a real commitment. BRAND really cares, and totally gets it. My friends need to know about this.”

Three companies increasing their cause marketing ROI via local engagement

Here are three national companies that are hitting a cause marketing bullseye by aiming for local engagement.

Jersey Mike’s

cause marketing exampleWith 1,500 stores in the U. S., Jersey Mike’s is a sub sandwich chain on the upswing. And cause marketing is playing a crucial role in its success.

This spring, Jersey Mike’s hosted its 6th Annual Month of Giving and raised more than $4 million. Since its inception in 2011, Jersey Mike’s annual fundraiser has raised more than $12 million for causes.

The key to the program is Jersey Mike’s local focus. Each store owner can pick his or her favorite cause to support. This year’s fundraiser supported 180 nonprofits.

“Store owners know their community and which nonprofits they should support,” said Dave Altmann, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Jersey Mike’s. “More importantly, they know which nonprofits will really get behind the program.”

Jersey Mike’s cause marketing efforts also help corporate identify the best franchisee owners. “In meeting with potential franchisees, if they don’t understand the value of cause marketing, it’s probably not going to work,” said Dave. “Cause marketing is just too big a part of what we do.”

Domino’s Pizza

cause marketing exampleDomino’s Pizza has a decade long partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). As part of Fire Prevention Week, Domino’s and NFPA partner twice a year to promote home fire safety.

In the spring, Domino’s distributes pizza box toppers with electrical safety tips.

However, in the fall, Domino’s ramps up local engagement by working with fire departments in the communities where they have stores. Domino’s delivers pizzas on the fire truck! At the home, firefighters offer to check the home’s smoke detectors. If they’re working, the homeowner gets their pizza for free! If the smoke detectors aren’t working, firefighters replace them for free.

“The firefighters love this program because it helps them get the message out on fire safety,” said Jenny Fouracre, Director, Public Relations and Charitable Giving, at Domino's. “These deliveries are also a popular local media stories. And, of course, customers love it! It’s a win for everyone.”

Alex and Ani

cause marketing exampleAlex and Ani creates meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry and accessories to positively empower and connect humanity. The brand’s Charity By Design program recently celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary.  This milestone marks over $30M donated to charities, including 44+ design program partners that receive 20% of the proceeds from specially designed items.

In addition to its core proceeds program, Alex and Ani engages with thousands of causes at the local level by hosting Charmed By Charity In-Store Events.  The brand donates 15% of the total sales at these events to the charity partner, supporting over 3,500 nonprofits this way, all while building brand loyalty, awareness and driving sales.

Their Charity By Design Bangle Bar offers a similar local fundraising and engagement opportunity for charities, hosted at alternative locations.  In this case, the shopping fundraiser experience happens off site at locations like charity galas, on college campuses, in hospitals, and at large corporations.

Team (+) Impact, launched in 2013, rounds out Alex and Ani’s employee engagement initiative. Employees have logged more than 3,200 hours of paid time off volunteer hours thus far.  This video is pretty powerful.

Are your cause marketing strategies aligned with the “go local” cause marketing trend?

Consumers and employees have made it clear that they are thirsty for opportunities to join with their favorite brands to make a difference in their local communities. Are your cause marketing strategies aligned with this trend?  Should you be doing more?

Check out this Infographic, Toolkit, and the HAVAS Worldwide Research referenced above to learn more about the power of local engagement, and get started!

Joe Waters, INPEX Guest Blogger - As a speaker, writer, trainer, and founder of SelfishGiving.com, Joe shows nonprofits and businesses how to build win-win partnerships to achieve their cause-related goals.


We've mastered the strategies and technology needed to activate consumers & employees in their own neighborhoods at previously unattainable scale - without breaking the bank. We call it local activation at scale.

Our clients call it measurable ROI, triple-digit growth, and social impact.

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