Chief marketing officers and brand managers are masters of appealing to emotions, spending $Millions on well-crafted campaigns that hit you in the feels – and for good reason. According to The New Science of Customer Emotions, Harvard Business Review,“when companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge”– these customers are a whopping 52% more valuable!
The return on investment for creating emotional connection with customers is massive and well documented.
Combine that with ample studies confirming huge consumer demand for corporate social responsibility (90% will
switch brands), and a company’s cause partnerships SHOULD be seen by marketing departments as powerful value-generating engines.
Most companies are still NOT acting on this. Is yours?
This study by C&E Advisory found that only 17% of organizations believe that customers are well engaged in their cause-related partnerships.
Stop Squandering Cause Partnership Value. Seriously…Stop.
Marketers! This is a call to action! Stop looking at cause marketing programs as “extra work” or one-off promotions. These partnerships are full of potential business value.
In his popular TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Simon Sinek gets to the heart of why people buy, including why some companies are so much more successful than others. The answer? “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Consumers want companies to be part of the solution to the world’s problems, and the problems in their own neighborhoods. You may not be a B-Corp or social enterprise, but you do have meaningful cause partnerships that express your brand values – partnerships that have been carefully selected because they appeal to your customers (or at least they should be).
Marketing departments should be proactive. This is a business opportunity. Engage with your customers around your selected causes and create valuable emotional connection.
The Key to Unlocking Business Value? Strategic Activation
Cause partnerships can drive emotional connection and purchase decisions. Consider them value centers. If you are not seeing measurable value from your cause partnerships, then strategic activation is your missing link.
No one knows the customers better than the marketing department. Leverage your emotional marketing expertise and your understanding of your customer.
Work with your foundation, community affairs department and cause partners to create customized programs that will touch people’s hearts, strengthen emotional connection, and support business goals – all while supporting your partner’s mission.
Bring your cause partnerships to life for customers. Make it personal for them. Get hyper-local. Help people support your cause in their local neighborhoods. If your cause focus area is health-related, create opportunities for people to help the folks in their neighborhood hospital. If you support animal welfare, create branded experiences for your customers that make them feel great about helping their local animal shelter. Activate your cause partnerships in a way that warms people’s hearts to your brand.
Let us know if you would like some help with any of that.
Make a Plan, Make Them Feel, Measure Results
Here’s a mantra for you as you shift your attitude and start prioritizing cause partnerships as the valuable assets they can be: Emotional connection drives business.
Say it with me: Emotional connection drives business.
And, just like your “regular” marketing initiatives, make sure the goals (strategic and social impact) are outlined, the messages are clear and powerful, and there is an effective go to market plan and measurement system in place.
Do you need help with your cause partnership activation plan, or a solution to the logistical and financial challenges of activating your cause program in thousands of communities? INPEx has developed a niche expertise in scaling up local activation of cause marketing programs, working with many Fortune 500 clients over the past thirty years. Our Tech-Touch™ approach helps our clients dramatically increase the strategic benefits of their cause partnerships by solving the logistical and financial challenges that often stifle program growth return on investment.
Learn more about strategic activation in these blog posts: