Smart Cause Marketing Content is no longer the purview of big businesses. It’s now an era of social responsibility, even for small businesses. Cause-marketing has become something that gets brands instant brownie points in any content marketing, and especially on the social media. Customers who watch brands’ social postings want to know if these brands share their desire to make change happen in this world by supporting important causes.
Content marketing represents a marketing concept where “giving” rules, and a brand seen as generous to a noble cause, and encouraging others also to be the same way, gets immediately placed higher in the eyes of those who are active online. In fact, if your business or brand doesn’t stand for a resounding cause, consumers may switch to your competitors, especially if your competitors are doing greater things for universal good than your brand. We have picked 3 terrific content marketing examples for you here that can inspire your small business to pick a big cause and while make your success, also do a lot of good.
Before we get to the examples a few points on cause marketing!
A brand must pick a cause that’s aligned to its values, and significant to its target audience.
To find the right cause to support, ask questions and do research. For example, the personal care brand Dove, found from research that only two percent of women around the world described themselves as beautiful. In light of this information, Dove launched the campaign #realbeauty to tell all the women of the world that they should appreciate their own unique beauty, and forget the unrealistic and unattainable standards of what is projected by society as beautiful.
According to Dove, this effort not only helped improve women’s self-esteem and redefine beauty, it also ended up increasing the brand’s revenues by 60%. An idea like this is easy even for small businesses to do … because good causes come in all shapes and sizes, and the “right cause” (that’s right for your brand and your target audiences) can catapult your small brand too.
Target audiences like clarity on exactly which cause you support, and what you do for the cause!
According to a study by Cone, 88% of consumers wanted businesses to tell them exactly what cause they’re supporting, and why. They also needed to get total clarity and transparency on what exactly the brand does for the chosen cause. People, it appears, would like to be extra-sure of the exact connection between the brand and the cause it purports to support, because there can and has been much obfuscation by unscrupulous brands who misuse causes for business profit.
70% of respondents said they also get confused when some brands attempt to communicate about their corporate social responsibilities. There is a lot of jargon, and not enough social proof. To avoid any ambiguity and potential misconception, make sure your brand is very upfront about what the cause is and why it’s been chosen for your support. State the limits of the responsibility for the cause you have undertaken. State what activities you will conduct to support this cause, and if you are raising money on behalf of the cause, how this will be directed to the cause.
Cause marketing succeeds when your brand is able to galvanize user-generated content!
Whether the cause is promoted through website pages or videos, producing content and inviting others to do the same helps raise awareness about the issue and your brand. ResearchNow discovered that nearly 70% of millennial consumers wanted businesses to make it easier for them to contribute in addressing issues like the economy, environmental sustainability and health. So, do ask your users to participate in online conversations and initiatives.
A small clothing brand, one of my clients, is helping people donate old clothes to multiple charities in third world countries. The brand is helping with collection and clothes-repair centres and handling the global shipping. The revenue in this model comes from helping people clean out their closets and buy new clothes from the brand. A recent Nielsen report shows that 55% of people are ready to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to making positive social and environmental impacts. You can see how cause marketing can improve the world and your brand’s success.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was created to fulfill a 4-year-old girl’s dream of eradicating childhood cancer. The idea is that anyone can raise money to fund cancer research– even kids who run a lemonade stand. The massively successful organization has raised over 100 million USD to fund 500 cancer research projects.
On their website is their story:
When Alex, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just before her first birthday, was four, she told her parents she wanted to set up a front-yard lemonade stand. Her plan: to give the money to doctors to help them find a cure. Her first “Alex’s Lemonade Stand”, held with the help of her older brother Patrick, raised an astonishing $2,000 in one day.
While bravely fighting her own cancer, Alex continued to set up lemonade stands every year. As news spread of the remarkable girl so dedicated to helping other sick children, people everywhere were inspired to start their own lemonade stands—donating the proceeds to her cause.
In 2004 when Alex passed away at the age of eight—her stand and inspiration had raised more than $1 million towards finding a cure for the disease that took her life. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was started by her parents in 2005 to continue the work that Alex began.
Our mission is simple: to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s content marketing campaign is very empowering in its concept. There are also certain design elements that have helped make this brand very distinctive – like the cheerful use of the color yellow, which is both the color of lemon, and also the color of sunshine and positivity.
Aside from accepting donations as money, there is also a very interesting ecommerce inititaive where a lot of merchandise connected with their many fund-raising events are sold. People who want to take part in outdoor events can do so. Thos e who want to buy the related merchandise to feel part of the occasions may do so as well.
Why would someone want to make a child cry? Aren’t we all told NOT to make a child cry? This counterintuitive title was chosen for a lovely campaign by Doctors Of The World. The whole content marketing campaign is based on the idea that most children cry whenever they are forced to see a doctor. But in many parts of the world, they don’t even have the privilege to go and see a doctor.
The campaign #makeachildcry actually means “That child must see a doctor”! These children may shed a few tears but in exchange their lives may be saved by getting timely medical attention they are otherwise denied.
The conceptualization of this content campaign is explained on its website:
If there is one thing all children have in common, it is their apprehension when seeing the doctor. It’s not so much the doctor who scares them as the fact of being examined with strange instruments. Looking in their ears with an otoscope, injecting a vaccine with a syringe and opening their mouths with a tongue depressor are some of the intrusive actions to which toddlers are sometimes extremely sensitive.
Some cry while others have great apprehension but manage to overcome their fears. This reality is something that our doctors, paediatricians and nurses in the field face every day, and they do all they can to win the children’s trust during the consultations. However, the fear reflex remains. Nonetheless, the importance of giving them the care that can save lives is never in doubt.
The protection of children is an essential cause. Defended by many NGOs, it is most often represented by the simple fact of their suffering. With #makeachildcry, we are seeking to convey a different message, one which highlights the positive action against this suffering.
This campaign appeals to the generosity of the general public. With your donation you’re allowing a child to see a doctor, at the risk of making him cry. Our goal is to provide access to care to all children without discrimination, wherever they come from and wherever they are.”
The entirely unexpected headline in this campaign helps attract attention to a pressing issue that does not receive enough thought. The campaign also uses powerful photography to make the issue emotive and shareable.
The video on YouTube is extremely riveting because, for the most part, it has really heartbreaking shots of small children crying. Watch this:
But as Doctors Of The World reassures us no harshness was used in the making of the video:
We deliberately chose children aged between 2 and 3 years. At that age, crying is still a very common everyday occurrence and the children are able to verbalise their emotions. Two techniques were used to trigger the crying: one, the parents voluntarily distanced themselves from the film set; and two, the parents took away a toy that the child liked. Afterwards the child was very quickly reassured and the parents and the caregivers explained the situation to them.”
There is a totally surprising content marketing campaign from Big Green Radicals that’s worth a look in. You would think that everyone in this world is now against fossil fuels to save the earth. However, Big Green radicals is radically against that idea.
They think you should not “break up with fossil fuels”, and they chose Valentine’s Day to promote a fun, but poignant, video message on why “breaking up with fossil fuels is hard to do”. Like all Valentine’s Day stories, though, the film has a happy ending!
The organization argues against ‘anti-fossil-fuel-activists” with this rationale:
Radical activists such as Bill McKibben, who runs 350.org, are asking Americans to “break up” with fossil fuels by divesting from fossil fuel investments. Folks like McKibben want to ban the use of plentiful fossil fuels, such as natural gas, to provide affordable energy for the world. With fossil fuels providing about 80% of our energy, McKibben’s proscription for the U.S. would be an economic and social disaster. Fossil fuels provide about 80% of our nation’s energy. Without fossil fuels—and fossil fuel byproducts like plastics—we wouldn’t have a whole host of consumer products such as cell phones and computers—or the energy to power them.
For any politician who thinks the public supports the radical environmental agenda, 2018’s “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge is good evidence to the contrary.
Candidates who signed the pledge agreed that they would “not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry.” Pledge backers, including 350 Action, Greenpeace, and other extremist groups, want to shut down oil, natural gas, and other affordable energy sources entirely.
It turns out the pledge wasn’t a hit with voters. Our analysis found that 94 percent of the pledge-making federal candidates lost.
Here’s an idea for purist environmentalists: Instead of a no fossil fuel money pledge, make a pledge to ditch fossil fuels products and byproducts from your life. That means no normal electricity (dedicated solar/wind sources only), no plastic, and no to a huge swath of consumer products.
Greenpeace activists would be wearing hemp clothing and operating out of a stone hut. That would certainly provide a good visual contrast between environmentalists and normal modernity for anyone who doesn’t already understand the bigger picture.
Despite this rather uncompromising position that they take, and the disdain they seem to have for the “no fossil fuels” activists, the video they have created for public education is easy, breezy and memorable. The content campaign clearly sees two separate stakeholders: one group (the activists) need strong words, and the other group (the public) need soft emotions!
Watch this … you’ll love it!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Marketing Examples”:
- 10 Content Marketing Examples Of Small Businesses With Big Ideas!
- Content Marketing History: These Examples Can Inspire You Today!