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Marketing With a Mission

3 practical ways to draw consumers in with a socially conscious message
June 3, 2010

Much of what we do as marketers is motivated by world trends driving demand for our products. For example, GM tried (and failed) for years to build a mass-market electric car, but that was before words like "green" became part of the common lexicon. Now that consumers have caught up, major auto marketers are in a race to capture market share with their own brands of fuel-efficient vehicles.

While socially conscious businesses have always been around, now more than ever, consumers are making buying decisions based on a preference for doing business with organizations and brands that demonstrate an authentic involvement in supporting our communities and our world.

So which social marketing movements have longevity? Here are three to consider--and some practical tips on how to make them work for your business over the long haul.

1. Cause Marketing

The phrase "cause marketing" often conjures up images of co-branded products where a percent of sales is donated to a charity. In fact, the most savvy cause marketers are flipping the equation and approaching their efforts as marketing causes, not "cause marketing," applying the full range of marketing strategies, engagement tools and expectations to cause-related efforts. Look at Whirlpool: It doesn't simply give a percentage of profits to Habitat for Humanity. The company outfits Habitat homes with appliances, launched a community outreach program to support build efforts, and has funded standout advertising campaigns featuring celebrity endorsements.

2. Sustainability

3. Global Interconnectedness

Cause marketing, sustainability and global interconnectedness are fast-growing and enduring marketing trends that will characterize the most effective campaigns of 2010 and beyond. Organizations and brands that truly embrace opportunities in these areas are poised to build lasting shared value and marketplace success.

CA Hersom is CMO of ignition , the award-winning experiential marketing agency behind some of the world's most ambitious campaigns: Coca-Cola's Olympic Torch Relays and FIFA World CupT Trophy Tours, the Live Earth concert and the Blue Planet Run. CA oversees ignition's creative services, cause marketing, and sustainability practices and has more than 20 years of international marketing communications experience, much of it focused on building sustainable brands.