Cause-related marketing is a collaboration between a corporation and a specific cause or nonprofit that strives to benefit both the company’s sales and the cause (or nonprofit).

Teacher standing in front of class filled with children.

It is often effective because not only can it drive sales, but it can also offer the consumer a feeling of temporary relief from anxiety about problems in the world. CPG brands teaming up with causes is nothing new, and data shows that it can be highly effective. 

Cause-Related Marketing Gets Results

Cause-related ads have increased noticeably over the past few years, and this type of ad on YouTube has grown more than four-fold in just five years. Purpose-driven ads not only get more views than traditional ads, but they also have higher engagement rates. 

A Pixability study of types of brand posts on Facebook found that the highest engagement rates were for ads demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Ads containing DIY information had the second-best engagement levels. In other words, people on social media show more appreciation by liking, commenting on, or sharing their posts of companies committed to positive causes. 

Broad Focus Generally Works Better

Which cause-related topics get the best response? In general, more broadly focused topics have higher viewership and engagement. Equality was the topic that got the best response for video posts, followed by empowerment of women and patriotism, according to the Pixability study referenced above.

But although these broadly focused campaigns get the most engagement as a rule, the exceptions can also be leveraged by CPG and other brands interested in cause-related marketing.

Ads Tied to Current Events Can Be Remarkably Successful

Group of aid workers organizing water bottles.

When brands stay attuned to current events, they can often find specific causes they can align with that resonate strongly with consumers. Tide detergent, for example, created a social media campaign called Loads of Hope that highlighted a mobile laundry-service vehicle that provides laundry services for free to people in areas affected by disasters. The post announcing the truck’s journey to flood-stricken parts of Louisiana in 2016 was shared 35,000 times.

Cause-Related marketing Strengthens Emotional Connection with Brands

In addition to helping consumers feel as if their product choices benefit causes close to their hearts, cause-related marketing takes care of another important and highly effective marketing strategy: strengthening the emotional connection between consumers and a brand. 

It has long been known that emotions influence what people buy, and that narratives “stick” better in people’s minds when they tap into emotions. Cause-related marketing can be an exceptionally good opportunity for CPG brands to win people’s hearts as well as their consumer loyalty. 

How can brands make sure their cause-related marketing efforts get the best results? Here are some tips:

  • Tell coherent, compelling stories
  • Make your cause-related social media posts shareable
  • Engage with people who react with your stories and encourage them to share theirs
  • If possible, create synergy between your brand’s tagline and the cause. For example, Kleenex’s tagline “Somebody needs one” tied in perfectly with their affecting story about a paralyzed service dog learning to walk.

Cause-related marketing offers CPG brands a great win-win opportunity. They can reach their audience in new ways, help worthy causes, and help consumers feel better about their purchases. The rise in cause-related marketing is no accident, because it really works when done with authenticity and compassion. Hangar12 is at the forefront of CPG marketing strategy and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with our latest insights.

Topics marketing