As more marketers try to link themselves to do-good missions that resonate with consumers, the country’s biggest causes are getting ready to open the floodgates: 67% expect more companies to start cause efforts in the year ahead.
“We’re finding more companies, and across more categories, expanding cause-related efforts, whether it’s Budweiser’s veterans-oriented campaign or Chipotle Mexican Grill “Boorito” promotions for small farms,” David Hessekiel, president of the Cause Marketing Forum, which conducted the study, tells Marketing Daily.
The survey found that 22% of its sample expects cause-efforts to stay at current levels, and only 11% anticipated a decline. “Considering what’s been going on with the economy, it comes as a pleasant surprise so many are predicting increases,” he says.
The research is based on respondents at nine leading nonprofits, including the American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, DonorsChoose.org, Feeding America, First Book, KaBOOM!, Share Our Strength, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “which together have hundreds and hundreds of partnerships in place with marketers,” he says.
The Rye, N.Y.-based group recently launched Cause Update, a free subscription service to link causes with marketers and ad agencies.
For brands, the risk is that as consumers see more and more cause-efforts, it’s easy to become invisible. “There is a huge difference between a well thought-out and well-executed program, such as Yoplait’s Lids for Lives, which inspires consumers to send in tens of millions of lids, and simply putting a pink ribbon on your product and saying you support breast-cancer research. Programs need to stand out. The bar really has been raised, and marketers need to find ways to benchmark their efforts.”