In today’s world of hyper-competition, chances are your biggest competitor looks just like you. They copy your merchandising plan, have a similar go-to-market strategy and even have big weekend sales at the same time as you.
So to consumers, you are the same. Interchangeable.
So how can you compete better?
Support a cause. I mean REALLY support a cause. Here’s why:
Generally, consumers want to feel good about themselves. They like to think they are eco-conscious, pro-planet and pro-people. Yet, they drive diesel V8 4 wheel drive behemoths and hide behind the curtains when the girl scouts are selling their boxes of thin mints. In other words, while they WANT to be philanthropic in reality, they can do more.
Enter your brand. When you commit to a cause and do a good job of activating your commitment, your customers can redeem themselves just by doing business with you. By supporting you, in their mind, they have done something to support a cause too. Philanthropy by proxy, if you will. A competitive edge against your competition that do not support a cause.
Here are some tips on making cause marketing work:
Support A Cause That Makes Good Sense For Your Business
While supporting just about any cause is a good thing, you want your customers to ‘get it’. If you are bookstore, support a cause that fights illiteracy. It makes good, logical sense and it will also be easier to you to get your customers and employees behind the cause.
Get Your Employees Involved
The best cause programs are those that the employees believe in. If you are asking your customers to support you and donate to the cause, having knowledgable, engaged and committed employees to talk about the problem the cause is trying to solve and how your company is helping is crucial. They’ll provide the passion and information that encourage your customers to support the cause too.
Give More Than Dollars
Yes dollars are important but if all your customers see is your company handing over an oversized cardboard check, they may not see the true commitment. Do your employees volunteer their time to support the cause or organize fundraisers outside of your four business walls? Seeing employees in the community dressed in their logo shirts donating their time goes far in enhancing a brand (and further differentiates yourself from your competition who doesn’t volunteer).
Share Your Good Deeds
While the ultimate goal of getting involved in cause marketing is to help others, don’t forget about the marketing part either. Successful fundraising and awareness building is being contagious. The more people know about what you are doing, the easier it is to create local events, generate publicity and further draw those people who are looking for a reason to pick you over your competition. Through effective marketing, you can rack up a lot of free impressions for your business, forge new partnerships and, of course, enhance your brand.
eyeBrand helps companies develop winning fundraising strategies, events and partnerships that enhance brands and helps communities.