Cause Marketing: Understand What You’re Doing

When you're conceptualizing or implementing a cause marketing campaign, it's important to understand what type of campaign it is. This is key to giving it context and insight on how you will position the program once launched. Most campaigns fall into one of the following three categories.

Traditional cause marketing: Aligning a for-profit company with a mission-driven nonprofit organization to help generate awareness and resources for the cause, as well as enhance the company’s reputation and strengthen relationships with key consumers. The Product (RED) campaign fits in this category.

Social marketing: Using marketing, communication and advertising techniques to influence a change in societal behavior, or educate society on a potential risk or danger in order to influence an eventual change in behavior. The designated driver messages in the 1990’s are a prime example. Recently, the Office of National Drug Control Policy spearheaded an anti-drug media campaign called “Above the Influence” to encourage teenagers to resist peer pressure.
Corporate social marketing: Employing marketing, communication and advertising techniques (and budgets) to let consumers, constituents or stakeholders know about corporate citizenship efforts and how these practices have a positive impact on society. One of the most well-known and effective campaigns of this nature is GE’s ecomagination initiative, launched in 2005. Ecomagination was developed as a way to frame the company’s environmentally advanced technologies and publicize GE’s commitment to developing innovative products and solutions to address environmental challenges.