April is National Volunteer Month
How to Incorporate Volunteering into your Marketing Strategy
April is National Volunteer Month
April is National Volunteer Month. Several iconic Brands have incorporated cause-related marketing as part of their overall marketing and communication strategy. The Phoenix supports and provides marketing services to several non-profit organizations and works closely with all clients to support their philanthropic campaign efforts.
At The Phoenix, we believe that volunteering is the right thing to do. It is the right business practice to engage with multiple consumer segments, including Millennials and Gen Z. Our insights show that these two segments are receptive to cause marketing and are more likely to buy from Brands associated with a cause.
Below are some steps that The Phoenix recommends Brands to follow if they decide to support a cause.
1. SELECT THE RIGHT CAUSE
Brands need to select the cause and programs that most aligns their Brand and product. For example, Mondelez, makers of Heinz sauces and Oreo cookies, sponsors programs that promote active, healthy lifestyles and nutrition to improve the lives of children and their families. In summary, focus on causes that align with your mission and your brand.
2. INVOLVE THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION
If you decide to include philanthropy as part of your marketing plan, get employees, consumers, suppliers, and the community involved as much as possible. It is important to let everyone know their efforts are valuable and appreciated, and that your Brand is fully behind the initiative. An example includes letting consumers co-create the program that involves the cause and giving them an opportunity to actively participate throughout the entire process. Internal participation and communication are also paramount. Set the example by involving employees, matching their monetary contributions, and encouraging them to use company time to support the selected cause.
3. DON'T OVER PROMOTE YOURSELF
It is a mistake to over-communicate how kind your brand is and how much you are giving to a charitable cause. If you do things right, your consumers, your employees, the community, and the non-profit organization will do it on your behalf. For example, Patagonia has a self-imposed tax of 1% on sales to provide support to environmental nonprofits and all of Patagonia’s employees and suppliers actively participate in protecting the environment. With these efforts, consumers are “paying back” with millions of non-paid mentions of the Patagonia Brand on different Social Media channels.
4. IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT MONEY
Donating money is the easiest way for corporations to support nonprofits - your consumers will see through it. Your consumers, however, do care about your involvement, your time, and your overall effort to support the cause. Remember that being actively involved in a cause is the right way to support your Brand - and the community.
5. MAINTAIN YOUR SUPPORT
If you are considering cause marketing as part of your Brand strategy, you need to take a long-term approach, otherwise, it will likely be counterproductive to building your Brand equity. Cause marketing may not be the only marketing effort you have in your plan; however, consumers need to see it as an ongoing effort that happens every so often.
Making philanthropy part of your marketing strategy is a smart approach to attracting and retaining key consumer segments. However, keep in mind that it only works if you do it right by choosing the right cause and being genuine.