Cause Branding: Being a Socially Responsible Company by @iamronii

Photo Credit: Sangudo via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Sangudo via Compfight cc

by Ronii Bartles | Featured Contributor

As consumers we want to connect with the companies and products that we are purchasing from. And when a company implements cause branding (marketing) it is a powerful strategy that gives us a sense of an organizations’ purpose in the world. Cause branding is when customers think about your brand they immediately associate it with a movement that benefits others. This is a non-profit’s #1 strategy because they have created a brand around supporting their cause. Susan G Komen is a brand that you obviously associate with curing breast cancer.

Unlike a non-profit where you are supporting the cause directly, companies use this strategy to sell products or services that then support the cause. Tom’s is a great example of an organization that has implemented this brand strategy. Everyone knows that if you buy a pair of Tom’s they give a pair of shoes to someone in need. It’s called ‘One for One’. You buy (and pay more) for Tom’s because this is such a cool concept and we want to support that movement. They are doing good, you are doing good, and people in need get something they need. It’s an all around winning situation. Everyone is happy.

Where cause marketing is generally for a specific campaign and/or time period, cause branding is inter-woven throughout your brand – forever. This strategy is so powerful because it evokes so much feeling amongst your audience. The stories are vivid and we are connected in ways that make us want to change the world.

We connect with organizations that pull on our heartstrings and are creating movements that we stand behind and are connected to emotionally. As a woman entrepreneur I struggle with self-esteem and confidence in my ability to help and service my clients. Owning your own business isn’t easy and it can get lonely. And then, you think too much and you start to over analyze and then before you know it life is chaos and the world is going to end tomorrow because you didn’t make the bed. Come on. Don’t let me be the only crazy one here doing this. You know you do. That’s why I connect so well with Best Kept Self. They are creating a movement for all women to take care of themselves and be confident personally and professionally. Their cause branding strategy is spot on in letting you know that when you support yourself, you are supporting all women to be more confident.

I can get behind this. I am this. Stop the madness.

This strategy is one that is bigger than you. You are the vehicle to telling the story of the cause. It’s extremely powerful and effective when executed well. The key is that your product or service is a connection to the cause. Tom’s sells shoes and give shoes. Best Kept Self sells services for boosting confidence and raises awareness changing our dialogue to build confidence.

Do Well. Do Good has a great article on the definition of cause branding. In today’s market, where consumers are much more savvy and socially aware, this strategy is one that sets a brand apart from its competitors. All while helping the greater good. That’s really what we are here for, right? To do good in the world. Implementing this strategy is easy and straightforward. You get passionate about something and tell the story but you need to connect to your product or service. Then you make a difference. Whether that is big or small: make a difference. Tell me guys; does your businesses support a cause and do you incorporate that into your branding? Let’s hear all the great stories.

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Ronii Bartles – Marketing & Branding Expert from Bartles & Associates – Charleston, SC

Ronii Bartles HeadshotRonii is Bartles & Associates’ self-proclaimed Chief Rockstar. She has a whole list of amazing (but slightly boring) credentials like a Bachelor’s Degree from Shepherd University, a MBA from The Citadel, The Lowcountry Business Network Advisory Board Member and is President of the Charleston American Marketing Association, where she was also a 2012 Marketer of the Year Finalist. She loves to go around telling people that she actually is one of the Most Influential Women in Business in Charleston and a 40 Under 40 winner because the Business Journal told her so. Professionally, Ronii grew up in the marketing research industry and has been Director of Operations at ARG and W5. She took all that experience and started Bartles & Associates and roniibartles.com where Ronii and her team work with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses on developing branding and marketing strategies around what they do best, which they lovingly call Operations Marketing. B&A helps businesses uncork their potential by uncovering their WHY and then crafting that message into concise, memorable brand stories and marketing messages. Ronii is an active volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters for over twelve years, and won Big Sister of the Year in 2008. Originally from West Virginia (you can take the girl out of WV but you can’t take the WV out of the girl), she loves beer, college football (Let’s GOOO Mountaineers!), pizza, jeans and a t-shirt, and designer high heels. You can connect with Ronii on Twitter or LinkedIn or email her.

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