A month ago, we commented on a survey in Ad Age (login required) which found cause-related marketing is no longer a leading priority for marketers due to their pessimism over the economy. Today, the economy is worse than before, but the disheartening findings have been tempered by another Ad Age article which shows that some of the world’s leading marketers apparently didn’t receive that memo. Marketers at brands such as Target, Office Max, Sears, General Mills and even P&G powerhouse Jim Stengel are maintaining – or growing – their cause programs to foster loyalty among nervous consumers. “Purpose branding...is more important than ever,” Stengel explained.
Consumers may be wary, but they will find responsibility refreshing amid the corporate deceit and disappointment of late. And, as some marketers inevitably shift their focus away from cause and environmental marketing, there is a renewed opportunity for the staunchest supporters to reaffirm their commitments to social and environmental issues and break through the cause clutter. Consumers recognize that their wallets may be tighter, and they will appreciate those companies that provide an opportunity to impact important issues through their everyday purchases.
For behavioral and attitudinal proof that consumers respond to cause marketing, please check out Cone’s latest research.