It has long been the goal of any cause campaign to create that emotional connection between a consumer and a cause. Tapping an emotional cord helps consumers spring to action in support of important issues, but is oftentimes easier said than done. Now, as technology continues to change how we interact with the world around us, more cause marketers are harnessing the power of virtual reality (VR) to create entirely new, shocking, eye-opening and honest immersive experiences – bringing consumers along on the cause journey like never before.
Showing consumers the true impact of their purchases that support social and environmental initiatives can be difficult for brands. In fact, less than a quarter of Americans (24%) believe their purchases make a significant positive impact. And although it may be impossible to take every single consumer to the areas impacted by CSR efforts, technology is making it possible to bring consumers along on that journey, creating life changing experiences right from a computer or mobile device.
As the refugee crisis continues across the globe, many displaced citizens are going without access to basic needs such as clean water, food, clothing and shelter. Many companies are stepping up to provide aid, from Ikea's flat-packed refugee shelters to Google's $5.5 million donation match to humanitarian groups. Yet sometimes a company's own product can be the very best source of relief.
The growing and urgent rallying cry from people around the world to address critical global issues reached a fever pitch in 2015. From star-studded events like the Global Citizen Festival (headlined by Beyoncé, Coldplay, Stephen Colbert and others to take a stance against poverty), to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who took to the streets just two weeks ago at 2,300 separate climate marches, there's no denying a heightened level of awareness, activism and enlightenment around the world's acute social and environmental issues.
Cause marketing during the holiday season is nothing new. Companies have long realized the power of appealing to consumers' hearts and wallets to break through the holiday clutter. Although this year is no different with dozens of campaigns in the marketplace, there is a new twist on conventional efforts. Companies and nonprofits are moving beyond the shopping transaction and engaging consumers to spread even more good cheer with digital activations.
In the wake of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. Harnessing the power of social media, #GivingTuesday is asking shoppers to observe the season of giving in a different way: by first donating then sharing their giving stories using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Yet, when it comes to online giving, a sizeable gap still remains between what Americans say they will do and what they have actually done.
Men across America are chucking their razors during the month of November, but it's more than just a fashion statement, it's a declaration in support of men's health. Movember is now firmly established as a cause marketing effort with "oomph," and is turning heads as it targets one of the most overlooked segments of shoppers: Millennial men.
With teens spending an average of nine hours a day interacting with media, especially social media, it's no surprise online bullying has become a rampant issue. In fact, more than 40 percent of teens have reported being bullied online and nine-in-10 who have witnessed online bullying have done nothing to stop it. Organizations are doing their part – harnessing hashtags and teen think tanks to brainstorm solutions and encourage youth to take a stand against online bullying. Cartoon Network's "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" campaign and Coca-Cola and DoSomething.Org's recent "Happiness Hackathon" are great examples. Now, a new PSA campaign just launched that make the issue emotionally compelling and easy for teens to take action against online bullying as it happens.
Black Friday has traditionally been one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Last year alone, 86.9 million people shopped, resulting in sales of $50.9 billion. But murmurings of "Black Friday fatigue" have surfaced recently, with some organizations taking a different approach to the day – the most memorable being Patagonia's bold move urging consumers, "Don't Buy This Jacket". Now another major brand is stepping forward, standing by its values and opting-out of the retail holiday altogether.
Wearables have been all the rage recently and many organizations have tapped into the technology, making it easier for consumers to link physical activity to a good cause.
There's no denying that cause marketing has evolved from its inception over 30 years ago. Campaigns are flashier, consumers are more critical and the issues are more complex. And although some pundits may be issuing the cry to "kill cause marketing," it's hard to argue with the incredible impact a strong and compelling cause marketing campaign can make on the world around us. This year, one campaign celebrates 10 years of life-changing work through a simple call to action.
As business leaders from across the globe convene in New York at Climate Week, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and Clinton Global Initiative to solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, many look to the Millennial generation as the nation’s growing influencers and social champions. And although Millennials are universally more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, that’s not nearly the end of the story.
Millennials, more than the average American, see social media as an avenue for change. With nearly three-quarters of Millennials saying they use social media as a platform to talk about issues they care about (vs. 52% U.S. average), this audience is primed to participate and raise awareness online. So how do you motivate millions of Millennials to take online action?
Leading up to this year's UN General Assembly in September and UN Climate Change Conference in December, action/2015 has made a goal to ensure leaders set and fund ambitious goals to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues. To do this, the coalition of more than 1,600 organizations looks to amplify its voice by harnessing the power of both digital and celebrities to motivate the masses to action.
When it comes to raising awareness for important causes, the phrase "walk a mile in their shoes" may be easier said than done. Yet, oftentimes helping consumers experience issues can be the most eye-opening information of all. One food brand is doing just that – transforming grocery stores into food deserts.
Even as consumer understanding of company CSR messages continues to grow, breaking through is harder than ever.
While the urgent support needed for many social and environmental issues is no laughing matter, sometimes a dose of humor is just what is needed to motivate people to support important causes. This is the lesson learned from the U.K.'s #1 television fundraising event, which over a span of thirty years has raised more than $1 billion in donations. For the first time ever, the event will be taking over American televisions screens for a major fundraising affair.
Emojis are all the rage in social media and texting. Now, you can download a custom emoji keyboard of your favorite fast food snack or even order a pizza just by tweeting a pizza emoji. Until recently, emojis have been relegated to funny text conversations and shorthand exchanges, but that all changed this week when the World Wide Fund for Nature (also known as the World Wildlife Fund) launched #EndangeredEmoji.
One-for-one has been a popular way for companies to easily tie social impact to purchase. Brands like Warby Parker, Soapbox Soaps and Out of Print have used the buy-one, give-one concept to drive consumers to action and show just how easy it can be to support a worthy cause. Now, TOMS, a pioneer and leader in the one-for-one movement, is changing the game yet again.
Apps have been all the rage in the social impact world recently. We've reported on apps that trigger donations when you wash clothing or run a mile, and others that pause your text conversation while driving or help you make responsible purchasing decisions. The newest effort harnesses app technology to pit celebrities against each other in a competition to raise money for a cause, while reinforcing healthy lifestyles.