Cause-related Marketing


On 23 November, London College of Fashion hosted CIM’s second event of their 16–17 professional marketing event series. This event-series showcases a range of competencies that ever professional marketer should have to stand out from the crowd and ensure they are as good a marketer as they can be. Competencies range from core (such a championing the customer) through to technical skills (such as partnership marketing) and behaviours (such as responsibility). This event was all about Cause-related marketing, with sessions from Valerie Morton, Fundraising Consultant and Dr Louise Erskine and David Lale from Career Volunteer.

CIM’s professional marketing competencies

Doing well while doing good

Cause-related marketing is about a for-profit company collaborating with a not-for-profit company, so they can both benefit in some way. This type of marketing is all around us, some of it really obvious and others quite subtle. When it’s done well, cause-related marketing can be an incredibly effective way to raise money for charitable causes, awareness and also for the for-profit company to make additional profit. Valerie started by stating the importance of getting it right from the very start. How does the charity and business fit well with one another? What are their aims, aspirations, values?

It’s about getting the right placement, product, price and partnership from the start. It sounds obvious but Cancer Research would never collaborate with a Tobacco company, nor would Alcoholics Anonymous partner with Naked Wines, both would be brand suicide. But some partnerships might not be that obvious right from the start. So it’s crucial to start the process by finding two organisations that share similar aims, aspirations and values. Here I highlight a few really great cause-related marketing examples to get you thinking. Perhaps you’re a charity or work in a for-profit business? If so, cause-related marketing might well be something you should consider.

Pampers and UNICEF: 1 pack = 1 vaccine

Perhaps one of the largest cause-related marketing initiatives ever. Since 2003, this partnership has resulted in 300,000,000 tetanus vaccines being funded. The reason why it’s been so successful is because of its simplicity: 1 pack equals 1 vaccine. As well as the money raised for life-saving vaccines, the partnership increased awareness, led to more and better recruitment for the organisations and resulted in a lot more funds being raised for other UNICEF work.

Watch this short film here about this partnership.

Age UK and Innocent: The Big Knit

Remember buying an innocent smoothie and getting a very small hand-knitted hat on the top of the bottle? For every smoothie that gets sold, 25p goes to Age UK. On top of this, Age UK engage the public by asking for hand-knitted hat donations and supports by providing people with knitting pattern ideas and getting people to share their creations online via social media #BigKnit and even have a big knit hall of fame. The money helps Age UK to support vulnerable older people, making sure they are warm and well in winter through befriending visits, emergency cold weather support, warm meals and other vital services.

A selection from the big knit hall of fame

Marketers — extend your skills further and consider becoming a charity trustee

Dr Louise Erskine and David Lale from Career Volunteer ending the event with a talk about ‘Why become a charity trustee?’ Career Volunteer connects people to good causes through linking professionals with charities. Trustees have general control and management of the administration of a charity — sounds a bit dry right?

Wrong. Louise and David shared some great insight into the benefits of being a charity trustee, including influencing skills, getting to know your local community, cross-functional working, expanding your professional network and much more. Marketers have a whole breadth and depth of skills that cover business, finance, brand, communications, digital, customer relations, etc. etc. You get my point. Marketers could offer invaluable lifelong skills and insight by supporting a charity in a trustee role. Want to find out more?

Get in touch with Career Volunteer as a starting point. Jobs sites like Guardian Jobs will advertise charity trustee roles like a paid for job ad.

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