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Why companies should support social causes

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Brands, and the companies that own them, are always looking for ways to connect strongly with their audiences and their prospective customers. To be able to do this effectively, they need to follow the current conversation and excitement in the lives of these people. What are they thrilled about and celebrating? What are they vexed about and cribbing?

Not only must a smart brand follow all this action, it should seek ways to contribute to the conversation, and see how it too can play a focal role. By doing so, the brand will have better top-of-mind recall and also be better understood by customers, in terms of its brand values.

This is the reason sportswear brands carry fitness advice, school equipment sellers talk about the learning environment, restaurants talk about haute cuisine and gourmet refinements, makers of family cars talk about modern lifestyle and commuting, and youth brands take up issues like voting in an election, making streets safer, coping with exam-time stress etc.,

Marketers of products aimed at women – be it fashion products, hygiene products, OTC items, publications, health beverages – try to find ways to associate with a feminism-oriented cause. This could be championing the cause of the Girl Child, fighting gender discrimination in work-places, or advocating equal healthcare premia for women.

In classic marketing theory, you are not only to get your target audience to comprehend your product, there should be an “affective” component. The audience must form an attitude towards your message, your offering, and your brand. They must find it likeable, or be able to identify themselves with it to an extent, and there must be affinity. Promotion of causes that are popular with your audience is a surefire way to gain affinity. This is the reason why brands go about strategically selecting causes to associate with.

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