Saturday, February 6, 2016

Radical Thoughts - Aligning Brands with Social Causes || Shubham Shukla || IIM Shillong || December 2015 edition

Aligning Brands with Social Causes

Shubham Shukla 
IIM Shillong

There was a time when companies believed in just giving the customers what they want but now they are moving towards portraying their support for social causes and wellbeing of the society in general. Apart from trying to fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
requirements, this is also being done in order to gain the attention of the customers and stay in sync with what they want. According to studies, more than 85% of millennials correlate their purchasing decisions (and their willingness to recommend a brand to others) to the responsible efforts a company is making. The primary reason for this is that millennials grew up in the information age, where the Internet and social media forced transparency for the companies. They want the companies to work with a strong sense of ethics, to operate transparently and responsibly, act as a positive agent of change in their communities, and give back. They also realize that companies today have more tools at their disposal than ever to make a difference – they’re more global than ever, with fewer language barriers, more technology, and greater access to NGO and public private partnerships. Aligning your brand with a positive cause cultivates a more caring image in the minds of the customers. In a market where the where there is not much significant difference between your product and your customer’s associating your brand with a significant social issue or charitable cause can give your customers a new reason to pick your brand over competitors in the market. Championing a social issue or engaging with charities is a worthy way to boost brand equity and invest in a little feel-good-factor. Aligning marketing activity with cause related issues enables brands to build a reputation with their target market and building an emotional connection can help strengthen brand loyalty. Customers feel they are extending the value of their purchase to include a worthy cause investment and are more likely to be repeat purchasers. Not just attracting consumers, aligning your brand with social causes or cause marketing as they call it also helps to keep employees motivated. According to findings,
employees who are active in company causes are happier; 93 percent say they are proud of their company’s values, while 92 percent say they feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company. Apart from the customers and employees, cause marketing also helps to attract worthy stakeholders towards your business. By associating yourself with social causes you also attract those stakeholders to your business who believe in the same cause as your company. Not just that, they also tend to be more involved in the process and feel more committed towards their partnership with the firm. Thus, aligning your firm with social causes in the present scenario is not only necessary to fulfill your CSR commitments but for the overall health and well-being of your brand and its equity.

1 comment:

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