Culture and Leadership
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Leading with corporate responsibility.
Unequal distribution of resources means that social inequality affects virtually every social community across the United States. Social inequality is an issue with immediate consequences and no immediate solution — one dictated by widespread income inequality, where the world’s richest individuals make roughly nine times that of the world’s poorest across the globe.
The poverty cycle reinforces elements that can keep victims of social inequality trapped for generations until intervention helps break the sequence. Though 9.2 percent of the world lives on $1.90 a day or less — down from nearly 26 percent in 1990 — the World Bank indicates that 2021 might see as many as 150 total individuals experiencing extreme poverty.
As a legitimate force against poverty and its influence on social inequality, cause marketing leverages activism to foster positive change.
Commonly expressed as “cause-related marketing,” cause marketing occurs any time a company supports a charitable or goodwill cause and receives marketing benefits from the campaign. Often, the company will maintain similar values as the organization or the cause it is supporting.
For example, an athletics brand could sponsor a race to raise money for a leukemia research charity. The charity competition will likely include the sponsor’s name in the race, where branding across participant shirts, finishers’ medals, the finish line, and other locations will serve as strong cause marketing.
Companies that partake in cause marketing campaigns do so not only to support charitable causes they believe in but also because they believe that their efforts will help cultivate customer awareness and drive increased purchases. Successful cause marketing can also greatly increase public perception of brands, providing customers with one more reason to purchase a sponsoring company’s products over the competition.
Successful cause marketing campaigns can greatly impact local community members. A company’s sponsorship of local, national, or international charities has the potential to help lessen the impact of social inequality on impoverished communities.
Genuine cause marketing can yield positive impacts for any business, in both reputation and total sales. Just as easily, insincere cause marketing can compromise a company’s public standing and draw societal criticism.
Sometimes, companies can make poor decisions when deciding which causes to support. This can lead to several issues, many of which can result in a damaged public reputation. For example, consumers who donate to a charity, only to find that only 10 percent of their donation went to the charity itself, are less likely to donate in the future, and more likely to avoid associated brands.
Modern companies — especially successful ones — wield considerable power. They influence the way that consumers think, act, and spend money daily. Companies, therefore, maintain a certain level of corporate responsibility: a corporation’s obligation to address and minimize any social or environmental impact their operations may have.
Corporate responsibility directly ties a company to its impact on its local community, and on society as a whole. Even businesses that do not create products or offer services should take initiative to improve their community through non-profit efforts, hiring fairs, disaster relief, diversity programs, and other events that help better align social inequality.
Launching an effective cause marketing campaign can directly contribute to a company’s success, through a series of relatively simple steps. These steps can include:
Companies should also take appropriate steps to account for their industry, and the language their consumers are most familiar with. Improvements to communal social equality — not bottom-line sales — should remain the priority.
Your customers are smart people. More often than not, they can tell the difference between a sincere effort, and a campaign launched for publicity. Consult the below information for specifics on the characteristics of sincere and insincere cause marketing campaigns.
Sincere social equity campaigns are marked by a wide variety of characteristics. These can include:
These and other characteristics help customers and community members alike identify a genuine cause marketing campaign.
Some of the most successfully sincere cause marketing campaigns include the following:
Sustainable marketing for your business means launching cause marketing campaigns governed by genuine efforts and sincere owners, which can yield serious good for communities affected by social inequality conflicts.
By contrast, insincere cause marketing efforts see companies prioritize total profits over genuine community impact. Unlike genuine cause marketing campaigns, insincere efforts can injure a company’s reputation and damage customer loyalty. Examples of insincere cause marketing efforts include:
Companies that successfully carry out cause marketing campaigns can improve brand reputation, see increased sales, and most importantly, foster positive change in any number of communities adversely affected by social inequality.
Effective cause marketing campaigns are often defined by some of the following strategies:
Some community outreach methods — including direct mailiDirect mail is the act of using the postal service to deliver promotional marketing material direct to a customer based on demographic information such as age, location or income. Direct mail pieces can include postcards, catalogs and other promotional pieces enables one-on-one communication with your audience, so you can control who receives the message and when they rece... Read More — are better when personalized according to industry. For example, direct mail outreach for personal loan companies can work to emphasize the importance of payday loans. By contrast, direct mail strategies for educational purposes can be optimized around academic admissions schedules. And direct mail materials for solar-related outreach can help you capitalize on the growing popularity of solar leasing.
Employees and their businesses stand to benefit from cause marketing efforts. Whether that means increased profits, enhanced local awareness, or a bolstered public opinion of your business, improving social equality offers tangible benefits for businesses of all sizes.
One ideal example of the positive benefit social equality can have on business is evident at the highest form of football competition. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers employ one of the most gender-diverse coaching staff across the entire league. Head coach Bruce Arians was even named the 2020 Champion of Equality by the Women’s Sports Foundation, for his efforts to promote social equality — regardless of gender barriers — at all levels of his organization.