a cause for marketing.

Social entrepreneurship is one of my favorite spaces to work in, in regards to marketing and brand management, because it is, in my opinion, one of the most innovation and ever-changing, dynamic spaces. From the installation of crowdfunding to the use of highly integrated digital and traditional marketing strategies, this area has recently gained much deserved and needed momentum, and in doing so, has opened the eyes of the public. No longer is begging and pleading for cash the main tactic, rather, highly interactive, engaging marketing strategies have taken over to help donor participation, knowledge, and engagement.

However, with the substantial influx of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and non-profits, comes high competition for a space, a mention, or a tweet in a crowded space. How does one convince the masses to “donate here” or “help here” when the market is currently flooded with similar or trending organizations? How does a company go beyond simply asking for donations and funding; how do they actually educate, engage, and ultimately, influence the public, encouraging them to help out?

Enter social-cause marketing. Unfamiliar? Let me break it down. Social Cause marketing steps away from the number one purpose of marketing being the intent to capture an influx of funds. Rather, it seeks to raise awareness of the issue; raise awareness that money isn’t the only element that is needed –knowledge, understanding, and a behavioral break is needed. KONY 2012 is the epitome of social-cause marketing.  And due to these refined and reorganized efforts, Invisible Children has seen a dramatic change in operations, education, awareness and funding.

Birthed in the 1970’s, social cause marketing aimed at forming a cooperative relationship between for-profits and non-profits, forming a mutually beneficially partnership between the two. Organizations were able to preach their cause to masses, sharing the real issues of the time. Marketing teams began telling the story behind the cause, rather than just encouraging a tax-deductible donation.  However, as time progressed, social cause marketing slowly began backing into the shadows, as corporate responsibility began to trend.

Jump to today. We are noticing a huge comeback, especially with the intense infiltration of non-profits, social enterprises, and social entrepreneurs. Why? Because supporting the cause through a simple donation is no longer enough to spark change and “corporate responsibility” is not trusted. People want to interact and engage with the brand – they want to be approached differently than the typical fill out and send in a tax-deductible donation. They want to believe that change is happening; that want to be a part of change.  They want to be approached as a person, not as a money bank.

As we carry continue into 2013, we shall see a continuation of the use of social-cause marketing, bringing forth some of the most innovative and change-inspiring campaigns of our time. Cheers to those who spread the word, instead of simply putting a palm out.

danielle grudenComment