Five Steps to Implement a Socially Responsible Marketing Plan

Why consumers crave social responsibility and pay attention to campaigns when buying goods.

Social media in the new era in is screaming for social responsibility. Let’s face it, “Cause marketing” is expected these days as consumers become more aware of making a difference in the world. Customers who visit your website are going to be on the lookout for your motivations to impact the community in small and large ways. They want to know exactly what it is that your company stands for. They are asking themselves if your company is making society and the universe as a whole, a better place. 

Where do we begin?

If you’re scratching your head, on where to begin, let’s shift gears and talk numbers. According to a survey, there have been dramatic increases in consumers who say they are willing to switch brands to a competitor who has a clear cause. Nearly 87% said they would change brands.  Niche markets are gaining momentum, notably the nation’s college students, who say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand’s product if it is partnered with a social cause.

There is a correlation between giving back and entrepreneurship. The challenge is to find the right nonprofit group to plow your energies into to make a difference. Follow these five steps to get going on a mastering marketing plan that embraces the community and your business: 

Five Steps Master your Marketing Plan

Step 1: Choose a cause that matters to you

Whether you choose to support a group that trains service animals for those with disabilities or saving the monarch butterfly, choose a cause that makes your heart sing. Work with a cause that you believe in and one that you are willing to go to bat for giving both time and money to the efforts. When the cause warms your heart, you will work hard to make it happen for the group.

Step 2: Find a cause that is related.

The right affiliation to your cause-based marketing plan is essential to the success of your program. Take for example, TOMS shoes. From the start, they promised to give away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Today, the majority of the branding is about their mission for expanding their influence on social change, advocating for education, safe water, and gun violence. The company put muscle behind passing a bipartisan bill for universal background checks sending 730,000 postcards to Congress. The bill, HR8 recently passed in the house.  Their website has the tag line, “With every TOMS purchase, you stand with us on issues that matter.” Much of their success has ridden on the cause platform

Step 3: Give more than money.

There is only so much time in the day, but giving some of it to your social causes makes all the difference in your mission. Sure writing a check helps. What really makes a change is when the company pulls together and works projects together as a group out in the community. It might be serving a meal on Thanksgiving to the homeless or putting together backpacks for disadvantaged children. A yogi at a local studio put together bags with socks, mittens and hats for the homeless after he found his own drug-addicted mother on the streets of Denver. Do something that makes you grateful for your circumstances. Volunteer, offer your professional services, or bake goods. Every little action leads to large and greater actions. Pay if forward with your time.

Step 4: Make it formal.

To make your affiliation with your cause viable, make it formal. Write up a plan for defining your mission in helping and raising awareness for your cause. Put together a marketing campaign using your company logo with the charity or causes mission including press releases and on the organizations marketing materials and website. Cohesion and implementation are essential to the success of the program.

Step 5: Stay with it.

Motivating an audience to buy into your marketing plan and engage in your cause can feel daunting at first. It takes work and commitment. It does not happen overnight. If you use a dedicated marketing calendar, choose the right target market, and the right cause you will begin to find traction. Take for instance AARP Foundation, a charitable affiliate of the group that services the elderly 50+ in America. The foundation has worked diligently to expand their works to ensure that low-income and vulnerable adults have access to nutritious food, affordable housing and strong social bonds while addressing stead income needs. They began with formative research to find which key audiences really needed their help. Awareness and familiarity with AARP and its mission increased 10% in the first three years. The proof is in the pudding…consistency matter.

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