Today, if a brand simply donates to charities, it is considered insufficient, made worse by bragging about it. An increasing number of brands are emerging with a do-gooder ethos. Millennials believe that brands, like themselves, can make money while making a meaningful difference. That said, there has been growing skepticism among Millennial shoppers of brands that “give back.”
Paula Hansanugrum shares some examples of a few do-gooder models in a column for Marketing:CPG.
"Brands like Toms, Warby Parker and Feed changed the landscape by prioritizing charitable contributions as a built-in, consistent element of their respective brand strategies. Toms’ one-for-one business strategy has had clear success. Similarly, Feed, which facilitates 370 meals for school children in Kenya for every $250 spent on their burlap bags, reassures shoppers that their money is going toward a good cause. For every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased, the $1.2 billion brand donates a pair to those in need in developing nations. To reinforce its commitment to charity, Warby Parker partners with nonprofit entities, which train locals in developing countries to give eye exams to those in need in their communities. Where companies can fail is when they don’t live up to their one-for-one commitments, causing a consumer backlash."
Local businesses can adopt and promote this type of business practice while targeting Cause Marketing Responders. The latest AudienceSCAN survey reported 21.6% of Americans will switch brands to support an important cause/charity.
Local Community Model
"Shinola, a Detroit-based watch brand, is among a new breed of company built with community in mind. Detroit, ranked the poorest city in the United States by the Census bureau with 39% of its residents living below the poverty line, has been in desperate need of employment opportunities for decades. Shinola prides itself on sourcing American-made materials, providing employment to Detroit residents, aiding local suppliers in expanding their existing operations and making an accessibly priced, handcrafted product. While this model is effective, not every company can give back to their local community."
Businesses working hard to create local jobs and support their local communities can tout these efforts authentically through emailed ads and newsletters. The AudienceSCAN study revealed 55% of Cause Marketing Responders took action after receiving these in the past year.
Corporate Giving Model
"Certainly, newer brands establishing their public identity and brand ethos have an opportunity to put their best foot forward. Given present-day limitations, established brands can chart a way forward through small, genuine, incremental shifts toward walking the walk—from product manufacturing to packaging."
Keep in mind that "Made in the USA" is local too. The AudienceSCAN survey found 56.5% of Cause Marketing Responders make an effort to buy American whenever possible.
"In order to connect with today’s highly discerning consumers and make meaningful change, we recommend that brands make an authentic, sustainable shift toward doing good for employees and communities, while getting involved in charities or giving opportunities that align with the business goals and brand DNA in a holistic way."