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Charitable and Profitable - The Dual Nature of Cause Marketing

Author : Shreya Srinivasan

In today’s era, consumers are taking conscious efforts to be sustainable and ethical. From animal testing to palm oil causing deforestation, people are much more aware of their impact. As per a global study, 91% of consumers were more likely to switch to a conscious brand. Moreover, they expect businesses to be socially responsible.

Accordingly, businesses adapt to the growing consumer concerns by extending their support to a good cause. These campaigns are not only philanthropic, but also profitable.

What is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing is the process of promoting a charitable cause rather than a specific product or service. Typically, brands partner with non-profit organizations to generate awareness. The social causes could be as broad as gender equality, or something as specific as sweatshop-free shopping.

Cause Marketing fulfills the corporate social responsibility (CSR) quota. It builds customer loyalty, boosts employee morale, improves brand image and most importantly, increases sales.

Creating a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign

A campaign and its impact is reflective of a brand’s identity. So, it is important to build the campaign in an effective manner. Following are the 4Cs to help form a cause marketing campaign :

  • Choose an appropriate cause

Social issues are aplenty. However, a brand must pick a cause that is in alignment with the company’s values, vision and goals. This would ensure a genuine impact. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Gillette’s original tagline - ‘the best a man can get’ was replaced with ‘the best men can be.’ Their digital campaign challenged toxic masculinity and changed their long endorsed narrative.

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  • Contribute meaningfully

Brands can contribute beyond monetary means. Although money is helpful, consumers are not convinced by donations. Event planning, volunteer groups, advertising campaigns can help raise funds and awareness. In Lifebuoy’s ‘Help reach a child 5’ campaign, they addressed hygiene issues in rural india. They conducted a real-life experiment in one village, encouraging to-be mothers to frequently wash their hands. The result? The village saw an overwhelming drop of diarrhea instances.

  • Connect with the audience

The public is the driving force of any campaign. Involving the audience can benefit the company as well as the cause. Brands can motivate people to donate, participate and engage on social media for raising awareness. This gives the audience a sense of fulfillment too. One of the most iconic cause marketing campaigns in India is Tata Tea’s ‘Jaago re.’ They teamed up with NGO Janaagraha to urge young Indians to vote. This campaign was successful in doing so, In fact, 6 lakh Indians had registered themselves to vote via the jaago re website.

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  • Collaborate with Non-profit organizations

Partnering with NGOs will not only help the nonprofit, but will also increase consumer loyalty. Affiliation with NGOs also creates avenues for grassroots development. In January 2015, Vistara Airlines collaborated with the Salaam Baalak Foundation to give 12 underprivileged children their first ever flying experience.

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Businesses engage in promoting a social cause mainly because the consumers hold brands accountable. As consciousness has become a trend, saving the world is more accessible and profitable.


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