Consumer values are changing, at least in terms of brand choice. Gone are the days when price and convenience alone were dependable factors. Instead, their preference leans directly on how brands engage and impact the world around them.
According to a 2015 report from Nielsen, 56% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies demonstrating commitments to positive impacts on society. Meanwhile, 53% would do the same for brands with strong commitments to their community. That’s even higher among Millennials — 73% will pay more for brands promoting sustainability, including community impact (as reported by Huffington Post, from the same report), while a whopping 81% expect their favorite brands to put out public statements regarding their corporate citizenship.
The sentiment has held up over the years, with a 2017 Nielsen report noting that 67% of Americans are prioritizing socially conscious food purchases. That same report notes that socially responsible brands are seeing the second highest sales growth (8%). In light of this, it becomes even more clear that cause marketing is critical for earning customer loyalty.
While Nielsen’s studies show how corporate social responsibility impacts your bottom line, more immediately, there are other impacts offered for generating loyalty through giving back to your community.
1. Cause Marketing Helps Set Your Brand Apart.
Building a cause into your brand story can elevate your brand and differentiate you from your competitors, no matter the differences in company size or how similar your offerings are. This cause gives people a reason to buy from your brand that goes far beyond finding the best deal. In turn, that gives people a reason to continue buying your products and services, generating the basis of loyalty.
2. Your Employees Will Be More Engaged.
You already run a business where your employees love to work for you, but integrating a cause they care about offers another emotional bond and make them more invested in your brand’s growth. When they’re genuinely excited by something — when they truly believe in your brand — that’s passed on to the customer, too. This authenticity is yet another strong basis for loyalty.
3. It Builds Bonds with Consumers.
When your cause aligns with what your customers already feel strongly about, then your brand provides another way for them to participate with that cause. Essentially, supporting you is supporting their cause, driving their desire to buy from or partner with your company. These emotional ties foster their sense of loyalty and strengthen it each and every time they hear about your brand engaging with that cause.
4. It Builds Bonds with Your Entire Community.
Choosing a cause with local roots or which otherwise directly impacts the businesses, organizations, and individuals from the area invariably helps make your brand endearing at the community level. That opens the door to new opportunities, like partnerships or positive news stories revolving around your brand. This, too, fosters loyalty while boosting brand awareness within the community itself.
Here at Hubbard Chicago, we don’t just preach the value of supporting your community in and around Chicago. We walk the talk, and so do each of our stations. It’s not always about monetary donations (though when it’s possible, they certainly don’t hurt) — rather, it’s about honestly supporting the region and community in which you operate your business and enriching people’s lives in a positive way. We lead by example, and we’ve shared some tips on how to start giving back. Don’t be afraid to involve your team in the process. So take our tips, schedule a meeting to brainstorm, and find your brand’s unique way to be an active citizen in your community.