Consumers are becoming increasingly willing to pay more for a brand with purpose. With a rise in social awareness particularly amongst younger generations, brands are having to realign their marketing campaigns to include more CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) elements in order to captivate this audience.
Most recently, this shift could be seen at SXSW festival in Austin, USA where the Red Cross worked in partnership with a Game of Thrones to collect 500 units of donated blood. The ‘Bleed for the Throne’ installation was up for 3 days, and once festival-goers had given their blood, they were then invited to explore the interactive event which included a special ceremony at the centre of the experience. The GoT themed blood drive extended nationwide to cities across America where fans could win anything from a branded t-shirt to a trip for two to the season premiere.
Lean Cuisine’s 2016 campaign caught the eyes of many. Brand campaigns used to focus solely on weight loss - their main marketing message was ‘our meals will make you thin!’. Until they launched the #WeighThis installation at Grand Central Station which invited women to ‘weigh in’. The scales were small boards whereby the women could write down how they wanted to be weighed – answers varied from ‘I want to be weighed by the amount of love I give my children’ to ‘I want to be weighed by my dedication to my education’. None of the women were asked to try a free sample, the campaign wasn’t about that. The simple message was that you’re going to be ‘weighed’ in many ways, but the only important measure is how you view yourself.
Coca Cola’s Happiness Campaign in India and Pakistan saw the company use their product to bring together two countries with a fractured relationship. The internet connected vending machine, was kitted out with webcams and touchscreens to allow two people from different countries share a moment over a Coca Cola. A video of the activity received millions of views online and on social media channels.
However, there is a sizeable difference between aligning your brand with a relevant cause and doing it simply because it’s on trend. Trends die. Brands need to make sure that what they present externally is being implemented internally. Below are a few brands who are practicing what they preach with their CSR marketing.
For some companies, being socially conscious is nothing new. Since 1985 Patagonia has donated1% of sales to the prevention and restoration of natural environments – to date, this amounts to $89m to a collection of causes. Their mission statement reads as ‘Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis’. This was emphasised in their most recent experiential marketing campaign, 'Better Than New' in which an environmentally friendly truck was driven around the US in order to help consumers repair their old Patagonia clothes, rather than buy new ones.
Google also launched their ‘Bay Area Top 10 Challenge’ in 2015 where the search engine gave away $5.5m to Bay Area non-profits. The catch was they would let residents decide where this money went with interactive posters. Giving people the opportunity to make a difference (in their own time) meant that the ‘you’re-already-there’ mentality took over. The campaign ended with 400,000 votes and a collection of organisations getting a substantial amount of money.
Campaigns for good are quickly becoming a highly popular marketing technique by companies worldwide. Getting your brand out there whilst doing more than just trying to generate profit makes companies like these the preferable choice amongst consumers.
Written by Rhea Simpson, Marketing Executive