Taking accountability can often seem overwhelming, but on the contrary for me as a marketer, this feels extremely exciting as the creativity centers itself around more ways to create good in the world, and more ways to give back.
To sell a bottle of shampoo is one thing, but to sell a bottle of shampoo that is no longer produced in plastic, that is cruelty free and vegan, that comes in aluminum packaging (that is literally one of the most sustainable materials you can get), and to make a financial contribution to a noteworthy cause at the same time that will have a tangible impact on people’s lives, is truly what we get up for every single day at Eva NYC as we strive to create an impact on the wider beauty industry.
Here are my tips on how to approach your cause-led campaigns.
Focus on what causes are right for your brand
There are literally thousands of incredible charities and causes to get behind. The first challenge is deciding on where and how you can make the most impact. If you’re a smaller brand with limited resources, then having a focus becomes even more important. Start with what feels authentic to your brand with causes that you genuinely feel passionate about. There is nothing worse that jumping on the back of a trend or issue that you can’t wholeheartedly get behind.
It’s important that whatever cause or charity you choose, you can keep finding new and exciting ways to bring the issues to the forefront in a way that your consumer understands, especially if you want an all-year-round content strategy that feels fresh.
Here are some questions to consider when developing content buckets and to fuel creative ideas: How are you educating your consumer? Are you doing this in a language they understand? How does your cause-led content fit into your existing content pillars? What content formats can you use to keep driving engagement? One final question I always ask myself is how can we do this in a way that still feels playful and engaging?
We have a huge focus on sustainability which serves as a platform from which everything hangs. From product development to packaging and operations, we have a massive commitment making real and impactful change as a masstige hair care brand. Because this is so integral to our business it felt right for us to find causes that promote or work towards environmental issues. So, for us it was only natural to have our ‘sustainability’ content pillar form part of our year-long strategy and it’s such a rich and somewhat complex issue that it gives us plenty of opportunities to keep talking about it throughout the year.
Approach cause marketing holistically and engage the power of your community
Outside of social media platforms there are so many ways to promote your cause marketing messages and further fuel your support of a particular cause. Think about your different communication channels and create content that is fit for purpose across each one. Your idea for a YouTube video won’t necessarily work for your Instagram feed, but what are the ways you create storytelling moments that work together as one campaign.
Engaging your community is also key to driving further awareness. We work with advocates across sustainability and environmental justice to help add credibility and drive awareness plus we can co-create content with our incredible network of influencers.
You can also engage your customers and outside of just content, create ways to fundraise and donate to relevant causes together. There are many plug-in tools that allow you to integrate donation-based shopping into your ecommerce experience, allowing different donation options for the customer or brand. For example, Daily Karma’s Shop for Good platform makes it easy for consumers to donate at check out when they purchase a product online. As a brand you can choose from one-off donation amounts to rewarding your consumer with a discount in return for their donation. They can also select their chosen charity from the shortlist that you provide.
Forming trusted partnerships and building alliances
Being able to build a long-term partnership is also vital when thinking about a long-term strategy, especially if you are wanting to focus on one charity and put all your resources towards one initiative.
If you are wanting to form a true partnership outside of just a financial donation then it is often a good idea to brainstorm the value you think you can bring to a partner. For example, are you willing as a business to donate your time and what might this look like? Could this be time outside of the office where your team is able to offer volunteering hours. Or are you able to invite your partners into your office space and offer some of your skills or perhaps become a mentor. You could always donate physical resources as well, depending on the cause you choose to support.
A consideration for your chosen partner could come down to geographical location, as if you really want to invest your time and resources, you might want to choose a partner that is within close proximity to your home or office.
In terms of other valuable resources one thing a brand can offer is access to their channels, particularly in social media where you can use your platform to amplify key messages and raise awareness. In a world of increasing hate and negativity it’s always refreshing to know and decide that you can use your brand voice for promoting good. This also provides a great opportunity to co-create content which is authentic and doesn’t involve just the brand point of view but is inclusive to your partner too.
It was especially important for our brand in selecting Green City Force as our lead charity partner as we were seeking an environmental justice organization that was conducting meaningful work right in our own Brooklyn, New York backyard.
The beauty industry can often appear competitive but joining forces and uniting around a single message or cause can become powerful. Most recently we have partnered with City of Hope on their #GivingisBeautiful campaign to help raise $1.2M towards cancer research. This first-of-its-kind digital fundraiser is also unique as this initiative sees beauty brands working together to support one cause, which in this case is working together to fight cancer.
If you want to take an even deeper dive into cause-led marketing, Talking Influence’s staff writer, Neve Fear-Smith, spoke as a guest on the Influencer Marketing Talks podcast, rounding up her thoughts, knowledge, and feelings in regards to influencer marketing from a cause-led approach.