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Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World...and the Bottom Line by Nancy R. Lee, David Hessekiel, Philip Kotler

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Chapter 3

Cause Promotion: Persuading Consumers to Join Your Company in a Good Cause

The amount of money we can give philanthropically is very limited, but we can produce a great deal for charity—and ourselves—through access to our brands, consumers and the Marks & Spencer machine.1

—Richard Gillies Plan A Director Marks & Spencer

The first wave of marketing social initiatives in the 1980s was dominated by programs that linked donations to consumer actions. In the past 20 years, cause promotion has grown increasingly popular as a strategy for achieving marketing and social goals.

Cause promotion leverages corporate funds, in-kind contributions, or other resources to increase awareness and concern about a social cause or to support fundraising, participation, or volunteer recruitment for a cause. Well-conceived and executed cause promotions can improve attitudes toward a company; generate consumer traffic, sales, and increased loyalty; and motivate employees and trade partners.

Cause promotion most commonly focuses on the following communication objectives.

  • Building awareness and concern about a cause by presenting motivating statistics and facts. Examples include publicizing the number of children who go to sleep hungry in the United States each night or the number of dogs that are euthanized each year; sharing real personal stories of people or organizations who have been helped by the cause, such as a poor middle-aged man who gets much needed eyeglasses for the first time in ...

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