Cause-Related Marketing: Making Contributions to Causes Based on Product Sales and Consumer Actions
At Sainsbury's corporate responsibility is not an addendum to the business. We don't do philanthropy, we do investment.
—Jat Sahota Head of Sponsorship, Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd.
Cause-related marketing—linking monetary or in-kind donations to product sales or other consumer actions—dates back to 1983 when American Express contributed to the restoration of the Statue of Liberty each time consumers used or applied for one of the company's charge cards. No complete tally exists summing up funds raised by cause-related marketing programs, but a Cause Marketing Forum review of 10 of the largest programs indicates it easily runs into the billions.1
Some cause-related marketing programs operate year-round, but most such offers link a specific product with a specified charity for a designated period of time. Contributions may be in actual dollar or in-kind amounts (e.g., $1.00 donation when a Facebook page is liked or a pair of shoes donated when a pair of shoes is purchased) or a percentage of sales (e.g., 10 percent of revenues from sales of specified products).
Many companies are attracted to cause-related marketing by consumer attitude research that consistently indicates consumers would prefer to purchase products and services that support good causes. For example, 94 percent of consumers surveyed across 10 countries in 2011 indicated they were likely to switch brands ...