Why marketers are betting big on social causes

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When a video showcasing the difference between how girls and boys behave flashed across television sets across the world in 2016, little did Proctor & Gamble know the way it could transform the way people. Part of the FMCG giant’s ‘Like a girl’ campaign, the ‘Unstoppable’ video sought to change the way people thought about the phrase, ‘Like a girl’. With over a million hits on YouTube and still counting, the campaign received an overwhelming response.

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Be it Shaadi.com’s ‘#NotForSale’ or more recently United Colours of Benetton’s ‘#UnitedByHalf’ campaign, brands are increasingly using social campaign to strike a connect with consumers. Companies are taking up popular social causes and are reaching out to people by pledging their support for the said cause.

Marketers see it as a way to reach out to consumers and carve a niche for the brand, inspiring loyalty. In fact, a survey by Edelman Goodpurpose indicates that over 72 percent of respondents said they would prefer to promote a brand which supports a social cause against one that doesn’t.

The message

One of the first things that companies decide while chalking out a social purpose strategy is the message they want to send across or the cause they would like to support. It helps if the message is in tandem with the brand or the product, as it helps people relate to it better. Consumers would like to extend their support to an initiative only if they understand what the brand has to offer.

Watch that tone

While it does pay to align with a brand with a social cause, marketers should be careful to not sound too preachy. “There's too much wishy-washy, do goody stuff out there, where companies try to appear like charities. People don't buy that,” says Giles Gibbons, Chief Executive of the communications firm Good Business (as stated by The Guardian). Consumers aren’t foolish and they do know that the social outreach is mainly to sell stuff. So, keeping the tone of a campaign practical helps a brand set realistic expectations.

The social network

If you are thinking of promoting a brand, there’s no way you could ignore the power of social media. With a vast consumer base, social media websites like Twitter and Facebook help in propelling brands and expanding their reach. Using hashtags, as was the case with P&G’s ‘#LikeAGirl’, increases a brand’s visibility across the web, helping it garner more support.

Time waits for none

While you are devising a social media campaign, your timing could be an important factor. For instance, jewellery brand Tanishq launched a video during the upcoming wedding season in India to cash in on the country’s fascination with the big fat Indian wedding. The video highlights how men in different cultures feel the same emotion while giving away their daughter’s hand.

Sponsorship

It is important for marketers to make consumers believe that their initiative is not just a way to brainwash people into buying their product. To drive home the thought, brands could partner with non-profit organisations to sponsor charity projects or donate some proceeds from the campaign to a charity, as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. P&G has joined hands with Shiksha to educate children in rural parts of the country.

Irrespective of how a campaign has fared, there is always work to be done. Even if a campaign associated with a social cause isn’t successful, marketing executive should look for potential drawbacks in their strategies. Requesting people for feedback and thanking them for their support is equally important for brands to ensure support for future campaigns.