Align your Brand with a So­cial Cause

Pas­sion­ate, award win­ning Edi­tor and tech­nol­ogy ex­pert for print me­dia. Over 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence across all me­dia chan­nels in­clud­ing broad­cast TV, print ads, in­ter­ac­tive me­dia, dig­i­tal me­dia and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies.

Rural & Marketing - - Letter from the editor - Edi­tor and Pub­lisher AJAY ADLAKHA

If your brand doesn't sup­port so­cial causes, you are cer­tainly ig­nor­ing a huge au­di­ence.

Con­sumers don't just like when com­pa­nies in­cor­po­rate so­cial good into their busi­ness mod­els — they've come to ex­pect it, whether it's through cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR), cause mar­ket­ing or "good" con­tent. In fact, 90% of Amer­i­cans say they're more likely to trust and stay loyal to com­pa­nies that ac­tively try to make a dif­fer­ence.

Stud­ies also show that 88% of con­sumers would buy a prod­uct with a so­cial or en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit, and a sur­pris­ing 84% would tell friends and fam­ily about a com­pany's CSR ef­forts.

So­cial causes have be­come an in­te­gral part of brand­ing as com­pa­nies look to at­tract and re­tain cus­tomers.

With Nielsen show­ing 55% of sur­veyed con­sumers will­ing to pay more for prod­ucts from cause-sup­port­ing brands, com­pa­nies are in­cor­po­rat­ing ad­vo­cacy for pro-so­cial is­sues like gen­der equal­ity, same-sex mar­riage and shift­ing gen­der iden­ti­ties.

Brands from var­ied sec­tors have been lever­ag­ing this trend to stay con­nected with their au­di­ence.

For in­stance, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra ini­ti­ated a mas­sive dig­i­tal­ly­driven crowd-fund­ing cam­paign to help im­prove the lives of our farm­ers. Named #SeedTheRise, the ini­tia­tive got do­na­tions pour­ing in through dig­i­tal amount­ing to Rs 1 crore; this was matched by Mahin­dra with an­other Rs 1 crore to add up to Rs 2 crore for our farm­ers.

How­ever, en­hanc­ing a brand in the name of a so­cial cause can be tricky, but the re­ward goes be­yond the bot­tom line. The com­pany needs to be gen­uine and shouldn't un­der­es­ti­mate the con­sumers' in­tel­li­gence by sim­ply jumping on this model. ‘Cause­wash­ing' is a serious mat­ter, and your con­sumers may smell it a mile away.

Ajay Ad­lakha Email: ajay.ad­[email protected]­me­dia.org

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