Thanks to The NonProfit Times for citing this powerful new study on cause marketing from Cone.
One of our most valuable assets that we have as nonprofits is our brand; learning how to capitalize on that brand through cause marketing partnerships and licensing can be a phenomenal way to increase your unrestricted revenues... even in the current market.
Donors ... Loyalty to brand a thing of the past
Compared to the average adult (79 percent), Millennials (88 percent) are more likely to switch from one brand to another, given similar price and quality, if the other is associated with a good cause, according to a recent survey. More than half of the Millennials surveyed bought a cause-related product or service in the past year, compared to 38 percent for all adults.
Cone LLC, a Boston-based brand consultancy specializing in cause marketing, marked its 25th anniversary with the recent release of the 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study and the Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study with Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
The percentages for Millennials (those ages 18-24) were higher than the average adult in nearly every category. More than 40 percent said they prefer the message that a percentage of the purchase of each product goes to support the nonprofit, compared to 28 percent for all adults. Also, 45 percent are more likely to donate money to the related charity compared with 36 percent for all adults; 36 percent are more likely to participate in the charity’s programs and events versus 29 percent for all adults, and 32 percent are more likely to volunteer, compared with 23 percent.
The overall 79 percent who would be more likely to switch is up from 66 percent in a similar study 15 years ago.
The study also found at least a modest increase in the actual purchase of four product categories -- shampoo, toothpaste, chips and light bulbs -- as a function of the cause message, as well as a high brand recall. In the toothpaste category, 64 percent of participants who saw the cause message chose the target brand versus 50 percent who viewed the control advertisement. For shampoo, 47 percent of those who saw the cause-related message chose the brand compared to 27 percent who saw a generic message.
More than half of those surveyed said companies should maintain their level of financial support of social and environmental causes and nonprofits, despite the economic downturn. More than a quarter of respondents expect corporations to give more during difficult times.
Among issues deemed “very important” by consumers were education (55 percent), access to clean water (55 percent), hunger (54 percent), health and disease (52 percent), environment (52 percent), economic development (51 percent), and disaster relief (46 percent).
Almost two out of five people have purchased a product associated with a cause in the last 12 months, compared with one out of five people 15 years ago. In 1993, two-thirds of respondents said it’s acceptable for companies to involve a cause in their marketing, a figure that’s up to 85 percent this year.
Cause marketing doesn’t stop at just products. Among those surveyed, nearly a third said it was “very important” for employers to provide matching grants, paid time off to volunteer and company-sponsored volunteer days. Prior to purchasing a cause-related product, 80 percent of respondents said it’s important that companies have a significant impact on the cause and 75 percent consider whether they stand to make a difference themselves.
The belief that companies should prioritize support of issues that affect quality of life in local communities was down slightly, from 55 percent in 1993 to 49 percent. Meanwhile, prioritizing quality of life nationally went from 30 percent in 1993 to 36 percent this year, while the quality of life globally came in at 15 percent this year, up from 10 percent 15 years ago.