Social Good via Cause Marketing-Making a Difference


Today, I came across the SocialVibe widget, which I have embedded in my blog. So what is SocialVibe and how does it work? SocialVibe connects people who support certain causes with brand sponsors. SocialVibe takes a portion of the advertising dollars from traditional advertising budgets, and directs it instead to these branded online activities in support of charities. (Learn more)

And it works as thus, by completing certain branded activities online designed by the sponsors the user, someone such as myself, earns donations that will be distributed to a variety of charities. I discovered this purely by accident. But once I understood how this works I wanted to share this to help spread the word in whatever small way I could.

The Education cause I am supporting has raised US$ 1,613 and has 22,623 supporters so far. The money raised will help with education efforts in developing countries and in the US. It is definitely a novel way to bring attention to a variety of causes. I can share, connect with like-minded individuals in the social sphere where we can help each other earn donations by performing activities sponsored by different brands.

It also made me think about cause marketing and how brands are leveraging consumers’ passion for social good to create an engaging experience that eventually leads to a more satisfying and meaningful relationship between the consumers and the brands. More than ever, consumers want brands to become socially responsible. But it works at another level as well, a study released in 2008 states that cause marketing can exponentially increase sales. Take a look at some of the statistics from this research on what is important to consumers:

  • 84% want to select their own cause
  • 83% say personal relevance is key
  • 80% believe the specific nonprofit associated with the campaign matters
  • 77% say practical incentives for involvement, such as saving money or time, are important
  • 65% find emotional incentives for involvement, such as it making them feel good or alleviating shopping guilt, important

So right off the bat SocialVibe has the personal relevance and the freedom to choose causes down pat. It also makes it really easy for users and it does this all without ever needing them to open their wallets. For brands, it gives them the opportunity to present their charitable side to the consumers so they develop positive associations with the brand. We do not behave, all the time, in a rational and value maximizing manner, as the traditional economic theory postulates. Many times, consumers will spend a lot more than what one would expect; consumers buy products to reflect their self, something brands can build upon through cause marketing.  As such, there is a glut of advertising and with DVDs consumers are more apt to indulge in ad avoidance or in the instance of Netflix not even be exposed to any ads. While the media consumption has increased, it is distributed across the various devices and platforms. So getting a captive and engaged set of consumers opting to take part in branded initiatives and to share them with their social network is extremely valuable. It is a personal endorsement of the brand by the consumer.

For product categories where there is low involvement, and consumers will switch brands that are closely related in price and quality, 80% of Americans say they would choose the brand that supports a cause. Consumers also hold brands accountable, if the brand has rarely supported issues suddenly decides to leverage an unforeseen calamity such as a natural disaster, consumers will immediately question the brand’s motivation. While any donation at such times is definitely helpful it may not necessarily build up the perception of the brand. In fact, in such situations it may even lead to a backlash. So being part of such social initiatives keeps the brands in the minds of consumers and are less likely to be judged harshly.

And then there is the satisfying pay off, a sense of improved self-worth of having done something to make a difference and a change in our society, now that is truly beyond pure advertising. Will I buy a yogurt or a cola that will donate to my charity? Oh yes, I will, a small change but a big difference to both me and the brand.

So what social good have you done today?