Cause-Related Marketing

Marketing Tips

Cause-Related Marketing is an alliance that is made between a business and a non-profit cause so that profits from sales of the first benefit the second.

It is not an anonymous, low-profile donation, it is a movement that makes it public that a company is socially responsible and interested in causes that matter to its clients.

Thus, the non-profit organization benefits both financially and in its positioning, thanks to the marketing efforts of its ally.



  1. Benefits of doing Cause-Related Marketing
  2. What could go wrong?
  3. Good examples of Cause-Related Marketing
  4. Tips to do Cause-Related Marketing

  • Contributes value to society

Without clients and human resources, a company dies, without raw materials as well.

A company cannot survive without the support of society and nature.

So, the biggest and most obvious benefit of Cause-Related Marketing is to be able to return the service to the source of wealth.

  • Positioning for both: the company and the non-profit organization

The non-profit cause delivers "the heart" of a Cause-Related Marketing campaign, that impulse that will be generated when a customer connects with the purpose of a product.

And the company has its source of profits and marketing resources to achieve the goal. With this mixture, a campaign can be generated that enhances the reputation and visibility of both brands.

  • Raises employee morale

When the motivation of an employee is only the salary, any offer higher than what they pay could be a reason to resign.

Whereas when there is a connection between personal and organizational values and a powerful sense of work, fidelity has deep roots.

Marketing with a cause can be an action not only to win outdoors but to motivate the staff inside, showing congruence between what they preach and practice.

  • Attract good influencers

One of the biggest bets of the marketing departments of companies is marketing through influencers.

However, it is not easy to find a link that looks authentic between the interests communicated by an influencer and those of a brand.

Cause-Related Marketing facilitates this fit, attracting people that are really related to the desired purpose.

A good example of this was the campaign "Run for The Oceans", an alliance between Adidas and the NGO Parley, dedicated to the clean-up of pollution by ocean plastics.

For every kilometre travelled by those enrolled in the Runtastic application, Adidas donated 1 dollar.

The goal was 1 million dollars and they managed to raise 2 million for the program that seeks to educate the next generations about the current problems that exist in the marine ecosystem with the contamination of plastic.

To achieve the goal, Instagram influencers had a key role.


What could go wrong?

If you do not choose well the organization with which you are going to join, you could cause immense damage to the image of your company.

By this, I mean that you pay attention to the fact that the values and purposes of both are compatible and congruent.

An illustrative case of lack of congruence between the company and the cause was the campaign that Kentucky Fried Chicken made in 2010 with Susan G. Komen – prestigious ONG of Breast Cancer Awareness - to support the fight against this problem.

Although the campaign alone in the first week raised 2 million dollars, opinion leaders from the same cause reacted against.

In the press, there were headlines like Fried chicken for the cure?, evidencing the contradiction of promoting unhealthy food in favour of women's health.

  • The Body Shop - a natural cosmetics store free of animal cruelty - with Women's Aid, made a campaign from 2004 to 2008, to raise awareness about domestic violence against women. The product related to the campaign was a bar to hydrate the lips of mint that had the slogan "Stop violence at home". For each sale of the same and other items in the store, The Body Shop donated $ 1.9. In total, they raised more than USD $ 750,000. The company also produced a "Survivor's Handbook" for Women's Aid and conducted research on attitudes towards domestic violence, demonstrating that their commitment to address this cause was more than a superficial campaign.

  • #DreamBigPrincess: Disney and Girl Up - the program of the United Nations Foundation that supports the leadership and empowerment of teenagers- launched #DreamBigPrincess a photography and video campaign that spanned 43 countries and sought to highlight the aspirational qualities of Disney princesses to help teenagers cope with adversity on the road to achieving their dreams.

They will help teenagers cope with adversity on the road to achieving their dreams.

For every like or post of #DreamBigPrincess in social networks, Disney donated a dollar to Girl Up. In just 5 days she fulfilled the goal of 1 million dollars.


The campaign won the Golden Halo Award 2018 - the highest honour in North America for corporate social initiatives and Cause-Related Marketing - in the category of donation of the company activated by the consumer.

  • Project C.A.T: Preserving Hectares for Tigers: Discovery & World Wildlife Fund is the name of the campaign to support the global doubling effort the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. Donations are made by sending a tiger emoji by text message and then thanks to artificial intelligence, the donor who sends the message receive dynamic responses adapted to their local currency and language.

In 2017 they received donations from 71 countries and the project had 700 million views. It was the winner of the Golden Halo Award 2018 in the category of the best animal campaign.


  • Dad Coach: Surprise on Parent's Day: WestJet - Canadian low cost carrier - and Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (the RMHC Canada) - a non-profit organization that provides a home for families with seriously ill children who must leave their homes to seek medical attention at a nearby hospital - made a video to tell why Ronald McDonald House exists and how important it is to the Canadians.

The video tells the story of a family that is part of Ronald McDonald House and that had to separate to be able to cure the leukaemia of his child. The father travelled to 2,900 KM for the treatment of the child, having to separate from his 10-year-old daughter and the youth hockey team he trains.

WestJet and the RMHC Canada came together to surprise the dad to take his daughter and his team to where they were.

All this is shown in the video, which on the day of its launch caused the RMHC Canada website traffic to increase by 38%, with 75% of new visitors. In total, the video has received 10.8 million views across all platforms.

This initiative was the winner of the Golden Halo Award 2018 in the category best video campaign.

These are the best tips from Alex Malouf, Director of Communications for Procter & Gamble in the Arabian Peninsula:

  1. Involves the leaders of the organization: Those who make strategic decisions must be involved and change their awareness of sustainability.

  2. Understand the impact you have had so far: You cannot make a sustainability strategy if you do not know what impact you have had so far (good and bad) on the environment, communities and employees. Any communication about the impact must be honest, transparent, verifiable and measurable. Otherwise it is not authentic.

  3. Define your "who": Who are your stakeholders and what does it matter to both: you and them. Once you know who you want to commit to, start communicating with them.

  4. Involve your team outside and inside: Without that support, nothing will work. Employees who have values aligned with the company's sustainability policy are more motivated and less likely to leave.

  5. The Measure: You must have indicators to measure progress and income. You cannot handle what you cannot measure.

  6. Understand that people will be happy to contribute to a cause but first want their own benefit: Make sure you know the win-win of the cause and the consumers. How to know your client? Since the polls are poorly answered, put yourself in their place. If you know who he is, it will not be hard to imagine that you are in his mind and know what he wants.

  7. Attractive design: The balance between text and images is very important! The design of the email must be optimized for all platforms and be visually appealing. When you create an email marketing campaign or any outgoing email, your content can set the tone, but the design can create an image of your brand in the eyes of the reader. Align your emails with your brand image, and the design should resonate with that image.

Finally, we hope to have planted in you the concern to include Cause-Related Marketing within the plan of your company. What interests me the most is that you stay with the consciousness of wanting to do good business that then returns the service to the environment that sustains its existence. Then, remember to look for inspiration and create a campaign thinking outside the box. The rest you will learn in the execution.