Tell Me You Love Me

By Michele Kelly, Senior Content Editor


Or at least tell me that you love the things I love. Because if you do, I just might buy what you’re selling.

Wait, what??!!?

If I whispered those words of endearment to one of my clients, I might be escorted out of the building by a nice man in a blue uniform. Yet, that’s the sentiment behind cause marketing, the epitome of corporate marriages. The union of for-profits with nonprofits defies criticism. Millennials salivate over companies with a purpose. Nonprofits find fresh money and support. And we all feel inspired when our values and our pocketbook meet up in the middle.

Doing good is popular. Taken from Ebiquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study: 90 percent of US consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. Ninety percent? That’s like everybody in the United States except the gun-slinging folks in the Lone Star State.

And it’s not just about revenue and fundraising dollars. There’s employee engagement to think about. According to The Millennial Survey by Deloitte, six of 10 millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employee. At the end of the day, you are your people.

Love, though, is not a numbers game. You either feel it or you don’t. The same goes for cause marketing. If you, as the for-profit, don’t believe in your partner’s mission, no one else will either. Corporations wanting to make a difference should align their values with the right partner. Kind of like I chose my husband because he made me laugh and, at the time, laughing was important to me. Okay, don’t use that example.

Use this one instead: Yoplait yogurt. Since 1999, the Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives campaign has raised more than $26 million for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There’s a vested feeling, too, for those of us who love the little towers of creamy delight available in so many flavors it makes your head spin. I, as a consumer, feel like I’m doing something good by ripping off the lids, getting yogurt all over my fingers and mailing them off so a few dimes go to fighting cancer. Suddenly, I’m part of the solution. That feels good.

John Ratzenberger (oh, come on, you remember Cliff Clavin, our favorite postman from Cheers) said: “Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.” Cause marketing, which is predicted to reach $2 billion in sponsorship dollars this year, satisfies a company’s authentic yearning to be judged on more than its P&L.

And that, my friends, is a good first step to conquering just about anything.


Michele Kelly is a senior content editor for JJR Marketing. As a ghostwriter, she pens columns and books for brave and iconic personalities in business. She lives in Aurora, Illinois, with her husband, who still makes her laugh more often than not, and three children.

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