Friday, March 9, 2012

Building your brand through cause marketing

As a small business operating in a competitive market, building your brand is something that takes not only an ongoing commitment, but also a creative approach. It is likely that you discovered very early on that the uniqueness of your product (being handmade), your personal touch and ability to identify with your target market (perhaps you are a WAHM) and the loyalty of your customers (sharing their fond experiences with their friends) are key selling strategies.

Why? Because a brand is so much more than just a name, it's a collection of feelings and perceptions about quality, self-image, lifestyle and status. Today I’d like to focus on the “self-image” component of your brand, and how you can foster a strong sense of community and positive public opinion through cause marketing, in particular, the online charity auction.

What is cause marketing?

Cause marketing is a potentially profit-making initiative by a for-profit company or brand to raise awareness, money, and/or consumer engagement in a social or environmental issue. Via Do well. Do good.

The online charity auction generally works in a reciprocal manner whereby a business donates products to be auctioned, with proceeds donated to a specific cause. An example of this is a charity campaign I am currently supporting called the Cuddle Craft Collective which aims to raise funds to provide urgent nutrition to children at the Bonga Feeding Centre in Ethiopia.

How can cause marketing work for my business?

THE CAUSE – if the charity auction is set up to support an emotive cause, such as the plight of malnourished children in Ethiopia, there will be public desire to support the cause.

THE BUSINESS – aligning your business with this cause allows you to connect with your customers and the auction bidders on a deeper level that goes beyond normal sales and customer service. It gives you the opportunity to share your core business values, working together with the customer to “make a difference in the world”.

THE CUSTOMER – supporting the charity auction, or buying from a business who is socially responsible, generous and community oriented boosts the customers’ self-image and makes them feel proud, proactive and caring.

THE RESULT – your business receives increased visibility through the combined promotional efforts of the auction organizers and sponsors. You also gain positive publicity, and a “story to tell” that can be shared through press releases and business bios. Remember, goodwill goes a long way!
In summary, cause marketing can be an effective and low cost method for promoting your business and helping you to build positive feelings, perceptions and associations with your brand. To make this kind of marketing successful, it is best to choose a cause that you are passionate about and is compatible with your core personal and business values.

About the contributor: 
Indi Taylor is editor of {KID} independent, a children’s style blog devoted to handmade, fair trade, vintage, and sustainable products. She is also a major sponsor of the cuddle craft collective charity auction

Find out more about cuddle craft collective at:

View the auction items at:

1 comment:

  1. Cause marketing really works. If you haven’t noticed, most of the successful companies dedicate considerable time in highlighting their cause-related efforts. And I guess, with your type of business, it would be a great way to show your company’s core values. Even if you don’t intend it, it will surely build you up among consumers. :) -->Darryl Tay


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