Dove just got real with their branding efforts. Though best known for soap, Dove has recently engaged in a Real Beauty campaign to fight against the unrealistic beauty standards set forth by the fashion industry. In 2004, the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty began to shed light on the way the entertainment industry manufactures superficial beauty. You might have even seen this incredible YouTube video they released in 2006.
Now in 2013, Dove has released a new Photoshop application that allows users to undo any special effects and return the photo to its original copy. While the campaign is brilliantly designed to boost the morale of women everywhere, it’s also a genius marketing tool. The positive effects of cause-related marketing affect both the brand as well as the cause they aim to promote. It’s a win-win situation for both parties. While Dove’s Real Beauty campaign might be controversial, it’s a great example for brands aiming to engage in cause-related marketing.
Identify a Cause for Your Brand
To successfully perform a cause-related campaign, it’s crucial to select a cause that relates to your brand. If Dove had chosen to fight for animal rights, for instance, it wouldn’t make any sense no matter how worthy the cause! While “beauty” and soap might not be in the exact same niche, the two are closely-related enough for Dove to justify the campaign. Likewise, find a cause that your brand naturally identifies with. If you have to force it, it isn’t the right fit.
Examples of other brands that promote causes include:
- Whole Foods, who supports the Whole Planet Foundation in its efforts to create economic partnerships with entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries.
- PetSmart, who sacrificed store space for in-store adoption centers and promoted animal rights and welfare awareness.
- Toms, who donates a pair of shoes for every one that is purchased.
Because these causes are so intertwined with the industry and general mission of each company, the campaign naturally feels like part of the brand’s culture and not like a marketing stunt.
Identify the Trend of Your Cause
Once you’ve identified what cause you’d like for your brand to support, it’s time to analyze its trend and long-term sustainability. Some causes have a time limit and might not be relevant one, five, or ten years from now.
Just one year before Dove launched its Real Beauty campaign, a global study by Unilever revealed that only 2% of women felt comfortable calling themselves beautiful! This startling statistic is certainly part of the reason Dove launched the campaign when it did and decided to pursue it for over a decade.
Likewise, identifying the trend of your cause will help you prepare your content creation and marketing strategy. Unless you plan to engage in a short advertising blitz, choosing a sustainable and long-term cause will help more than just your brand, but the cause itself!
Real Passion, Real Results
While 83% of Americans want to support companies and brands that support causes, they also don’t want to support a cause that feels fake or phony. Ensuring that your brand is genuinely passionate about the cause will help your public image as well as provide an exciting company for your company to give back!
Once you’ve established a cause-related marketing plan, don’t be afraid to get creative! Consider partnering with enthusiasts of the trend as well as unleashing waves of the plan just like Dove has!
Has your brand engaged in cause-related marketing? If so, we’d love to hear more about your experience in the comments section below!