How important is it to understand your audience in cause-related marketing?
It’s more important than the creative approach, the appeal and maybe the cause you choose.
Illustrated are two companies that practice social entrepreneurship; that is, they’re capitalists with a nonprofit-like missions.
The first, Endangered Species Chocolate of Indianapolis, is earnest in its approach. Here’s a couple of paragraphs printed on the outside wrapper of their Gorilla milk chocolate bar with pecan pralines.
OUR STORY At Endangered Species Chocolate, we provide exceptionally delicious,
ethically traded chocolate made with only the finest, 100% all-natural
ingredients. Just as important, we see chocolate as a medium to save species,
conserve habitat and honor human life. ESC donates 10% of its net profits to
organizations that are committed to the conservation of species, habitat and
ETHICALLY TRADED means we source our cacao fruit from
small family-owned farms that thrive in the forest, which in turn provides
natural preservation for the species that live there. This practice also ensures
economic well-being for the communities in which the farms are located
On the inside wrapper are a few hundred more words on the gorilla, its habitat and human threats.
Contrast this with Galactic Pizza in Minneapolis.
- Galactic Pizza has a fleet of electric-powered vehicles they use when weather permits.
- The milk for their mozzarella comes from cows that are not treated with growth hormones.
- They also source other food ingredients from organic sources.
- During the growing season, they have a featured pizza that draws ingredients from a community-sponsored agricultural project that eschews artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
- A portion of the proceeds from another pizza supports the local food bank.
- Overall five percent of after-tax profits go to charity.
- Their electical power comes from wind sources.
Here’s the kicker, instead of being earnest about all this Galactic Pizza is jokey.
- Their pizza delivery guys dress up in superhero garb and go by names like “Bob,” “Frank” and “Les.”
- They had “Richard Simmons Day” where if you dressed up like Richard Simmons you got 50 percent off your total order.
- They have a "4:20 Special," a jesting reference to marijuana.
So which social entrepreneur is right, Endangered Species or Galactic Pizza?
Actually, even though both companies almost certainly have overlapping audiences, that question is a false dichotomy.
I doubt either company spends a lot of time or money doing rigorous AB copy tests or convening focus groups to segment their customers. But that’s not to say that they don’t understand their respective customers.
Whether you're an agency, a nonprofit, a for-profit, or a social entrepreneur, you have to figure out ways to understand the audience you hope to appeal to in your cause marketing campaign.
If you don't, no superhero will be able to save your campaign.