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Pick a Cause; Customers Want One
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Today’s consumer is more complex. A) They know more. B) They want more. C) They expect nothing less. With access to so much information about brands, customers want to know the full scope of what a brand entails. Sure, products and services are key, but customers are also interested in what the company believes in. This is a combination of how the brand does business, how it treats its employees, and now also includes what causes the brand supports.

This can run the gamut of brand-born charities to fighting the obesity epidemic. Whatever the cause, customers want to know which a brand supports and what they are doing to be part of the solution. Don’t be fooled; customers are smarter today, so simply listing a charity on a brand’s website isn’t enough. They want to see full interaction where the brand is truly dedicating itself to support something it believes in. No more photo ops where the CEO or VP or PR is holding an oversized check with the head of an organization. That is no longer enough. There’s more to the story now.

Many brands are discovering that customers want the inside look into who a brand is and what they support, and brands are taking this challenge seriously. They are connecting to larger social issues and being a part of the conversation instead of simply sending a check or staying silent. With access to an abundance of information, customers feel the need to know who they are buying from and if the brand’s values match up to their own. For instance, a customer may be brand averse when buying soap, but after seeing Dove’s consistent support of women, they may now always opt for Dove. If brands are serious about the causes they support, they will start to build brand engagement that creates a deeper tie than any product or service could produce. Of course, there will be some customers that may be turned away; potentially they don’t support that cause or they have different views, but the customers that are on board with the brand will become more valuable than a customer who buys the brand “just because.”

Brands have the option to take this challenge or ignore it. They could simply continue providing great products and services and see success. But in a world that is changing so quickly and with competitors that are looking for every advantage, the ones that play in true support of a cause will most likely win. Win more customers, win more engagement, and of course win more success. So take the time to identify a cause that complements the brand and one that truly delivers a brand message while also helping a larger issue.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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