In a study published in the August 2010 edition of the “Journal Of Marketing Management” researchers found that Gen Y was more likely to have positive attitudes towards a brand if the company advertised the exact percentage of their profits that would go towards a charitable cause rather than saying it would be a portion of the profit.

This shows that it only takes a small and yet highly sincere thing to make a big difference to the overall success of a cause related marketing campaign.

If we consider just how well informed Generation Y is about corporate activity and social responsibility initiatives (mainly thanks to Twitter and Facebook) we can see that it is now becoming harder for a company to simply fake a sincere interest in helping support a social cause.

Lauren Hockenson from Mashable.com wrote a great article about how to authentically support a cause. She listed the following three things as vital to a successful cause related marketing partnership:

  1. Check your alignment (i.e does this partnership make sense for your company)
  2. Be upfront about the terms of your partnership (i.e communicate often and clearly to your customers and stakeholders)
  3. Don’t Be a One-Trick Pony (i.e providing different types of engagement for interested consumers)

The second point on that list relates to the topic of this article. As I previously mentioned no company can avoid being upfront about details in their marketing campaign for a cause.

The simple fact is Gen Y doesn’t appreciate being tricked into supporting a cause. We can discover the truth in 30 seconds flat if we believe that the company supporting the cause isn’t being authentic.

However for those companies which do engage in authentic, sincere marketing for a cause it can create huge rewards for their bottom line and for the communities and people the causes support.

Some of the companies which continue to rank well as being socially responsible include:

  • Starbucks
  • GE
  • Ben And Jerry’s
  • Toms Shoes
  • Charity Water

As more businesses fight to stay relevant in a world now dominated by more socially conscious people, I wonder just how long it will be until we see a business landscape where businesses are created from the ground up to be socially responsible. In my opinion it is only a matter of time.

As long as we have the profit motive in place to help grow companies anything beyond that should be about becoming a more authentic and sincere company which helps others.

Do you agree? Leave your thoughts on this article in the comments section below.

Photo Source: Flickr