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The Branding Tool: Social Impact Initiatives

In previous blogs, we explored the “internal marketing” benefits social impact initiatives have on employee engagement, but these initiatives can also have a tremendous effect on your external marketing efforts and will become an essential part of differentiating your business from the competition with the Millennial generation.

In fact, 89% of Millennials are more likely to buy from companies that support solutions to specific social issues. The impact “beyond the brand” is critical and Millennial customers give loyalty to brands that are creating meaning in their lives. To create brand loyalty, a business will have to go far beyond traditional forms of marketing.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 12.53.34 PMToday, marketing is no longer just about attracting paying customers—it is about creating a loyal group of fans that will become brand advocates for your organization. To create such a “fan base,” your customers need to connect with your brand on a level that is meaningful to them. On average, meaningful brands gain 46% more share of wallet than others, with 55% of global consumers willing to pay more for brands that have a commitment to social responsibility (and the numbers are even higher for consumers in emerging markets).

One example of successful meaningful cause marketing is Chipotle’s campaign, where marketing efforts where focused on a cause that was relevant to their greater company mission. Chipotle’s mission is to serve food that is nutritious, sustainably grown and naturally raised whenever it is possible to do so. They tied this mission to an animated YouTube video they created named “The Scarecrow,” challenging the accepted practices of industrial agriculture and offering a better alternative. The video received nearly 15 million views on YouTube and a 98% positive response on Twitter.

Beyond the poignant thought-provoking video itself, Chipotle was successful with the campaign because its message was backed up by their impact practices such as the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, donating over $3 million+ to encouraging regenerative, sustainable agriculture practices. This is an example of when an impact message fuses profit and purpose in harmony. No matter what your opinion of Chipotle, the restaurant is the fastest growing chain of the last decade, with a 25.2% compound annual rate from 2003 to 2013 (Investor’s Business Daily, 2014) at a time when fast food giants of the past are floundering.

In the 21st century, marketing is about creating a culture of loyal brand “tribe members.” To make meaningful connections with your potential brand community, you’ll need to consider a social impact strategy that resonates with your brand and synergizes profit and purpose together to maximize profit, create impact, and elevate your brand. Don’t hesitate to contact Digital Union to see what we can do with your brand and impact message.

Maggie & Hector

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