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Cause marketing & disasters – be careful

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Monday January 17, 2011 )

I’ve written before about cause marketing and how it can not only do good for charities, but for your business as well. However, it’s all in the execution – get it wrong and you may be in for a shock.

In Australia, we’re experiencing one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history – flooding on an incredible scale. At one point, an area double the size of Texas was under water.

The damage is phenomenal, so people around the country are pulling together to help our fellow Aussies up north to rebuild. Many appeals have raised tens of millions of dollars so far.

Businesses have also been lending a helping hand with various appeals and initiatives – but some have been implemented without a lot of thought as to how they will be perceived.

One major retailer said they would contribute $1 for each new Facebook member who “liked” their Facebook page. This created a storm on Twitter, with many people saying the company was attempting to profit from the disaster.

People are very emotional about the floods situation here – most of us have friends or family affected in some way, such is the scale of the catastrophe. I think this was a case of emotions being too raw and it being too soon given the way it was implemented. The Australian public is demanding selflessness at this point in time; it’s expected we all pitch in – and no strings attached.

If the company had just donated and released a press release, they would have had many pats on the back instead of being scorned. The same would have probably occurred if they had used the Facebook strategy in relation to an issue that wasn’t at the forefront of people’s minds and so close to home.

If you’re looking getting into cause marketing, consider these points first:

– The type issue/charity you are seeking to support
– The scale of the problem being addressed
– The currency of the issue
– The location of the issue

.. and importantly, how what you are doing may be perceived. Bounce what you’re planning to do off a few trusted colleagues – and make sure they aren’t marketers as we can sometimes be quite insensitive given the nature of our jobs.

Learn more and pick up some cause marketing tips



 

 
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