I was meeting with a client the other day, and he asked me if I would recommend cause marketing for his brand.
I thought about it for a minute and realized there’s a right answer and a correct answer to his question.
The correct answer is that supporting a good cause is good for every travel+leisure brand. Because it makes your visitors and employees feel good about your brand.
But the right answer is a little more complicated.
The right answer is that there are more good causes than there are good travel brands. And your customers know that.
When you try to tack on a cause-marketing component to your latest travel marketing campaign, it looks like you’re offering support for your own short-term gain.
Your customers can see right through that. And it makes them mistrust your brand.
Jeremy Heimans is the CEO and co-founder of the cutting-edge firm Purpose that helps create 21st century online social movements.
Jeremy offers these ground rules for becoming what he calls a “purpose-driven brand”.
1.Before you try to change the world, change your company.
According to Jeremy, the best way brands can support a good cause is by incorporating business practices that demonstrate their commitment from the inside out.
A good example is Chipotle, which has championed the cause of producing “food with integrity.” To back up that commitment they source 85% of their beef from ranchers who supply naturally-raised meats.
2. Champion a movement, not a campaign.
A successful strategy requires a long-term commitment to a cause that demonstrates you really believe in it, and are committed to bringing real change. Think Ben & Jerry’s, Chipotle and Starbucks.
So pick your cause and stick with it year after year.
3. Make sure the stakes are high.
To really make a difference, Jeremy says something important must hang in the balance.
In other words, if you mobilize your customer base, their actions must have the potential to affect the outcome of an issue that is of vital importance to a lot of people.
4. Ask your customers to take action.
This is an era when customers want to participate in and with your brand. What better way to interact with them than through a cause you both care about?
How do Jeremy’s ideas compare with what your travel+leisure brand is doing? Are there other ways to think about cause marketing in the social age? Let me know what you think.
You can see examples of some of the most influential cause marketing campaigns here.