CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS CRAVE CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM
by Krista Kuhlman, Experiential Marketing Manager, Giveback Sports
Conscious capitalism, cause marketing, profit + purpose, – no matter what you call it, it’s revolutionizing corporations, organizations, and businesses across the country. Companies that value a dual purpose of increasing profitability, while bettering their communities and society, are quickly becoming the expectation of consumers today and generations to come. Increasingly more Fortune 500 companies are investing significant time and dollars into ways to authentically and seamlessly connect their products or services to causes with impact.
This noteworthy trend has emerged over the past ten years thanks to movement leaders like Patagonia, TOMs, and Warby Parker – iconic brands that baked this idea of “purpose” into their DNAs. By connecting the revenue-generating side with the charitable side of their businesses, socially progressive companies yield greater earnings and impact than they would keeping them separate. These companies differentiate themselves from the standard corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the past, to which companies feel they have a moral obligation to provide benefits to all stakeholders, conscious capitalism is about putting higher values and principles at the core of business operations. These profit + purpose businesses all have the same objective: sell more to help more. As EY Consulting Firm puts it, an easy way to think of CSR vs conscious capitalism is “where CSR could mean planting trees to offset carbon emissions, conscious capitalism could be choosing a business where planting lots of trees is how you make your money.”
In a global study by Cone Communications, 91% of consumers said they were likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause and 92% said they would buy a product or service with a social or environmental benefit if given the opportunity. This provides a favorable circumstance for businesses not only attract customers and grow their bottom line, but also attract top talent as employees choose to work for companies with strong social credentials. Every business’ strategy will vary in different industries and different brands, but there are a few general recommendations for how to achieve a successful cause marketing partnership or campaign.
Organizations must find a cause that genuinely aligns with their business. Consumers are more informed than ever before to distinguish honest and authentic philanthropy verse insincere charitable giving used as a marketing tactic. This means businesses should choose causes that their employees, customers, and consumers believe in to relate to the overall mission and vision of the company. Organizations also need to stray away from strictly cash donations. Yes, money is always helpful and necessary, but when employees give their time and knowledge it can be just as powerful. Lastly, make the impact known! Consumers want transparency on how brands and businesses are positively affecting communities and the world. Social media is a great place to spread cause + brand awareness, highlight the organization’s work and accomplishments, and encourage others to get involved to be the change.
Conscious capitalism is the future of business. Cause marketing is the strategy for promoting a company’s social impact through means greater than monetary contributions. And profit + purpose is the powerful idea that organizations are meant to have a greater function and intention than the bottom line.