build brand affinity 4: a cause

Social footprints reveal a path to growth.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen a massive philanthropic trend. Brands are increasingly contributing to charitable causes. Why? Because statistics show that consumers prefer to buy from such brands.

Now, while this isn’t essential, it does have benefits. Apart from nurturing your soul and helping you sleep better at night, it builds an emotional connection with your customers, based on trust and admiration. This is similar to the feelings they get when reading your backstory and learning how the main character overcame adversity and became a hero.

We all admire a hero, and when you contribute to a charitable cause, your business becomes a brand with hero status. People will happily pay more to buy from a hero.

Best practices for supporting a good cause:

Sincerity goes a long way. Help the world in a way that makes you happy. Help solve a problem that you truly care about. When we do things we enjoy or care about, we do them better, and people notice the results. Heck, if the issue you’re supporting can somehow be related to the adversity your character faced in your brand’s backstory, then you’ve also strengthened your brand by making it more cohesive and genuine.

Supporting your cause with your product or service also helps. First, it’s practical. If you’re in the food industry, feeding the homeless makes logistical sense. You can help more people with less effort. Second, by connecting your product to your cause, your product becomes directly associated with the warm feelings of charity.  It’s essentially free advertising in the most positive light.

Accountability and data are crucial. Make a plan and stick to your word. First, decide how you want to measure your impact. It can be by the amount of people helped, dollars donated, products delivered, or some other metric. The less abstract, the easier it will be for you to measure. Next, set quarterly and yearly goals, and try to hit them. Make sure you have an organized way of gathering and analyzing your data, from the beginning.

Spread the good news. You know how people say that you shouldn’t advertise your good deeds? Ignore them. First, share your progress internally with your employees. This makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger, which helps them embody your brand’s values (read the prior post). Second, share your progress with your customers. You should have an entire section on your website dedicated to this. Communicate your quarterly or annual milestones on all your social channels too. Spread the warmth, inspire others and build your brand affinity.