The FINANCIAL — New Ipsos study reveals how Canadians feel toward cause marketing. Strong cause marketing programs and not-for-profit partnerships are more necessary than ever for corporations.
A recent Ipsos survey found that almost all (95%) Canadians agree that it is a good idea for companies to support causes and the vast majority believe (82%, of which 52% strongly agree) they can support causes and still make a profit. In other words, there’s no reason companies shouldn’t be supporting good causes.
“Cause marketing has become the norm. If you are not doing cause marketing or you’re doing a poor job at it, rewards are being left on the table,” said Jessica Avery, Ipsos Marketing, Canada. “The more you are out in front of Canadians engaging in activities that are important to them, the more trustworthy you are as a company.”
Ipsos found a direct link between the perception people have of a company and cause marketing. One quarter (26%) say they would be proud to do business with a company that supports a good cause. In a similar vein, one quarter (23%) also said they are more likely to choose a company that they know supports a worthwhile cause.
Canadians expect strong cause marketing programs from all industries. However, they especially think it is important in the financial services (52%) and pharma (52%) industries, followed by food and beverage (46%) and telecoms (45%). Similar to 2015, the companies that are top-of-mind for supporting good causes are Canadian Tire (14%), Tim Hortons (14%) and McDonald’s (8%).
Many Canadians claim they are socially responsible (73%) and environmentally conscious (60%) and that Canada is more giving than other countries (43%). With this mindset, the top causes that Canadians want to support in 2016 are mental health (60%), poverty (60%), children’s issues (56%) and the environment (55%). Local causes are most important overall (49%), though Millennials show a greater propensity for viewing global issues as most important (19% vs. 9% for 35+).
The study also looked at best tactics for cause marketing, and found that the number one reason why someone decides to donate is because it is easy to do so. This explains why the activities Canadians prefer to participate in include donating at the cash register (29%), having a portion of the proceeds go to a cause (28%) and a buy one/give one offer (18%). Social also plays a big role in cause marketing strategies, especially for Millennials. Thirty-eight percent of Millennials say they want to be told about causes that companies support via social media (22%, Gen X; 13%, Boomers). And 43% of Millennials are interested in liking or following a not-for-profit that supports causes they care about (26%, Gen X; 18%, Boomers).
“We’ve conducted this study for three years now, and have learned a lot about how Canadians engage with and respond to tactical activities, communication strategies and specific causes,” said Avery. “Overall, there are four key ingredients to a great cause marketing program. The program should tell a story, and describe what makes the cause different and its impact. It should also be easy to participate in. Multiple touchpoints provide greater opportunities to reach potential donors to grow funds and recognition. And lastly, the best initiatives tailor the message to speak to a target audience.”