BY AM STRATEGIES KATHY FRITZ
In 2005, I was new to San Diego and in the market for a new car. I wandered into dealership after dealership and was prayed upon by hungry salespeople that liked to give me quotes in green crayons and yellow smiley faces. Then a co-worker mentioned to me: “You know…that Sandy Mossy has done a lot of community service for San Diego. They’re good people at those dealerships.” Being a natural born female philanthropist, I was drawn to Mossy because of Sandy Mossy’s reputation and work with the community. One week later, I got my car from Mossy Toyota/Scion. There has been a shift in marketing to service non-profits. Why? Because it makes people feel good to give back, and heck, why not do it while you’re doing your job? But you can’t expect to just gain a reputation of philanthropist by donating to your local little league team once a year (although it wouldn’t hurt). There are three main points to think about when developing a cause marketing reputation and marketing strategy:
1) Be consistent and persistent
With the increase of available multi-media, people these days have the attention span of a squirrel on coffee. You will need to constantly remind your target audience that you are in this world to make a difference. Start off slow, pick a philanthropic topic you can promote at least once a month and build your involvement over time.
2) Know your audience
Your audience should include not only your target market, but also your current and prospective employees. As Leigh Buchanon writes in Meet the Millennials, “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”
3) You gotta have heart
Choose causes that your company and employees can get passionate about. Whether it’s puppies, soccer teams, or the homeless, make sure that you have passion behind it. Otherwise, there’s a chance it will fall short. As businesswoman Barbara Corcoran says “ You can’t fake passion”.